Jaleo Chicago Opens In River North Neighborhood

Jaleo opens July 15 in the thriving River North neighborhood, bringing Chicago the first and most personal restaurant concept from José Andrés, world-renowned chef, entrepreneur and humanitarian. Located at 500 N. Clark Street, Jaleo brings alive the spirit and flavors of modern-day Spain through an impressive assortment of tapas, paellas, sangrias, Spanish wines and sherries, all within a festive, casual atmosphere. 

“Jaleo is the very first restaurant we opened, and I love being able to share the flavors and spirit of Spain by bringing this special place to new destinations,” remarks Andrés. “In Spanish, Jaleo means revelry—a lively celebration—and with the bustling excitement of River North, I cannot think of a better neighborhood to be opening in!”

The menu is authentically Spanish with local ingredients that are simply prepared, inspired by traditional dishes of José’s childhood and elevated through his experiences, talents and creativity. Jaleo boasts a number of new experiences unique to Chicago, including tableside Paella presentations and a full Tapas Bar, helmed by Head Chef Justin DePhillips—a Jaleo veteran who moved up to Chicago from Jaleo Disney Springs—as well as the opening of Pigtail, the forthcoming speakeasy opening later this summer. 

From the extensive selection of tapas, signatures at Jaleo include Endivias con queso de cabra y naranjas (endives with goat cheese, oranges, almonds and roasted garlic dressing); Gambas a la zahara, head-on shrimp prepared as José does in summer with garlic and olive oil; and for dessert, the Quesada Asturiana, a Basque-style “burnt” cheesecake made with payoyo cheese and a creamy center. Four varieties of Paella are served tableside by the pan, including: Arroz rabo de toro, which features Meloso-style rice and braised oxtail and is unique to Jaleo Chicago, a classic Paella Valenciana and a traditional Arroz de verduras y setas de temporada, made with seasonal vegetables and mushrooms, and Arroz a banda con gambas y sepia made with cuttlefish sofrito and head-on shrimp. Two tasting menus— the “Jaleo Experience” and “José’s Way”—offer a culinary journey through Spain with a selection of both modern-day and traditional tapas. 

The beverage program reflects how they drink in present day Spain, including four varieties of Spain’s signature cocktail, the Gin & Tonic. The extensive Spanish wine and sherry list is made approachable by categories based on both body and style. Two varieties of sangria—Sangría roja La Sueca and Sangría de cava—are served by the glass or pitcher, plus the infamous Porrones make for a great party-starter on any occasion. 

Designed by renowned Barcelona-based firm, Capella Garcia, the open 240-seat interior is filled with bold colors representative of the festive spirit and personality of José Andrés. With the recent closure of Clark St., Jaleo offers an expanded streetery and patio, reminiscent of the pedestrian-only streets of Barcelona. The original Jaleo opened in 1993 in Washington D.C.—this Chicago location marks the fifth location worldwide, which will be followed by the sixth location opening in Dubai next year.

Jaleo is located at 500 N. Clark Street in the heart of River North within a Friedman Properties building, open for dinner five nights a week to start. Hours are 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday and 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 

Finally, opening later this summer in its basement, Pigtail is a new speakeasy concept and a first for ThinkFoodGroup. Pigtail will offer a complementary experience to Jaleo that’s perfect for starting or ending the night, with its own bespoke cocktail experience and bar menu. Following Pigtail, Bazaar Meat and Bar Mar will open later this fall in the Bank of America building, in partnership with Gibsons Restaurant Group. 

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