From the description of the prospective tenant ("a national bar-restaurant") we thought something like a Quaker Steak & Lube was moving in there, so we have to count it good news by comparison that the Mercadito Hospitality Group is the one who plan to take over the Hop Haus space in River North, as reported a couple of days ago. Eater says that Mercadito chief Alfredo Sandoval says the plan is to open a new concept, developed with Tavernita chef Ryan Poli and the Tippling Bros. by early summer. Given the space's 5 a.m. license, it will be have a focus on drink, but the primary emphasis will be on offering late-night dining at a higher-than-Golden Nugget pancake house level— and in fact, Ryan Poli gave us a clue about that a few weeks ago in an interview, though we didn't know it at the time.
To Eater, Sandoval compared the intention of the project to what Blue Ribbon is doing late nights in New York. Interestingly, the same place came up in our recent conversation with Ryan Poli a few weeks back:
There are certain things that New York is just going to have that Chicago is lacking, just because of density of population and what people do. In New York there are restaurants like Blue Ribbon where you can walk in at one o'clock in the morning and get an oyster tower [laughs], and there's like an hour wait. I don't know if Chicago's ever going to get there, but we want Tavernita to be that kind of a late night place.
Now it sounds as if Tavernita's as-yet-unnamed sibling will get there first. [Eater]