Restaurateur Brad Parker travels the world looking for exceptional cuisine — and he knows good food when he tastes it. So after a meal at Principote in the Greek city of Mykonos, the founder of Parker Hospitality realized immediately that he had discovered something special.
“I was just blown away,” Parker said. “I said, ‘I have to meet the chef.'”
That’s how he came to befriend Avgeria Stapaki, a Greece-born chef whose culinary career has seen her serve as sous chef of Michelin-starred Hytra in Athens in addition to her work as executive chef at Principote. Five years later, the two have partnered to bring a modern Mediterranean dining experience to the West Loop with Nisos, a two-floor, 9,000-square-foot restaurant set to open next spring at 802 West Randolph Street, the former location of Bad Hunter.
“She’s one of the most amazing chefs I think I’ve ever met in my entire life,” Parker said.
To be clear, Nisos is not a Greek restaurant. Its cuisine will draw from influences across the Mediterranean — Spain, Italy, France, Greece and beyond — with an a menu that emphasizes minimal ingredient lists and quality over quantity. As many ingredients as possible will be sourced from local farms, with others will be imported from Europe to maximize authenticity. The head of Nisos’ beverage program will even train in Greece and source beverage recipes to bring back to Chicago.
“We really believe that quality is where Mediterranean dining starts,” Parker said. The restaurant also plans to embody the region’s service style, with an attentive staff that’s always serving its guests.
Parker chose to open Nisos in the West Loop on account of its status as one of the country’s top culinary destinations. With Michelin-starred neighbors like Oriole, Elske, Sepia and Omakase Yume, it seemed like an ideal launching pad for Stapaki’s journey to international chef stardom.
“You have some of the most amazing restaurants in the country there,” Parker explained. “This is the place for her to make her mark, her first entry into the United States. And it’s the perfect fit for who she is — she’s a badass, she has West Loop written all over her.”