Bull & Bear owners, diner to open River North locations
(Crain’s) — The owners of the popular Bull & Bear pub and a local diner plan to open new locations this year in River North.
The firm that owns the Bull & Bear and Stone Lotus, Twilight Traffic Control LLC, leased 12,000 square feet on the ground level and basement at 400 N. State St. for an upscale, “beer-centric” pub that’s to open in September, says Luke Stoioff, a partner with Twilight Traffic.
The 10-year lease has several five-year extension options, Mr. Stoioff says. The location will be twice as large as the firm’s two other River North spots and have a little more expansive menu than Bull & Bear, 431 N. Wells St., serving contemporary American comfort food, he says. It also will have beer taps at the tables.
The 400 N. State building is now 80% leased, says Marc Bushala, the majority owner and managing partner of the group that bought it in 2008.
News of Twilight Traffic’s plans was reported last week by newsletter Marina City Online, which says Redfish closed in July 2008.
Separately, Clarke’s Restaurant signed a 15-year lease this week for 6,650 square feet at 343 W. Erie St., says Arthur Holmer, a managing principal of the building owner, Chicago-based real estate investment firm Wells Street Cos.
Clarke’s, whose “Oh my. You should eat” sign at the 930 W. Belmont Ave. location is well-known to CTA riders, is to occupy space vacated about a year and half ago by residential real estate brokerage Keller Williams Realty, Mr. Holmer says.
The new location will be the biggest for Clarke’s, whose three others are about 4,000 square feet, says Dan Moon of Moon LLC, who represented both sides in the lease. The River North site is targeted to open in mid-April, he says.
Both Clarke’s and Twilight Traffic’s have proven concepts, which should help them succeed even in today’s economy, says Jeremy Kudan, principal at Chicago-based brokerage Kudan Group Inc., which specializes in restaurants and was not involved in either deal.
High traffic and River North’s affluent demographics also give both “a huge chance at long-term success,” Mr. Kudan says in an e-mail.
In an e-mail statement, Clarke’s owner Tom Tsatas says River North “is a perfect location for our clientele and we are looking forward to becoming the local neighborhood restaurant for quality, inexpensive American fare.”