(Michael Kiser for GoodBeerHunting.com )
If you’re strolling down North Broadway in East Lakeview in the next few weeks--stop!
There’s a trap.
If you find yourself mesmerized by the wafting smells of house-made English muffins, steaming grits and fermenting beers, it’s already too late.
You’ve fallen into Pete Repak’s strategically placed ambush.
The DryHop executive chef has been leaving the front windows open, hoping the smells of his locally sourced cooking perks a few noses--and a few future customers.
Dryhop Brewers (3155 N. Broadway) will finally be opening its doors for dinner June 13.
But don’t be mistaken, Repak’s food is only one side of the equation.
DryHop is a brewhouse first, restaurant second.
Hoping to be a moderately upscale neighborhood place, DryHop's small plates menu is created to compliment the work of brewmaster Brant Dubovick.
“Pete’s been really open about it,” said Dubovick, who moved from Pittsburg to Chicago for the opportunity to put his stamp on a handful of craft beers at DryHop. “The menu is built around my beers. I’m used to the kitchen telling him what to brew.”
Dubovick plans to offer two flagship beers--a wheat IPA and a Chicago common--alongside a rotating seasonal selection that includes a creamy coconut stout, a saison aged with chamomile and orange peel, an American pale ale and a Czech pilsner. All beers are brewed in-house, if you couldn't tell based on the massive steel vats sitting in the front windows.
As for the "stamp" Dubovick said he's looking to leave at DryHop, he simply said, "to brew some beers Chicago can dig."
While the joint is driven by Dubovick’s craft beers, Repak said the menu will still focus on big flavors.
These shared plates won’t be tapas that leave both your wallet and stomach cranky.
“The food will be familiar,” Repak said. “It’s all approachable, but it’s very technically executed.”
Repak said he plans to offer everything from upscale bar snacks, like a savory peanut brittle with smoked chilies, to burgers and dishes like lamb pastrami served in a sourdough bowl with arugula and Spanish cheese.
But Repak is especially excited to unveil what he dubs “the best version of shrimp and grits that any one will ever taste.”
“I was born in Chicago,” Repak said, “but I think I’m a secret southerner.”
In short, DryHop's menu will be very diverse. Repak says his food slate will always offer fresh fish and a range of locally-purchased greens.
DryHop also will offer a more chef-driven, late night menu.
While Repak was hesitant to release any spoilers, he did rave about a still unnamed dish. Currently, he’s leaning toward Pork-a-pooloza or HAMburger.
Either name is quite fitting.
This shrine to pork consists of ground pork collar, stuffed with pork belly, smoked country sausage, tasso ham, served on a house-made English muffin with crispy onions, garlic aioli and hot pepper relish.
“The menu will be both playful and bold,” he said. "It'll feature the kinds of dishes you'd expect a chef to eat after a shift at DryHop."
The gastro pub's decor will be a mix of rustic and contemporary, splicing concrete floors with rough-cut woods and other natural materials.
Repak said he wants customers to "feel like they’re sitting on their neighbors' back porch."
The brewing process will be front-and-center; beer will be poured straight from stainless steel serving tanks behind the bar, and the brewhouse will be adjacent to the dining room.
In a unique touch, the eatery’s bar top is crafted entirely out of a massive tree that was knocked down in a thunderstorm in Northbrook.
“We want this to be a place you go to every day,” Repak said. “We want it to be a part of your routine.”
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