Before the hipsters, before the Girl and the Goat, and yes, before Oprah, the West Randolph corridor was a much different place. Randolph and Fulton Market were, as now, focused on food, but they were gritty and industrial. Food processing and distribution companies were the major tenants.
Fast-forward a few decades and West Randolph has transformed itself into the city’s premier dining destination, “Restaurant Row.”
Most of the West Loop hash houses had to do some type of renovation work to meet current-day codes and tastes. But few had to do as big a gut rehab as Michael Dorf, the owner of City Winery (1200 West Randolph Street). He poured nearly $4 million into renovations before opening for business one year ago. That’s a lot of Zinfandel.
City Winery was one of the West Loop buildings featured during the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s 2013 Open House Chicago.
The 100-year-old building had a solid structure, but it still needed quite a bit of work. Much of the old wood framing, brick and terra cotta was used in the conversion. Phillip Katz of Philip Katz Project Development gave new meaning to adaptive re-use. Even the old building’s three-inch-thick white oak planks got a new life, converted to tabletops.
Now, City Winery draws music and wine aficionados. The rehab also earned Phillip Katz the Urban Land Institute 2013 Vision Award for adaptive re-use in the project category.