Fort Willow: A Dining Retreat for Adventure Seekers

If you’ve spent this February showering your world map with “destination” push pins or dreaming of elevated sleepovers past, there’s a place for you. Or maybe a string of uninspired eats has left your palette lustless.

Either way, a new DMK establishment on Elston stands to save you from a Jack Torrence-style unraveling. The name is Fort Willow, and the offerings are robust.   

From Tuesday through Sunday, you and like minded epicures can dine internationally without leaving the 2,500-square-foot shelter in Noble Square. A sprawling tree of wood planks and warm, drop lighting cast comfort and familiarity over more exotic bites and beverages.  


“At the corner of Elston and Willow”. Image Credit: Fort Willow

Daily specials and reduced happy hour and late night prices appeal as does the kinship with Ada Street, its well-regarded sister lounge, and other DMK restaurants.

Envisioned by David Morton and Michael Kornick and constructed by Chris Talsma of Filoramo Talsma and Arlan DeRussy, 1721 N Elston imports flavors from San Francisco to Southeast Asia. You just have to wander in and surrender to the spices.


Labneh. Image Credit: Fort Willow

Try Middle Eastern labneh (whipped goat cheese, za’atar, and lemon) before departing to Mexico for crispy cauliflower with serrano-poblano hot sauce and a jalapeño tequila, mezcal, and guava-infused “Daisy Pusher”. Nibble on Korean-cut short ribs with bulgogi glaze and broccoli slaw while nursing an Ecuadorian ale or glass of Spanish wine. 


Crispy Cauliflower. Image Credit: Fort Willow

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Korean-cut Short Ribs. Image Credit: Fort Willow

Convention is teased. Culinary coexistence is promoted, and cultural roots are exposed.

Still, a slew of “classic” cocktails and domestic beers should delight those who favor the traditional. Amplified “house” versions of bar staples like moscow mules, negronis, and highballs allow for bolder imbibing. 


Classic or House? Image Credit: Fort Willow

Reconnect with your taste buds, and discover more at Fort Willow.


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