LM Le Restaurant in Lincoln Square seemed like the kind of modest neighborhood restaurant that you could imagine being a low-key mainstay of the neighborhood for a decade or more. But instead it’s been the center of a whirlwind of activity this past year— and it may be over in that location. Or not. First, chef Bradford Phillips departed for the Pump Room. Then owners Stephan and Nicole Outrequin Quaisser, who came from experience in the hotel industry, took over the Tribute space in the Essex Hotel with Brasserie by LM, at the same time opening a French-flavored bar, Troquet, a few blocks from Lincoln Square. Oh, and Phillips came back at that time. Well, now Dish reports that the Quaissers are taking over River North’s Elate, which was generally liked but didn’t break through in public consciousness, and that will become the new LM Bistro under Phillips. (Dish amusingly suggests calling it L8.) And though it doesn’t necessarily seem like this would be necessary, they’re shutting LM in Lincoln Square as a result.
Since Elate is also in a hotel (the Felix), Nicole O-Q tells Eater that running French restaurants in hotels has become their niche, which is why they seem to be walking away from having a neighborhood place. But they also say it’s possible that something else will remain in the original LM space in Lincoln Square— which would make us happy, as we favor nice little neighborhood bistros or brasseries more than we need more restaurants in downtown hotels. As for Elate’s chef, Michael Noll— he doesn’t have to worry about switching neighborhoods every few months, he’s going over to The Trenchermen as a sous chef… and we assume it’s staying put for a little while.