Luxurious Private River North Wellness Club With Boka Ties Opens Applications

Private “holistic wellness” and social club Bian, a new project from Boka Restaurant Group co-founder Kevin Boehm in the historic former Montgomery Ward building in River North, opens its applications to the public Monday. Designed by Karen Herold’s Studio K, the creative firm behind celebrated Boka Group restaurant Girl & the Goat (among others), the airy monochromatic space will include a restaurant and bar, studio and fitness spaces, a “listening room” with vinyl records, and more. The space will also house a medical facility with practitioners of both Eastern and Western medicine, according to the website, that will feature services such as “concierge medicine,” a “holistic apothecary,” Botox, and “cleanse and detox” treatments. Membership fees are $3,600 annually, plus a $1,000 “initiation.”

Boka chef and partner Lee Wolen is Bian’s consulting chef. Menu details are not yet available, but the website promises organic food and beverages such as smoothies, juices, and “elixirs,” as well as wine, spirits, coffee, and tea. The aforementioned apothecary will carry herbs and tinctures.

The application process is to better ensure diversity in membership. Ownership says they want to give folks from different mindsets a chance to connect.

Though it’s not an official Boka project, the application launch comes just after an announcement that Boka is stepping away from Somerset, its luxe Gold Coast restaurant inside the Viceroy Chicago hotel. The Viceroy Hotel Group and Chicago real estate company Convexity Properties has taken over management of the restaurant and rooftop pool and bar Devereaux.

In other news…

— Seven Chicago breweries are taking part in the nationwide Black is Beautiful program which raises funds for various charities that address systemic racism. The breweries make a beer and then donate all profits from sales to local groups that support police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged. For example, Revolution Brewing is donating to My Block My Hood My City. The Chicago breweries are: Greenstar Brewery (Lakeview), Marz Brewing (Bridgeport), Midwest Coast Brewing (West Town), Pipeworks Brewing (Hermosa), Revolution Brewing (Avondale), and Whiner Beer (New City) are the Chicago participants. Sketchbook Brewing, Peckish Pig (Evanston), One Lake Brewing, and Kinslahger (Oak Park) are others in the nearby suburbs. The program was started by Weathered Souls Brewing in San Antonio, Texas.

— Third-party delivery company DoorDash has partnered with drugstore chain Walgreens on an on-demand delivery initiative to provide over-the-counter medications, household items, and other products in the Chicago, Atlanta, and Denver areas, according to a news release. Ordering is available via the DoorDash app and website.

— Animal-free farmer’s market “Vegan Paradise” kicks off its first event August 2 at multi-faceted sustainability non-profit the Plant in Back of the Yards, according to Block Club Chicago. It will feature wares from local farmers and crafters, and there’ll be limited seating in the Plant’s Whiner Beer taproom. A joint project of Vegan Test Kitchen and developer Bubbly Dynamics, the market is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays through Labor Day at 1400 W. 46th Street. Entry is free but registration is required via Eventbrite.

Atlanta-based diner chain Huddle House broke ground Monday morning in the Calumet Heights neighborhood at a press conference with local officials including Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Ald. (8th Ward) Michelle Harris. The restaurant is the second dine-in establishment in the ward, according to Lightfoot, and will provide up to 80 permanent jobs. News of the chain’s plan for the South Side was first announced in July 2019, and is one of three new developments slated for the area. “We want to make sure the needs of this community are met,” she said. “This will help remedy a critical need for food alternatives here in Calumet Heights.”

— 94-year-old South Side institution Rainbow Cone has hit the road with an eye-catching Original Rainbow Cone Ice Cream Truck, according to Time Out Chicago. For now, it’s just making suburban stops on the weekend as workers get their bearings, but the truck will eventually start popping up in the city too, Block Club reported. Fans can keep tabs on the truck’s location via Instagram.

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