Monday, August 13, 2012

Dion Antic Returns To Division Street With Canto

Dion Antic (Photo: Dion Antic)

Long-time dining and nightlife impresario Dion Antic has been very busy as of late.

His Melt Sandwich Shoppe in Bucktown continues to flourish, he's set to star on History Channel's Picked Off on Wednesday, and is also opening an antiques store called Roadtrip on same day.

But he's most excited about his latest collaboration with the Bob San owners on a new Japanese-style tapas bar named Canto. It's set to open August 23.

"Chicago doesn't have a really cool sake and karaoke bar," Antic tells 312DD in an exclusive interview. "I'm bringing something to this part of Wicker Park that's grown up with no PBR, no Jameson and a state-of-the-art karaoke system."

The first look at Canto's interior. (Photo: Canto)

Antic says that Canto, which is adjacent to Bob San (and was the old Leo's Lunchroom, for the old schoolers), was initially created three or four years ago. It never opened to the public, but with renewed interest of dining and nightlife culture on the busy Division Street strip, the owners decided to do something with the space.

The owners brought in Antic to consult and redesign the concept. It seats about 120 people, and will serve Kushiyaki-style dishes (or Japanese tapas), oysters, and all-white spirits of boutique sakes, whiskeys, gins and vodkas. All menu items will be under $20.


Also on the horizon for Antic is Bardot, a French-focused, BYOB oyster bar he plans to open near Damen and Division in April 2013.

He describes it as an updated version of the venerable Bucktown restaurant Le Bouchon, with a focus on organic ingredients and contemporary preparations of cassoulet and bouillabaisse. Also expect an oyster bar and daily seafood specials, which Antic says you cannot find in the immediate area.

For now, he's keeping mum on the restaurant's design, yet reveals: "Think of Brigitte Bardot on a motorcycle. The space will be sexy, yet very dark and edgy."


Meredith Jones said...

Canto sounds wonderful- a nice alternative to Mirai nearby. Division dining is booming! They seem to be keeping up quite nicely with the hustle and bustle of Randolph street. Thanks for keeping me in the loop!

Anonymous said...

Melt is hardly flourishing. They are constantly out of almost half of the items on the menu and the staff there are abominable.
Hasn't this guy basically been the kiss of death to everythin he touches? (shady Lady, porkchop, Harry's velvet room, rock star dogs).

Anonymous said...

He's still alive?