Bistro Marbuzet, the upscale restaurant that helped usher in the recent Madison Street renaissance when it opened just under five years ago, has officially served its last filet mignon.
All is not lost though, as chefs will soon be back in the kitchen grilling up specialties such as pulled pork and jalapeno stuffed burgers at the new Madison Street Grill, scheduled to open Oct. 27.
Bistro Marbuzet owner Jack Jones, who will retain ownership of the new restaurant along with his brother Michael Jones, said the decision to change the restaurant’s theme was made in an effort to attract a more economically diverse clientele.
“It’s hard to bring in the upscale dollar,” said Jones. Though he acknowledged that other higher end restaurants on Madison including La Piazza and caffe De Luca have thrived, Bistro Marbuzet apparently did not share the same success.
He said he briefly considered selling the restaurant after getting two offers over the summer, but decided that the space on Madison and Desplaines was too good to give up.
“We took a step back and decided on change. I still love that room, it’s a gorgeous restaurant,” he said.
Bistro Marbuzet opened in 2000 at the former site of Ambrosia Café, a 24-hour diner which previously went by the name Venture Restaurant.
Marbuzet received rave reviews upon opening, including being named one of Chicagoland’s 20 best new restaurants by Chicago Magazine, but has long been rumored to be suffering financial difficulties.
Jones hopes the new theme and lower prices will allow Forest Parkers who could only afford to go to Bistro Marbuzet on special occasions to dine at the Madison Street Grill on a more regular basis.
The new menu, he said, will concentrate on ribs, steaks, burgers and pastas and will also feature a vegetarian section. He is particularly excited about the stuffed burgers.
“My Grandma when I was a kid used to stuff us a burger. Now I see them popping up at gourmet places in Manhattan, so I thought it would be great for us to put it on the menu,” he said.
Among the options are the aforementioned pulled pork and jalapeno burger as well as burgers stuffed with bacon and mushrooms and his grandmother’s specialty, a burger stuffed with mozzarella cheese and tomatoes.
He said that a couple of favorites from the Bistro Marbuzet menu, including popular tuna and salmon specialties, will remain in order to keep the regulars coming back.
Bistro Marbuzet’s wine offerings will be cut back significantly in favor of an expanded beer list, but the restaurant still will serve some “great, less expensive wines,” according to Jones.
Though interior renovations will be fairly minor, the Madison Street Grill will feature televisions at the bar and a more “family style” look overall.
The restaurant has been closed for renovations since Oct. 17.
Madison Street Grill will serve dinner from 5-10:30 p.m. Brunch will be served on Sundays, and the restaurant will be closed Mondays.
The Jones brothers also operate three Chicago restaurants: Rioja, a Spanish tapas restaurant on Clark St.; Jack’s on Halsted, an American-style bistro; and Corner Grille, an upscale diner in Andersonville.