Ocean Prime, the American restaurant and lounge from restaurateur Cameron Mitchell, officially opened its doors downtown this week. Located in the Shops at LondonHouse at the corner of North Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, the restaurant is open for weekday lunch and nightly dinner. Chicagoans can also expect a menu of seafood and prime cuts of steak courtesy of Executive Chef Jason Shelley, signature cocktails and a wine list.
“We’re thrilled to open an Ocean Prime in Chicago, a city we’ve had our sights set on for quite a while,” says Cameron Mitchell, Founder and CEO of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants and a past recipient of the Richard Melman Concepts of Tomorrow Award. “When we toured the dramatic, beautiful space, looked out across the Chicago River through its floor-to-ceiling windows, and felt the energy of the neighborhood, we knew the time was right.”
Under the direction of Executive Chef Jason Shelley, Ocean Prime’s from-scratch kitchen provides a dining experience that includes quality ingredients, as well as local and regional flavors. Shelley has been a part of the Cameron Mitchell Restaurants family since 2004. Most recently, he was the opening Executive Chef at Ocean Prime D.C. Leading the front of house as General Manager is industry veteran Louis Morgan III. Morgan’s previous role was General Manager of Ocean Prime Troy, where he was twice-awarded Cameron Mitchell Restaurants’ “General Manager of the Year” award.
The restaurant, designed by Mark Knauer of Chicago-based Knauer, Inc., is 12,350 square feet. The two-story lobby is wrapped with illuminated transparencies of Chicago’s history. At the second floor, as one looks in to the bar area, fluted and gilded column enclosures are centered in the room with large wedding cake chandeliers cascading from the ceiling, reminiscent of Chicago architecture. From there, the guest experiences a marble top island bar anchored by a multi-tiered liquor display and a collection of antique barware. The bar room is illuminated on one side through large picture windows overlooking Wacker Drive and the Chicago River. On the other side, Atelier Olschinsky stylized paintings of the Chicago cityscape are back illuminated. On the third wall, entering into the dining room, the guests walk through the wine room, which then leads to another set of dining rooms, further offering a variety of experiences.
“All design elements are woven together like a fabric, inspired by the unique vibe of Chicago while providing a dramatic and unapologetically luxe experience for the guests,” says Knauer. “Ocean Prime Chicago is an extraordinary dining experience. An extraordinary and unique to Chicago dining experience that differs from any other Ocean Prime restaurant, while still maintaining the unmatched hospitality and high quality food.”
With two bars and ample banquette seating, the restaurant offers up to 350 guests. For events, celebrations and corporate functions, its private dining space overlooks Michigan Avenue and includes four rooms: The Tribune Room, accommodates up to 14 guests, Wrigley Room 1, which accommodates up to 18 guests, and Wrigley Rooms 2 and 3 accommodates up to 24 guests each. For larger scale events, patrons can use all three Wrigley Rooms, which holds up to 66 guests when combined.