A reservation at Nico is tough to get but lucky walkins can score a seat at the kitchen counter

A reservation at Nico is tough to get, but lucky walk-ins can score a seat at the kitchen counter.

Nico Osteria finds smooth sailing in Chicago

The 125-seat Nico Osteria, which opened several months back in the Thompson Hotel in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. • See more New Restaurant Concepts

The first thing you notice after entering Nico Osteria is two stunning hostesses who greet you with a warmth you rarely get at a hostess stand. And while they ask if you have a reservation, you’re greeted again by a smiling, dapper gentlemen who appears to have jumped off the pages of GQ. It catches you a bit off guard because it’s rare to be welcomed this genuinely anywhere.

Later on, after being seated, you notice that Mr. GQ is a front-of-the house manager who frequently scan

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