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Carriage House opening in Wicker Park this fall

Chef Mark Steuer and The Bedford team are planning Lowcountry-inspired restaurant on Division Street

By Erin Gibbons

For RedEye

June 15, 2012

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The Bedford’s chef Mark Steuer will soon be bringing “a little bit of back home to Chicago.” The Charleston, South Carolina, native has plans to open a Lowcountry-inspired restaurant with Salita Development, the team behind The Bedford, in early September.

Carriage House (1700 W. Division St.) will be the team’s second Wicker Park restaurant, occupying a space that’s been empty since Edge sports bar closed last year. While Steuer has been serving contemporary Midwestern fare at The Bedford, the menu at Carriage House will feature the food he grew up with, which he doesn’t think is currently represented in Chicago: Cajun and Creole flavors and seafood sourced from the Charleston area, and simple, high-quality ingredients.

“I remember picking a peach off the tree and eating it, and it being so good that it didn’t need anything else,” he said. “So while it will be Southern flavors, I want to let the ingredients kind of speak for themselves.”

Steuer also wants to show that the notion of Southern food being “all really heavy and fried and soaked in gravy” doesn’t represent the food where he grew up. He plans to serve small plates – all less than $20 – as well as two larger plates meant for the table, such as a whole fish or big cut of meat. The bar program will be focused on whiskey and bourbon, white and sparkling wine, and classic Charleston punches and cocktails.   

The team has plans to build a 40-seat front porch surrounded by plants and greenery, meant to evoke an old plantation. The 100-seat interior will be completely remodeled as well, with a brand-new open kitchen and rustic décor that incorporates old industrial metals, white-washed wrought iron and wooden tables.
The kitchen will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day (the bar will likely stay open a little later), and the team has plans to serve brunch on weekends.