Hotelier Ian Schrager, who bought the historic Ambassador East Hotel last April, announced his plans for the hotel -- to be called Public -- and its famed Pump Room on Tuesday, promising a "new breed of hotel" and a restaurant that will "still Chicago's beloved restaurant, but better."
He's bringing in New York chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who will rehaul the Pump Room in the spirit of his ABC Kitchen -- "reasonably priced, delicious favorites in a relaxed, comfortable environment" with a farm-to-table vibe, a press release said. Vongerichten and Schrager have been interviewing chefs to run the kitchen; they plan to choose a Chicago chef, spokeswoman Jill Katz said. "That's their goal - keep it Chicago," she said.
The clubby, old Hollywood feel that so many associate with the old Pump Room won't be completely wiped clean. In the evening, the restaurant's bar will turn into a supper club, serving small plates, "exotic cocktails" and music.
The hotel at 1301 N. State will have a soft opening in late September and will be up and running by early October, Katz said.
"We are trying not to be hip, we are in fact anti-hip, and therefore by definition, we are," Schrager says in the release.