Egg Harbor Cafe opening first Chicago location in Streeterville’s Optima Signature

The restaurant chain signed a lease in the 57-story apartment tower, bringing retail occupancy to 99%
By Alex Nitkin | April 16, 2019 12:00PM

Clockwise from top left: Optima Signature tower, Optima President and COO Tara Hovey, and an Egg Harbor Cafe

Clockwise from top left: Optima Signature tower, Optima President and COO Tara Hovey, and an Egg Harbor Cafe

The Optima Signature tower is about to add a dining option to its retail lineup.

Optima Incorporated inked a lease with the Lincolnshire-based Egg Harbor Cafe, setting the table for the eatery’s 21st nationwide location and its first in Chicago, according to a company spokesperson. The nearly 5,000-square-foot lease brings the apartment tower’s retail occupancy above 99 percent.

Two years after architect-developer David Hovey and DeBartolo Development completed the 490-unit Optima Signature, its apartments are about 98 percent leased. The building counts a gym, a veterinary office, a nail salon and a private school among tenants in its 60,000 square feet of combined retail space.

Egg Harbor Cafe will compete with the nearby Yolk restaurant, which has stayed busy in a Streeterville corridor that has lagged behind other parts of Downtown in its retail offerings. Foot traffic got a boost in the area in 2015, when Whole Foods opened a location at 255 East Grand Street.

And the Cityfront Center district east of Michigan Avenue is about to see a surge in big-spending residents who could help juice retail sales. Related Midwest is underway on condo sales for One Bennett Park, and partners CIM and Golub & Company are busy converting the historic Tribune Tower into a 163-unit condo complex.

Optima Signature nearly filled its retail space at a time when Downtown retail landlords are increasingly struggling to keep storefronts full, especially along the nearby Michigan Avenue strip.

Optima President and Chief Operating Officer Tara Hovey credited the 57-story tower’s location and “modern design aesthetic” for attracting Egg Harbor Cafe.

“More residents than ever have made Streeterville home in recent years, and a popular breakfast and lunch restaurant perfectly complements the other neighborhood restaurant offerings,” said Tara Hovey, who is David Hovey’s daughter.

The cafe is set to open in the fall.

The family-led development firm built Optima Signature, originally called Optima Chicago Center II, as a companion to the 325-unit Optima Chicago Center completed four years earlier.

Last year, Optima sold the smaller tower to Edge Principal Advisors in a $155 million deal. The firm then refinanced Optima Signature with a $215 million loan, replacing its earlier $160 million construction loan.

In January, Optima began leasing 22 flex office suites inside the tower, making them available to residents and non-residents alike. Users of the offices have access to the luxury building’s amenities, including a basketball court and 40-yard dash track.

Tara Hovey called the suites a “great opportunity for companies based in the suburbs who want a Downtown office, or for CEOs and senior executives who may live Downtown and office in the suburbs.”