So remember that neighbor with the treehouse down the street? Or maybe you were that neighbor? Well, if you’re in Chicago, you can go back in time a bit. Indigenous flavors and spices converge at Fort Willow; a journey for the senses set amid the nostalgia of a reimagined childhood treehouse.
Located in a cozy nook of burgeoning Noble Square, Fort Willow serves chef-driven and aromatic-rich cocktails, small plates, and bowls. Menus developed by Chef Michael Kornick and Executive Chef Deirdre Quinn, previously sous chef at Ada St., and DMK Restaurants’ Beverage Director, Scott Koehl, draw inspiration from the roots and traditions of iconic international culinary destinations from around the world.
Fort Willow aims for its adult customers to re-engage their imaginations from childhood. “The 75-seat spot brings back backyard memories when kids played in treehouses. If the metaphor is lost upon diners, don’t fret—there’s a tree that’s sprouting at the end of the bar. It’s one of many design elements aimed to transport customers back to their younger years,” says Eater Chicago.
Fort Willow delivers up unique cocktails and a menu with global flavors as far as India (think vegetable curry) and as close as San Francisco (think oysters).
It’s a 2,500-square-foot space designed by Chris Talsma of Filoramo Talsma architects and Arlan DeRussy, a local craftsman. And yes, there’s a swing in the dining room. Did you think we were joking about that?
While Fort Willow is currently (temporarily) closed for “creative renovation,” they are still booking private events. Oh, and one more thing: If you hop on that swing, remember that you’re no longer that 50-pound, 6 year-old hanging in secret with your neighborhood buddies. You are an adult now, after all, even if you do have a couple Bengali Daiquiris in your belly.