Situated in the former III Forks restaurant spot in Lakeshore East, at the corner of Field Blvd. and Benton Place, Avli is far removed from the ghost of this old, dark restaurant. In fact, it's the polar opposite with everything artfully designed in sparkling shades of cream, beige and white by the talented Nike (pronounced Nicki) Demacopoulos. Greenery is everywhere, including as seen from every window of the stunning Lake Shore East Park.

The two-level, 13,000-square-foot restaurant, owned by Louie Alexakis, Bill Glastris and Lou Canellis (Fox-32 sports anchor), in partnership with the Magellan Development Group, is draw-droppingly beautiful from the moment you walk through the door. A birch-lined cocktail area, and I suspect a soon-to-be holding "pen," is on the right, before you reach the hostess station. Then, the room opens up with a direct view of the long, elegant U-shaped bar, a brightly lit wine cellar and wrap-around seating. An outdoor, rooftop deck will offer dazzling views of the city, a variety of seating options as well as a fireplace lounge.

Every single server and worker there were all smiles as well as the principals, including GM Stefanos Lemonis, who table-hopped throughout the night. That's the way you win friends although with the high level of food service and a delicious menu by Chef Nikolaos Kapernaros, I think they already have it made. Chef Kapernaros has selected dishes for the menu that include his own family's recipes--like Shrimp Mikrolimano (sautéed shrimp prepared in fresh tomato sauce, herbs and smoked feta served over cauliflower puree); Octopus Stifado (octopus, pearl onions, tomatoes and rosemary, glazed with red wine) and Lavraki Sofregada (Mediterranean seabass), among others.

"Avli on The Park is our newest destination to express our core Greek philosophies of Philoxenia / Hospitality, Meraki / Passion, and Kefi / Joy. We treat all our guests like family, are passionate about our food and share laughter and joy with everyone," said partner Alexakis.

This is the 4th restaurant in Avli's dining empire with locations in Lincoln Park, River North and suburban Winnetka.

Avli on the Park, 180 N. Field Blvd., is open 7 days a week for dinner from 5-11 pm, with reservations via Tock.The restaurant seats 180 in the main dining room, 120 on the rooftop (when it opens), with party and event spaces for 8-100. The restaurant will soon launch a lunch service and a weekend brunch. The venue will also host live music on occasion (think popular Mykonos singers and more). (For more info/ reservations, click here)  

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