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Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is preparing to open his first Chicago restaurant — the second U.S. outpost of chain Gordon Ramsay Burger. Ramsay is taking over a space at Ontario and State streets in River North that previously housed Wahlburgers, another celebrity-backed burger chain.
Slated to open in late 2021 or early 2022, the 5,000 square-foot restaurant at at 2 E. Ontario Street will reportedly seat 120 and include a full bar. Ramsay says he’ll do his utmost to be at the opening — should he be allowed to travel from across the pond as flights are restricted due to the pandemic.
The new location will be the third burger outpost for the superstar British chef who is particularly well known for verbally abusing both amateur and professional cooks on his plethora of television shows. The original U.S. location opened under the name Flame Burger in 2012 in Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood Resort and there’s a third restaurant inside iconic London department store Harrods. In Vegas, the Hell’s Kitchen Burger (three-meat burger, asadero cheese, roasted jalapeño peppers, avocado, oven-roasted tomatoes) is ranked among the best burgers in town.
Ramsay announced the move Thursday morning on Instagram saying this will be one of the most beautiful burger restaurants in the world. “That’s right, the Windy City is getting my delicious butter-baste burgers that so many have you come to enjoy in Las Vegas ,” he says, adding: “I can’t wait to see you in the River North area soon.”
In an interview with the Tribune, Ramsay name-dropped Alinea chef Grant Achatz (who appeared as a guest judge on an episode of Ramsay’s show MasterChef), Top Chef champion Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat), and Michelin-starred Blackbird (which permanently closed during the pandemic).
Further goaded by the Trib, Ramsay tackled a touchy local subject: ketchup, a verboten condiment on Chicago hot dogs. Ramsay’s menu includes a Straight Up Dawg, a foot-long hot dog with pickles, onions, mustard… and ketchup. The item is the British chef’s tribute to baseball food. Good thing the Trib didn’t ask Ramsay about Chicago baseball; he’d probably resort to bothsidesism. Ramsay also promises a special burger exclusively available in Chicago.
Wahlburgers, the chain from famous brothers Mark, Paul, and Donnie Wahlberg, in 2019 opened its River North location to much fanfare. It permanently closed in early 2021. A location in suburban St. Charles, where Donnie Wahlberg lives with wife Jenny McCarthy, remains open.
Gordon Ramsay Burger, 2 E. Ontario Street, Scheduled to open in late 2021 or early 2022.
- Gordon Ramsay, set to open first Chicago restaurant, answers 11 questions on ketchup, hot dogs, and how he perfects burgers at home [Tribune]
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