Scott Weiner and Greg Mohr, the owners of Wicker Park sports bar The Fifty/50, are opening an indoor-outdoor rooftop restaurant called Homestead in mid-July on West Chicago Avenue. Here’s the lowdown on what to expect.
How to find it: You’ll enter through Roots at 1924 W. Chicago Ave. There are no plans for exterior signage, but if you ask for Homestead and Roots’ host stand, you’ll be directed up to the rooftop, which is above Bleeding Heart.
It’ll look like: You’re eating dinner in a garden. The 85-seat outdoor portion of the deck will share space with a 1,000-square foot organic garden growing more than 100 herbs, veggies and fruits. The 40-seat interior sounds like it’ll feel pretty outdoorsy too, thanks to terrariums, a hanging plant wall and windows looking out to the garden.
Who’s cooking: John Wayne Formica, who worked as sous chef under Rodelio “Food Buddha” Aglibot at Sunda and, before that, as sous chef at Marcus Samuelsson’s C-House. How’d they find him? Co-owner Scott Weiner became friends with Aglibot, who spoke highly of Formica. “[I told him,] I’m looking for a chef whose name should be out there with all these other guys, these big-shot chefs, that isn’t yet,” Weiner said. This certainly sounds like Formica’s breakout role.
What’s cooking: Formica’s dinner menu will feature dishes meant for sharing that take cues from Formica’s Lebanese and Italian heritage and Asian travels, among other influences. And naturally, everything will use ingredients from the on-site garden. Dishes planned for the menu include a “bread basket” dip featuring baked-to-order foccacia and spiced peanut dip, lamb tartare with chickpea crisps and octopus confit with black garlic and finger lime "caviar."
How long it’ll be open: Until mid-October, reopening again in the spring. “We felt strongly that because this is such a seasonal place … we can change the menu as often as we want,” Weiner said. “So what I’m really most excited about is how versatile it is.” The outdoor area will be open until midnight every day, with the indoor portion of the restaurant staying open until 2 a.m. Sunday through Friday and 3 a.m. Saturday.
Come thirsty: Revae Schneider of Femme du Coupe (Remember her from our “People you should know” column last year?) created the cocktails, which will showcase goodies from the garden. In addition to a half-dozen draft beers, craft brews will be available in 22-ounce bomber bottles for sharing.
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