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6 new BYOB restaurants

What to bring to dinner at Melao, Briciola, Daddy Cool's and more

  • Empanadas at Colombian restaurant Melao
Empanadas at Colombian restaurant Melao
May 24, 2012|By Erin Brereton | For RedEye

Looking for a new restaurant to work into your BYOB routine? A handful of new options have opened within the past few months, with the flavors ranging from Colombian to Thai to Italian. We tapped the ones who know best—the chefs and owners—to weigh in on what beer or wine would best complement the cuisine, plus share ideas about other spikeable drinks on the menu.

3941 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-868-4501
Dish-and-drink combo: A medium-bodied cabernet would go well with this Colombian eatery's grilled churrasco strip steak ($14.95), served with plantains, fried yucca and potatoes, said owner Claudinette Rojas. Diners also often pair beer with the beef, chicken and spinach-mushroom empanadas ($1.25).
Other sipping selections: Bring a bottle of rum to this North Center restaurant to spike juices such as passion fruit and blackberry ($2.75; $3.25 with milk).
Local liquor supply: Trader Joe's (3745 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-248-4920)
Corkage fee: None

937 N. Damen Ave. 773-772-0889
Dish-and-drink combo: Homemade pasta dishes at this Italian restaurant in Ukrainian Village include ricotta-filled tortelloni pasta topped with a brown butter-sage sauce and hazelnuts ($16), which chef/co-owner Mario Maggi recommends pairing with a chardonnay. The Milan native also suggests picking up a bottle of pinot blanc for the potato-crusted salmon ($22).
Other sipping selections: Hard liquor isn't permitted, so stick to beer or wine.
Local liquor supply: Ola's Liquor (947 N. Damen Ave. 773-384-7250)
Corkage fee: $3 wine service fee per bottle

Big G's Pizza
3716 N. Clark St. 773-281-2444
Dish-and-drink combo: The mac 'n' cheese pizza ($3.75 a slice, $24 a pie) made with a cream-based sauce is this Wrigleyville pizzeria's top seller. "Every age group goes nuts for it," said co-owner Jaime Ganed, who recommends washing it down with light beer.
Other sipping selections: Spike your Coke ($1.25 a can, $2.50 for a two-liter bottle) with whiskey to match the Jack Daniel's-infused pulled pork pizza ($3.75 a slice, $28 a pie).
Local liquor supply: Gold Crown Liquors (3425 N. Clark St. 773-935-1700)
Corkage fee: None

El Ricon Azteca
1752 W. North Ave. 773-770-3531
Dish-and-drink combo: Cynthia Valenzuela, who helps run her father's Mexican eatery in Wicker Park, said most diners bring domestic and imported beers to down with dishes such the Gringa, a marinated pork-, onion- and chihuahua cheese-stuffed quesadilla ($3.99). Lighter lagers help offset the spiciness of the complimentary roasted peanut salsa.
Other sipping selections: Micheladas (made with tomato juice, lemon, soy sauce and salt, $1.50) can be topped off with beer you BYO.
Local liquor supply: Foremost Liquors (3301 W. North Ave. 773-772-2200)
Corkage fee: None

Namo Thai
3900 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-327-8818
Dish-and-drink combo: Chassie Dejatibong, owner of this North Center eatery, said a robust red wine such as cabernet would work well with the spicy Angry Tiger ($18), steak marinated with Thai herbs and served with sticky rice and salad. She suggests a sparkling white wine to accompany the signature lobster pad Thai ($16).
Other sipping selections: Juice drinks such as cranberry and acai juices with lemon-lime soda ($4) would do well with a dose of rum or vodka.
Local liquor supply: West Lakeview Liquors (2156 W. Addison St. 773-525-1916)
Corkage fee: None

Daddy Cool's
2200 N. Milwaukee Ave. 773-697-4576
Dish-and-drink combo: At his casual counter-service spot in Logan Square, owner Rich Kewitz suggests sipping a hoppy wheat beer with the homemade tamales ($2.59, plus $1.49 to add shredded cabbage, pico de gallo and chihuahua cheese). "A drink with good body will counter-balance some of the spiciness of the chicken tamale," he said. "For the squash tamale, I'd recommend a pinot grigot."
Other sipping selections: Milkshakes such as the tangy orange Dreamsicle ($2.99 for 12 ounces, $4.99 for 20 ounces) could be kicked up a notch with a touch of vanilla vodka.
Local liquor supply: Foremost Liquors (2300 N. Milwaukee Ave. 773-278-9420)
Corkage fee: None for now. Kewitz said he may institute a small corkage fee this summer. | @redeyechicago

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