We didn’t expect anything less than amazingness when the invite for the Grand opening party of TAO Chicago (632 N. Dearborn St.) was delivered to our inbox. Ever since Castle closed so long ago and the TAO group announced its takeover of the 34,000 sq. ft. space, Chicagoans have been anticipating this opening.
Saturday (9/15) night, TAO Chicago opened its doors to VIP guests including the likes of Kourtney Kardashian, who arrived dressed in a silver, metallic mini dress, with friends Malika Haqq, Hrush Achemyan and rumored new lover Luka Sabbat. Other notable guests included Foodgod Jonathan Cheban, a Chicago frequenter due to his mom living here, Fifth Harmony’s Dinah Jane, Tao co-founder Noah Teppenberg, Miami Nightlife king Dave Grutman, Chicago P.D. cast members Marina Squerciati, Tracy Spiridakos, Jesse Lee Soffer and LaRoyce Hawkins, Real Housewives of New York’s Tinsley Mortimer with boyfriend Scott Kluth (they are back on again), Chicago Med’s Chris Johnson, Chicago Fire star Taylor Kinney, The Chi’s Jason Mitchell, Barton Fitzpatrick, Yolonda Ross and Tai Davis, Southern Charm’s Shep Rose and date Katie Kearney, San Antonio Spurs player Brandon Paul, Bob Saget’s fiance Kelly Rizzo and Cheat Codes’ trio Trevor Dahl, Kevin Ford and Matthew Russell. Model Behati Prinsloo, Adam Levine’s wife, was also spotted at TAO Chicago’s grand opening party. Behati was in town for Maroon 5’s Red Pill Blues tour stop on Friday night, so she stayed the weekend for the opening.
Shep Rose and Katie Kearney
LaRoyce Hawkins and guest
Hrush Achemyan, Malika Haqq and Kourtney Kardashian
Yolanda Ross, Tai Davis
Newly engaged Taraji P. Henson (to Kelvin Hayden) took over a round booth on TAO Chicago’s descending dining room staircase with a few friends. After dining on TAO Chicago specialties, Taraji was surprised with a custom birthday cake celebrating the actress’ birthday which was earlier in the week.
The TAO Chicago’s grand opening wasn’t just all TV and movie celebs. It was also a magnet for the Chicago sports teams stars. Chicago Cubs’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo was spotted with fiancé Emily Vakos, fellow Cubs’ teammates Jon Lester attended with wife Farrah, Cole Hamels and Daniel Murphy. Former Chicago Bears’ Israel Idonije was joined by current players Prince Amukamara, Zach Miller and Charles Leno Jr. While Chicago Bulls small forward Denzel Valentine enjoyed a night out with his teammates Kris Dunn and Chandler Hutchison. The transformation of the historic 1892 landmark in River North was quite dramatic and just what Chicago’s nightlife and dining scene needs.
Farah Stone Johnson-Lester, John Lester
Brandon Paul, Landon Cox
Anthony Rizzo, Emily Vakos
Kris Dunn, Denzel Valentine
Earlier in the week, after throwing out the first pitch and singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at Wrigley Field while on the promo tour for his new movie “Night School,” Kevin Hart stopped by TAO Chicago for a private preview tasting by Chef Mike Armstrong. Hart arrived straight from the game with members of his team and took over the skybox for a private meal including the Crispy Rice Tuna, Cantonese Cauliflower, Fried Rice, Chicken Wing Lollipops and Satay of Chilean Sea Bass.
According to Eater, TAO’s Las Vegas location is the most profitable independent restaurant in the country.
Photo credit: Jeff Schear/Getty Images North America
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pronounced: Boh-la-jee, like the Bellagio but w/o the O. SLC Editorial Director, loves to write about topics at the intersection of career and lifestyle for today's young professional and future leaders.