Business

The Graceful Ordinary restaurant hosts preview event ahead of planned opening in November

In former BMO Harris Bank building overlooking Fox River in downtown St. Charles

Megan Curren smiled as she saw her new restaurant, The Graceful Ordinary, lit up at night.

“We had a really good friend who went by the restaurant last night and took a few pictures of it all lit up,” said Curren, who owns The Graceful Ordinary with her husband, Chris. “I think it’s beautiful seeing it lit up along the Fox River. And if you go down and see the bridge and the Fox River going south, it’s stunning.”

The Hampshire couple owns The Graceful Ordinary, which is set to open in November in the former BMO Harris Bank building at 1 E. Main St. overlooking the Fox River in downtown St. Charles. Chris Curren, a noted Chicago chef, will serve as executive chef/owner of The Graceful Ordinary and his wife, Megan, will serve as the restaurant’s event sales manager.

On Thursday, the couple hosted a preview event at the restaurant. For updates on the restaurant’s opening, go to the restaurant’s website at thegracefulordinary.com or follow @thegracefulordinary on Facebook and Instagram.

One of the challenges the couple has been facing in readying the restaurant to open are the supply chain disruptions that have affected so many businesses.

“It’s been a journey,” Megan Curren said. “Manufacturing and supply issues have made it a long journey, like everywhere and everything that’s happening in today’s world. But I think through all of that we are very, very happy with the outcome.”

And because of a labor shortage – a problem also experienced by many businesses – they put new practices in place in order to attract a strong employee base. For one, the couple decided it will close the restaurant on some major holidays as well as on Sunday evenings and Monday mornings.

The 4,700-square-foot restaurant will have seating for 120 guests indoors and an additional 110 customers outside. Features include a wood-burning brick hearth, a bar and lounge area, a private dining room housing the restaurant’s expansive wine collection and an outdoor terrace overlooking the Fox River.

The Graceful Ordinary is the latest addition to the growing restaurant and entertainment scene in downtown St. Charles. The building is owned by Curt Hurst. Hurst and his son, Conrad, own Frontier Development, which has been involved in several projects in downtown St. Charles.

In 2019, Frontier Development purchased the Arcada building, which houses the Arcada Theatre and Club Arcada. The historic building first opened its doors in 1926, attracting such performers as George Burns and Gracie Allen.

Frontier Development also owns the building that houses Flagship on the Fox sports bar and Pollyanna Brewing Company in downtown St. Charles.

Curt Hurst commended the efforts of the couple, including the couple’s hiring practices.

“The culture that they’re developing is amazing,” he said. “It’s going to be a really fun spot for people and I think people will feel that culture. It’s very respectful and family oriented.”

He also lauded the restaurant’s food.

“It’s a chef driven experience,” Hurst said. “I’m looking forward to being able to see the whole menu. The things we have been testing have been amazing. And the way the building capitalizes on the Fox River and downtown St. Charles, it’s a great transformation. I think it’s going to bring a lot of vibrancy to the downtown area in addition to what the city is already doing.”

Chris Curren described the restaurant’s fare as “refined rustic cuisine.”

“It’s an upscale American tavern that is kind of set around our wood-burning brick hearth and the open kitchen, taking classic, American types of food and making it in a much more refined manner,” he said.

He said it is the restaurant’s attention to detail that sets it apart.

“We look at every aspect of what we do and say, ‘How does this affect our guests and what’s the best outcome we can get for our guests?’ " he said. “I think that sets us apart more than anything else.”

Those attending the Sip and Stroll event in September at Mount St. Mary Park in St. Charles had the chance to sample The Graceful Ordinary’s food. The couple in turn had the change to hear feedback about the food.

“Everybody loved it,” Megan Curren said.



Eric Schelkopf

Eric Schelkopf

Eric Schelkopf covers St. Charles and writes entertainment stories for the Kane County Chronicle.