Bar Siena, an elegant Italian restaurant, has opened in Skokie.
Stylish restaurant Bar Siena in Chicago’s West Loop has found a second home in Skokie’s Westfield Old Orchard mall. The 9,000-square-foot restaurant, adjacent to Nordstrom, offers dishes from different regions of Italy and seating indoors, on two outdoor patios, and at two bars.
David Rekhson and Lucas Stoloff are partners at West Loop Bar Siena, which grew out of their Siena Tavern, as well as Westfield Old Orchard.
The partners opened the West Loop Bar Siena in 2015.
Rekhson said they decided to open their second Bar Siena in Old Orchard because “we really like the northern suburbs. My business partner is from the North Shore. My wife is also from this region. We have many friends and family who live in this area.
Rekhson added that they were drawn to the mix of businesses and residences in this area.
“It’s something we look for in any of our sites,” he said. “There are a lot of office buildings in the neighborhood and a lot of commercial activity, but there are also a lot of people living in the neighborhood looking for a good place to eat.”
Skokie’s director of economic development, Len Becker, said Bar Siena is a welcome addition to the area.
“Bar Siena offers Skokie residents a new and exciting dining destination,” Becker said. “This hugely popular Chicago-based restaurant validates Old Orchard and Skokie as the premier suburban shopping area in the market. In addition, the restaurant will provide much-needed sales and food and beverage taxes to the village in order to provide top quality services to residents.
The restaurant will also help the village achieve a goal.
“The anticipated revenue generated by Bar Siena will play a significant role in helping to double Old Orchard’s sales over the next 10 years,” Becker said.
The Old Orchard Bar Siena is very similar to the original, Rekhson said. “We have a big tree in the center with our twinkling lights.” They also incorporated bricks into the design, the kitchen is open and there is a huge pizza oven like the one in the West Loop.
Unique to Old Orchard, Bar Siena features two patios. The one at the entrance to the shopping center can accommodate 40 people.
The parking deck seats 85 people and can be closed for use during cold months.
As for the menu, Rekhson said, “You’ll definitely see a lot of downtown favorites from Bar Siena. We are also incorporating some tracks from Siena Tavern. Siena Tavern is the sister restaurant to Bar Siena in River North.”
He cited a few favorites, one being the large roasted meatball with ricotta, basil and polenta bread for $21. Another favorite he mentioned is the grilled octopus with crispy fingerling potatoes and salsa verde, also for $21.
The menu also includes some unusual selections, including squid ink lobster linguine with roasted cherry tomatoes and spicy lobster cream for $39. Pizzas baked in their large pizza oven include a carne version with Italian sausage, prosciutto and bacon for $24 and a truffled mushroom version, also $24, plus two other varieties.
There’s a 22-ounce bone-in rib-eye for $79 and roasted salmon with summer vegetables, Calabrian chili yogurt and arugula pesto for $42.
Rekhson said the restaurant offers handmade pasta dishes, including gnocchi, which cost $28.
In terms of drinks, Rekhson said, “We have great cocktails and lots of fine wines.”
There are six cocktails, $16 each. One, for example, contains gin, lavender honey, Aperol, Lillet Rose, lemon and tonic.
There will be a DJ on Fridays and Saturdays. “We wanted to bring some of that downtown energy to the bar,” Rekhson explained.
They currently don’t have any events planned but there is room for private events for groups of 12-125 people in private catering spaces. It is possible to buy the entire room for up to 400 people.
Additional Bar Siena locations are planned for the future. “We definitely have expansion plans for Bar Siena’s portfolio,” Rekhson said.
Myrna Petlicki is a freelance journalist for Pioneer Press.