Lettuce Entertain You to join forces with Tao Group Hospitality to create a private members club in Chicago

Tao Group Hospitality co-CEOs Jason Strauss and Noah Tepperberg with Lettuce Entertain You's president R.J. Melman and executive partner Jerrod Melman. /Image courtesy of Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants

Chicago-based Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants said Friday it is partnering with New York-based Tao Group Hospitality to create a one-of-a-kind private members club.

With the goal of opening in late 2023, the as-yet-unnamed project will be located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.

The space will be designed by Joyce Wang Studio, with offices in Hong Kong and London, which is known for very high-end projects such as Kyubi in London, Mott 32 Las Vegas, Ichu in Hong Kong and Jin Gui in Hamburg, Germany.

The partnership brings together two dining and nightlife powerhouses in the multiconcept space.

The family-owned Lettuce Entertain You, which was founded by Rich Melman more than 50 years ago, now includes about 110 restaurants under 60 concepts in eight states and Washington, D.C., including Sushi San, Ba-Ba-Reeba, Mon Ami Gabi, Aba and new concepts The Gin Commission and Crab Cellar.

Tao Group, based in New York and owned by Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp., operates more than 70 restaurants, including locations of the namesake TAO Nightclub and TAO Asian Bistro in Chicago. Other restaurant brands under Tao Group include Marquee, Lavo, Beauty & Essex and Little Sister.

Tao Group last year acquired the upscale Hakkasan Group, at the time creating a company encompassing 61 venues across five continents, including the restaurant brands Hakkasan, Yauatcha and more.

Noah Tepperberg, co-CEO of Tao Group, said in a statement, “I have admired Lettuce and have been friends with the Melmans for almost 20 years. We are thrilled to be working together and think this will be one of the country’s most exciting membership clubs.”

R.J. Melman, president of Lettuce Entertain You, added, “We believe this project will bring a new, curated social and dining experience to our community.”

It appears 2023 will be the year for several high-profile private dining clubs in big cities across the U.S.

In San Francisco, SHO Group this month broke ground on splashy entertainment-and-nightlife venue on the roof of Salesforce Park to be called SHO when it opens next year, which will have a private membership club component, backed by NFTs.

Earlier this year, New York-based VCR Group also announced plans to develop an NFT-funded private dining club next year called Flyfish club.

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