James McHugh Construction Co. has begun construction of a 7,000-square-foot Haidilao Hot Pot restaurant at 107 E. Cermak Road, on the second floor of Hiltons at McCormick Place in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. Chicago-based Antunovich Associates is the project architect.
Scheduled to open this December, the project marks the China-based global chain’s entry into the Midwest market. With U.S. locations in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Haidilao Hot Pot offers a high-end, Sichuan-style hot pot experience.
“We’re all looking forward to the days when we’re able to enjoy dining out with family, friends and colleagues in a lively environment, so it’s encouraging to see restauranteurs like Haidilao moving forward with their expansion plans,” said Terry Gillespie, senior project manager of Chicago-based James McHugh Construction Co. “We’re proud to be delivering this unique concept and provide our expertise, especially on the project’s extensive exhaust systems. Haidilao has a great reputation internationally as a quality hot pot destination, and we’re excited to expand our relationship with them.”
When complete, the two-level restaurant will include a 700-square-foot waiting area, main staircase and elevator just inside its street-level entrance. Haidilao’s second level will span approximately 6,300 square feet and house the main dining area, kitchen, bathrooms and office space.
The tri-branded hotel, which includes a Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton, was completed in 2018 with a white-box retail space for future tenants and a plan for landlord improvements to accommodate an incoming restaurant. Key modifications to the core and shell space included adding a demising wall between the new restaurant entrance from the adjacent tenant, adding stairs and an elevator to the second level and installing new electrical, water and gas distribution for the restaurant and for future retail tenants.
“Diners will be cooking their food in the broths at the table, so we are installing an extensive Type 2 stainless steel exhaust system at the underside of the second floor that will collect exhaust into risers that run to the roof,” Gillespie said. “To exhaust, heat and cool the space, we installed 22 heat pumps, which is the most we’ve ever installed in a restaurant of this size.”
McHugh Construction also made 180 slab penetrations to accommodate hot pot tables, sauce stations and kitchen equipment. To ensure an authentic Chinese ambience, almost all of the project’s millwork is being fabricated by ownership and shipped from China.
Haidilao Hot Pot joins several new entertainment, restaurant and recreational offerings in the historic Motor Row District of the South Loop. Open for both lunch and dinner, the new restaurant will provide another dining option for neighborhood residents as well as convention-goers, sports fans and other visitors to Wintrust Arena and McCormick Place. The CTA’s Cermak/McCormick Place Green Line station is just two blocks west of the property.
“The McHugh Construction corporate headquarters is located a few blocks north of the project, so it’s always great to be working in your own backyard, as you have an extra level of pride to see on a daily basis how your hard work paid off—it’s similar to when we completed other nearby projects like NEMA, ARC at Old Colony and Uncommon Apartments,” said Mike Meagher, president of McHugh Construction. “There’s incredible growth happening in this part of the South Loop, and we are in the planning stages for several other projects in the neighborhood.”