GOLD COAST — Derek Rylon has opened Palette, his new Gold Coast restaurant where waffles are paired with shots and fine cuisine can be had while watching 80-inch TVs.
The chef of beloved Lincoln Park brunch spot Batter & Berries named his new restaurant with a nod to the abundant art on the walls of Palette, which took over the shuttered Tip Top Inn at 1204 N. State St. But it's clear from his menus that Rylon is focused on palates with his Gold Coast debut, too.
The fare ranges from waffle flights and crawfish omelettes during the day to evening courses such as lobster spaghetti with sauteed herb sauce, crab cakes with pineapple chutney and filet mignon with lump jumbo crab and red wine glaze.
"I gotta come hard," Rylon said.
Rylon's signature shrimp with sweet chili sauce, Sriracha, green onion, bread and arugula salad. [DNAinfo/David Matthews]
The restaurant is the third for Rylon, a longtime line chef who opened a barbecue joint in the South Loop in the fall. Batter & Berries, his first restaurant, debuted in in 2012 and now often draws hours-long lines for weekend brunch.
But Rylon said he won't just be repeating his greatest hits in the Gold Coast.
"I don't want to take away from none of my restaurants," he said. "I want you to say 'Now I've got to go to Batter & Berries.'"
For now, Rylon says breakfast will last till 5 p.m. on weekends. His waffles include a "Chicken Apple Waffle" stuffed (and topped) with chicken, as well as chocolate raspberry, apple cinnamon and banana Nutella flavors.
A waffle flight costs $11, but Rylon's $10 "boozy waffles" can be paired with a shot for an extra $3. His mango waffle comes with Grand Marnier.
Rylon's kiwi waffle paired with a green Midori shot. [DNAinfo/David Matthews]
Palette is taking over the Tip Top Inn, a short-lived successor to the onetime P.J. Clarke's near State and Division streets. Rylon first considered calling the restaurant "Rylon's On Easy Street" but has since eschewed that name for Palette.
Rylon added extra seats to the restaurant as well as 80-inch TVs on the main level, saying he was looking for a "fine-dining sports bar" while trying to take his wife out for good food and watch the NCAA basketball tournament at the same time.
Palette's dinner menu will debut Friday, and Rylon soon hopes to start monthly supper clubs, or four-course prix fixe dinners. For now, Palette will be open from roughly 9 a.m.-midnight weekdays and 9 a.m.-2 a.m. weekends.
"It's a good thing for everybody," he said. "I really feel good about this."
The restaurant has a second level, and on the third is the Black Kat Club, a cocktail lounge with "flapper girl" waitresses, restored vintage decor and plenty of plush, opulent furniture evocative of the bordello that proprietors said occupied the building more than 100 years ago.
The club, which also has a small patio opening onto State Street, will serve cocktails but also pastries and other "finger food" made by Rylon.
The club, which was part of the Tip Top Inn, will have a grand reopening April 7. It will be open from 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Fridays and Sundays and until 3 a.m. Saturdays.
Click the slideshow above or scroll down below for more looks at Palette and the Black Kat Club:
Upstairs at the Black Kat Club.
The third-floor patio opening onto State Street.