May 5, 2021

The Daily Herald

A new restaurant on the river

The Daily Herald

From its riverfront location to its acclaimed chef, the new restaurant opening this spring in downtown St. Charles is anything but ordinary.

The Graceful Ordinary is the brainchild of owners Chris and Megan Curren. Chris is the executive chef, while Megan is the restaurant's event sales manager.

Situated along the Fox River at 1 East Main St., the former BMO Harris Bank building was purchased in December by Frontier Development and local developers Curt and Conrad Hurst.

For the Currens, it's been a nonstop effort getting The Graceful Ordinary -- a 4,700-square-foot location occupying the first floor of the building -- ready to open in the next few months.

"To be along the river, you can't beat being right there on Main Street in the heart of St. Charles," said Chris Curren, who studied at the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute and was a chef at Chicago restaurants Fulton Market Kitchen, Seven Lions and Blue 13.

Curren said the name of the restaurant comes from the idea of an "ordinary," the local tavern in colonial times that served as both a town meeting spot and a place to share good food and drink.                                                                

As for the "graceful" element, that spawns from the upscale menu and decor and the welcoming atmosphere.

"For us doing one of our concepts, it seemed like a no-brainer for us in St. Charles," Megan Curren said. "We started actively looking for spaces the last three or four years."

After Frontier Development cleared specifications from the city's historic preservation commission to maintain the exterior's midcentury modern style, the building is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation under the guidance of D+K Architects.

Residential units will occupy the upper floors.

Chris Curren said the menu will feature "refined rustic fare that brings flavors from all over the country," although details still are being ironed out.

The restaurant will offer daily lunch and dinner service as well as weekend brunch in a dining room accommodating up to 120 indoor guests and 110 outdoor guests.

"There's definitely a voice and a personality in the food that I cook," Chris Curren said.

"This will be an opportunity for people to see that while also still being approachable and recognizable so people aren't necessarily intimidated by it."