LAKEVIEW — There’s a new restaurant at the corner of Southport and Irving, but its owner has a proven record of success stretching back 30 years.
Port & Park Bistro and Bar opened in at the end of October in the former SIP location, 4000 N. Southport Ave. Its owner, Steve Salameh, was the longtime proprietor of Beef and Brandy and its lower-level speakeasy, the Bar Below, which closed in November 2018.
“Honestly, I thought I was going to retire then, but it didn’t happen,” Salameh said. “It’s the love of the business I guess. Or the idea that I cannot really sit at home. I’m not that old yet. I need to work some more.”
Beef and Brandy had been open for 51 years on State Street. The landlord had plans to remodel with the hopes of bringing in a boutique hotel, and Beef and Brandy’s two-year lease was up, Salameh said.
“That was a shock to us, but that’s the nature of the business,” Salameh said.
Salameh was touched when longtime regulars and loyal employees threw a party for him when the restaurant closed. Some of them reached out now that Salameh is back in the game, and he’s hosting a holiday reunion Dec. 17 at Port & Park.
Salameh spent awhile finding the right location for his new restaurant, and the gateway to the Southport Corridor was the perfect fit. But his Downtown model needed a little tweaking.
“We had to focus on higher-end food, but we wanted to keep it real because it’s a neighborhood,” Salameh said. “And we wanted it to be a place where people can come every day.”
Chef Brittnay Sudlow serves up modern takes on American classics, like a riff on pork and beans ($22) made with slow-roasted pork shank and braised cabbage, shrimp and grits with smoked cheddar ($15) and short rib tacos ($15).
Port & Park is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday and for weekend brunch. For more information, visit portandparkchicago.com.
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