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Wednesday, November 21, 2012 / 7:05 AM

CWE's Liluma to Become Contemporary American Steakhouse

CWE's Liluma to Become Contemporary American Steakhouse

Brothers Derek and Lucas Gamlin, owners of Sub Zero Vodka Bar at 308 N. Euclid, signed a lease last week to take over the space on the SE corner of Maryland and Euclid (perennially the hottest corner in the CWE), the space currently occupied by Liluma and Liluma's Side Door. The lease also includes 850 additional SF on Euclid south of the Side Door, currently occupied by Massage Luxe.

Although the name of the restaurant has not yet been made public, Gamlin said it will be "a contemporary American steakhouse, an affordable steakhouse." When asked how such folly was possible, he pointed to a menu mix that combines the traditional cuts like KC Strip and tenderloin with lesser-but-still-tender cuts, like the petite tender and hangar steak. "One of the biggest sellers at Craft steak house is their hangar steak," he said, "so good I get it every time I go." Some cuts will be cooked on an open char broiler, others will be smoked. Gamlin hinted that some of the beef will be dry-aged, like the Cajun-style rib eye that's been sp popular at Sub Zero, and some will be grass fed, but none of it will be gimmicky. "We'll serve steaks simply, on iron plates that cradle the juices, he said. "We'll leave the rocket-hot platters to the other guys." The man holding the long tongs will be Ian Craig, Exec Chef at Sub Zero, who will oversee both projects.

(On a side note, Sub Zero's been quite the success story, their business increasing by healthy percentages for the last several years, and the fact that it carries the most vodkas of any restaurant or bar in the country--570 and counting--is its own bragging-rights calling card. According to Gamlin, "no one else even comes close." And two years ago, the Gamlin's partnered with the Levy group in converting Georgia Frontiere's former suite at the Edward Jones Dome (at 92 seats, the largest suite in the place) to a mini Sub Zero, featuring their unique mix of vodka, sushi, and fancy burgers for a mere $350 per person, the Ed's version of Busch's green seats.)  

Inside the new space, the front room will be devoted primarily to bar seating, while the extra square footage in the back will allow for a more spacious and gracious dining area. Outside, the see-and-be-seen patio will become even more focal with the addition of a roof, patterned somewhat after the one at Bottega in Napa Valley (right). Gamlin has incorporated HVAC and two fireplaces into the design so the patio can be functional year round.   

Jim Fiala, owner of both Liluma restaurants (as well as The Crossing and Acero), will be a minority partner in the new venture, assisting in staffing and menu development. He, too, was coy with his adjectives, saying only that "this will be significantly different than other steak places," and was genuinely excited both to be a part of it and to stay in the CWE. 

Fiala holds the keys until December 31 and Gamlin says renovations will take 90 days, so expect a spring opening...prime time patio season.

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