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Open> Restaurant
A Chicago Top Chef pays special attention to wood and acoustics.
Jason Little Photography

Frog N Snail
3124 North Broadway
Tel: 773.661.9166
Designer: Dale Levitski

Former Top Chef contestant Dale Levitski approached the design of his new restaurant, Frog N Snail, literally from the ground up. Levitski and his business partner took over the space of a failed all-white Thai food joint in Lakeview, whose design inspiration must have been a first-generation iPod. The space had one redeeming quality, a white terrazzo floor. “It would be a shame to rip it up,” Levitski said.  The terrazzo and two oval-shaped tray ceilings remain, while much warmer detailing reflect the chef’s rich bistro cuisine.

The new interiors seem driven by two things: wood and sound reduction. There’s nary a piece of art on the walls as Levitski “wanted the design to be the art, as you’d see three to four different types of wood in each eye shot.” This starts with two bars in front, fashioned from reclaimed wood, one a traditional bar and the other a barista and crêpe station. Then onto the tables and booths handmade from hickory, a sliding chalkboard door to hide a service area, and custom cabinets for the wait staff. To quell the sound from vivacious diners, the walls are clad in attractive sound-absorbing cork wall coverings and upholstered acoustic panels hover overhead.

Ryan LaFollette