A recently opened eatery on Desplaines Avenue that was a hotspot for some has changed its name, its look and the fare last month, following a co-owner’s decision to buy out his partner.
DK Bottega is at 201 Desplaines Ave, where its fleeting predecessor, M. Hermann’s, stood for a few weeks, starting earlier this year. The new restaurant bears the initials of David Knickelbein, the head chef and soon-to-be owner. Bottega, the Italian word for “store,” is intended to invoke images of the country’s rustic cheese stores and pastry bakeries, Knickelbein said. Furthermore, he said the restaurant has moved from Hermann’s largely steak-focused menu.
“We’re still featuring steaks, but there’s more Italian,” said Knickelbein, adding that seafood is a big emphasis on the menu.
The chef said he was in the process of buying out his partner, Tim Shanahan, because Shanahan needed to focus his attention on his namesake eatery, Shanahan’s Creole Restaurant and Irish Bar, 7353 Madison St. Furthermore, Knickelbein said he also needed to devote his time to DK Bottega.
From the time M. Hermann’s opened earlier this year, though, Knickelbein, was billed as its day-to-day overseer, Barry Sigale, a public relations spokesperson hired to promote the restaurant, told the Review in April.
Knickelbein declined to disclose how much he was paying Shanahan for full ownership, and Shanahan could not be reached for comment. Shanahan received a $300,000 mortgage deed for the property in March 2010, according to records filed with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.
Knickelbein said the break-up of the partnership had nothing to do with conflict, though.
“We’re still great friends,” he said, adding, “He was definitely the man who put together the structure and the renovation of the building. I give him credit for what he did on the inside.”
The name was changed because M. Hermann was the first initial and last name of Shanahan’s mother, which Knickelbein said was “too personal.”
The chef said he aims to offer patrons reasonably priced fare in a homey environment. What’s more, he said the bar provides a leisurely option for the more “mature crowd” that might not want to deal with Madison Street’s sometimes raucous nightlife.
He also said he thinks Forest Parkers are eager to forget the The Depot, a bar that preceded the restaurants at the location; one Knickelbein called “kind of a biker bar.”
Knickelbein has repainted the inside and said he might remodel the deck in the near future. Presently, though, he is happy with what he’s got. Reflecting on the restaurant, he said, “I think it looks gorgeous.”