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Joe Flamm and Newly Renamed Day Off Group Announce New Fulton Market Restaurant

“Rose Mary was a story I wanted to tell, and now I have another story I want to tell.”

A group of four folks in aprons posing, including Joe Flamm on the left.
Chef Joe Flamm (left) and his crew pose at the 2023 Chicago Gourmet festival.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

In Fulton Market, where finding a parking space could be a Herculean task, Joe Flamm and company are hashing out plans for a third restaurant, joining Rose Mary and BLVD Steakhouse.

“We’re staying in the neighborhood, which is nice,” Flamm says. “I can get my steps in.”

Flamm and his team, the group formerly known as Sancerre Hospitality, aren’t ready to share a lot of details. They don’t even have a name to divulge. The only concrete facts are that the team, now known as Day Off Group, has signed a lease for 7,000 square feet of space at 1045 W. Fulton Street, a new office building that’s nearly 150-feet tall on the corner of Fulton and Aberdeen.

Day Off — which includes Flamm, Frank and Kara Callero, and Steve Zaleski — also plans for about 3,000-square feet of outdoor space at the unnamed restaurant. Flamm says they’re opening for a late summer or fall debut.

“I can’t really say much about the concept,” Flamm reiterates. “But, for me, it’s that Rose Mary was a story I wanted to tell, and now I have another story I want to tell.”

Rose Mary brought a bustling dining room to Fulton Market that to outsiders blended Croatian and Italian influences. Flamm would say he paid homage to his wife’s Croatian side and his Italian roots and the time he spent at Spiaggia dialing in his skills. That Italian restaurant off Michigan Avenue closed in 2021. After he established Rose Mary, Flamm took his talents down the street to BLVD, a restaurant that opened before he joined the former Sancerre.

The outdoor space appears to have been a major draw for Flamm and goes back to the reasons behind the group’s name change for Day Off. Logistically, “Sancerre Hospitality” is not a short email domain, and depending on the length of an employee’s last name, it doesn’t make things easier. So, when figuring out a replacement, Flamm and company leaned on the chef’s catchphrase of “day-offing,” or playing hooky and hanging with friends and family.

“There’s no better day than going to a restaurant on your day off,” Flamm says.

Flamm describes hanging out in Logan Square at Jason Hammel’s iconic Lula Cafe, a neighborhood staple. There’s joy in enjoying a meal on the patio and watching folks walk around Logan Square Monument Park. That’s the type of feeling Flamm wants to bring to Fulton Market. It’s an experience the area could use: “Sitting on the patio with a beer, watching the city go by, is one of my favorite things,” Flamm says.

As far as Rose Mary and BLVD are concerned, Flamm says he’ll be at all three restaurants. He’s comfortable with helping out, filling out a variety of roles (one day it’s a pasta cook and the next day it might be serving as a host). Flamm, a native South Sider, says he eventually wants to open a restaurant near home, but it’s a gradual build. Also, for Day Off, they want to make sure they have some variety in their lineup. “You don’t want to be the White Sox,” Flamm says, referencing the disappointing baseball team he roots for. “For us, we’re always looking for opportunities where things make sense.”

With 2023 coming to a close, add Day Off’s new project to the early list of most anticipated restaurant openings of 2024.

Day Off’s unnamed Fulton Market project, 1045 W. Fulton Street, Planned for a late summer or early fall opening.