Between Dale Levitski's Frog N Snail and Chuy Valencia's former restaurant Chilam Balam, Broadway in East Lakeview already is something of a "Top Chef" hot spot. With the opening of Bar Pastoral lead by "Top Chef: Seattle" cheftestant Chrissy Camba, it's gaining even more attention from fans of the Bravo show, now in its 10th season. Here are five things you should know about the first restaurant from the owners of gourmet shop Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine, due to open Nov. 12 at 2947 N. Broadway.
It's been a long time coming.
"We had always thought that ultimately, we wanted to have a sit-down extended of our concept," said co-owner Greg O'Neill, who opened the first location of Pastoral in East Lakeview with Ken Miller in 2004. "People have been asking for it and we've always wanted the opportunity to do it." O'Neill and Miller opened a second location in the Loop and a third inside the Chicago French Market in the West Loop, but neither had enough sit-down space for a full-service restaurant. When the storefront opened up next door, they jumped on it. "The whole reason why we created this was so people could see how to use the things they buy in our store." Expect cheese plates, charcuterie, bar snacks and heartier plates both small and large.
Try the bubbly on tap.
Just like Pastoral's retail wine selection, Bar Pastoral's wine list is tightly edited and features small producers—some you can't find elsewhere in Chicago. Sixteen wines are each $10 a glass, including a sparkling wine on tap made especially for the restaurant by Michigan winery L. Mawby. Also: 3 craft beers on tap and more by the bottle, sherries and cocktails showcasing spirits from one craft distiller per quarter. "We're not throwing the kitchen sink at you," O'Neill said. "You get all sorts of choices, but edited enough that we know about it, we can speak intelligently about it and we can pair it well."
Save room for the ham.
When asked what three dishes RedEye readers should definitely try, Camba named the cheese board, pizza nuts ("They're pizza-flavored bar nuts with some podda cheese, which is kind of like a parmesan") and roasted ham. "I just cooked off one of the hams that we had brined, and it's pretty much off the hook," said Camba. "I wanted to eat the entire thing, and I was like, 'I have to save it for the restaurant and for staff training!' It's so freaking good though."
It won't be a scene.
Sure, the executive chef happens to be on TV, but "we're not looking to create a place that is packed to the gills like in Wrigleyville or Wicker Park or Bucktown. This is not meant to be this large din like you get in River North," O'Neill said. "We're looking for it to be a little bit more of a refuge. So it's not meant to be a loud, of-the-moment spot. It's really meant to be the kind of place that people can enjoy and kind of escape to rather than need to escape from."
Don't forget to look up.
Local lamp designer Ted Harris created lighting fixtures out of dairy antiques, so look for a chandelier made from glass butter churns above the bar and lighting made from a milking device above a table for six. "We're calling it the udder table to be a little punny," O'Neill said.
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