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Lettuce Entertain You opening two restaurants at Navy Pier

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises is opening two restaurants in a new dining area planned for Navy Pier, part of an effort to draw more visitors to the lakefront attraction with improved dining and retail options.

Chicago-based Lettuce agreed to open Frankie's Pizza by the Slice and Big Bowl Chinese Express at Navy Pier, said Kevin Reynolds, a partner at the restaurant company.

“Almost every visitor (to Chicago) has Navy Pier on their checklist. As we've expanded into airports, now we're expanding into Navy Pier,” Reynolds said. “We see the value of having our locations in all parts of the city, regardless of the venue.”

Both Lettuce restaurants—the company's first ventures at the tourist destination—will open in a new 30,000-square-foot dining area accessible from the pier's south walkway, not far from the Ferris wheel, a pier spokesman said. The area, which has been empty for about a year, once was leased to tenants that ran small retail kiosks and carts.

Navy Pier isn't known as a restaurant destination, but the nonprofit organization that operates the property is hoping better food will help boost the pier's gastronomic profile and inspire more visits. “Many more” restaurants are expected to come to the new dining area, the spokesman said.

“Lettuce has elevated the culinary scene in Chicago, and we're excited to partner with this great Chicago-based brand as we re-imagine Navy Pier,” the pier spokesman said in an email.

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