WEST LOOP — After working in her family's iconic restaurants from a young age, Gina Stefani is ready to strike out on her own.
Stefani, daughter of restaurateur Phil Stefani, will open MAD Social, a new restaurant at 1140 W. Madison St. in the first week of February. It's the first new restaurant from Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants group in 14 years.
In the trendy West Loop, where a new restaurant seemingly pops up nearly every month, MAD Social aims to be a favorite with West Loop locals, the type of place "where everyone knows your name — and everyone knows what you want," Stefani said at the restaurant this week.
"I will be here every night," Stefani said. "I want to get to know customers on a personal level."
Executive Chef Mariela Bolaños, who most recently served as sous chef at Bar Siena, created a globally inspired menu of sharable plates with new twists on American classics. Most dishes cost less than $20 and highlights include ropa vieja with braised beef tenderloin, crisp plantains, sundried tomatoes hollandaise and cherry pepper relish; grilled Spanish octopus with ginger lime, crispy chickpeas, kalamata olives, baby arugula and blistered peppers; and duck confit tacos with sriracha aioli, tangy cucumbers, Napa cabbage and rice bun.
The restaurant will also serve up 25 beers, select wines and classic cocktails.
Left: Grilled Spanish octopus with ginger lime, crispy chickpeas, kalamata olives, baby arugula and blistered peppers; Right: Chicken and waffles made with a churro batter and topped with pork belly [DNAinfo/ Stephanie Lulay]
Gina Stefani grew up surrounded by the restaurant industry. At age 15, she started working at Stefani's Castaways on North Avenue Beach and most recently oversaw the renovation of Phil Stefani's 437 Rush in River North. Phil Stefani also owns Tavern on Rush in the Gold Coast, Riva Crabhouse on Navy Pier, Tuscany on Taylor in Little Italy, and The Crystal Gardens, an event venue, among others.
Now 31, Stefani said she want MAD Social to cultivate a crowd of well-known regulars like her father did at the old Stefani's on Fullerton Avenue in Lincoln Park, opened in 1984.
“My dad was at Stefani’s every night and knew almost everyone,” said Gina Stefani, MAD Social's managing partner. “I want MAD to be that way — I want to be able to greet everyone who comes in and really get to know the neighborhood.”
The "French industrial chic" restaurant space was designed by Adolfo Garcia, who owns Pearl Tavern in the Loop and Son of Butcher in Logan Square. Inspired by the West Loop's warehouse roots, Garcia aimed to accent the building's original timber ceilings and hardwood floors with reclaimed wood, an oversized mirror mosaic and turn-of-the-century light fixtures from sourced at antique markets across the country.
The "French industrial chic" restaurant space includes oversized mirror mosaic and turn-of-the-century light fixtures. [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]
Near the United Center, Stefani said she hopes to court Blackhawks and Bulls fans looking for a pre- or post-game nosh, too. The venue's three TVs will play select local games.
The restaurant seats about 95 and will offer patio seating as weather allows.
MAD Social will be open 4-11 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 4 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays. Stefani plans to open for brunch on weekends, too, in the coming months.
Gina Stefani plans to open MAD Social, a new restaurant and bar, at 1140 W. Madison St. in early February. [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]
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