News & Features

16 Questions for Sixteen's Pastry Chef

March 27 2013 - 9:00 AM

Patrick Fahy is one of the most esteemed pastry chefs in Chicago. Having worked at some of the country’s finest restaurants, including The French Laundry and Blackbird, Fahy fine-tuned his craft to become a top-tier pastry pro. As the pastry chef at Sixteen in the Trump Tower, his elegant seasonal desserts could easily comprise an edible art gallery. In light of the restaurant’s name, we asked Fahy sixteen unique questions, some pertaining to work (hint: gourmet root beer floats are mentioned), some just for fun. Get to know Fahy a little better and read on!

Chicago Foodies: Do you bake a lot at home, or do you leave all that for work?
Fahy: I love to bake any time, any place, but unfortunately, I am at work most of the time, which allows very little baking time for the home. However, when I actually do have time at home, I bake for my wife or for our families. Definitely around Christmas time!

CF: On a day off, what’s your ideal itinerary?
Fahy: Days off are always jam packed with two things: rest and family. Itinerary? Nope, not on a day off!

CF: What is your biggest guilty pleasure food?
Fahy: Pizza. I like it best when it’s thin crust, the tomato sauce is pure and seasoned with no bitterness. The cheese should be caramelized slightly, crust crispy browned, not burned.

CF: Got any hobbies?
Fahy: Hobbies fall into the work category: research research research 🙂 I do have other things I do actually. First off, I don’t have a TV by choice. I study the following on my own: art, philosophy, science, math, and history.

CF: If the Donald were to ever dine at Sixteen, which dessert would you most like to serve him, and why?
Fahy: He was in a little while ago. He’s a chocolate-lover.

CF: Besides your own menu, what’s the best dessert you’ve tasted recently, and where was it?
Fahy: I know this isn’t the answer you are looking for, but I have to say it, I’m sorry: my wife made me the most amazing cobbler last month; warm apples and cranberries with flaky crust and rich vanilla ice cream melting over the top.

CF: Which restaurants (new or not) are you most eager to try these days?
Fahy: I’ll be interested in trying any restaurants if they offer a dessert-only tasting menu! 🙂

CF: You’ve attended a lot of culinary events. What’s your favorite event?
Fahy: There were so many good ones, so that’s tough, but honestly I think everybody will understand my answer with no hard feeling 🙂 Food and Wine Hawaii with Michelle Karr and Alan Wong.

CF: You were a James Beard semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef. How does it feel to be nominated?
Fahy: I’m always humbled and surprised. It really is always an honor to be on that list, especially with so many amazing pastry chefs in this country. It really motivates me to work even harder, for I realize my expectations will follow. The best advice I can tell anybody else who is nominated is this: remember to focus on what matters most, your team and and your desserts. 🙂

CF: What ingredients and/or techniques are you really digging right now, and how are you implementing them?
Fahy: Well as always, lots of chocolate and sugar work. Additionally we are cryo-cooking with liquid nitrogen, and dry ice. We are also creating particular levels of air, texture, and water into the final product.

CF: What do you like about working in a hotel restaurant?
Fahy: Thankfully this restaurant has its own identity. Sixteen has such a “Chicago” feel to it that you’ll feel more at home (if you’re from here) or right in the center of the city. That feeling will be stronger when dining here compared to most other popular Chicago restaurants.

CF: The Trump Tower is pretty tall. Are you afraid of heights? Could you stay on the top floor if you had to (or wanted to)?
Fahy: I would love to if I could afford it! It’s the best view in the city.

CF: You’re an alum of The French Laundry. What were the greatest lessons you learned there?
Fahy: I wish everybody could have a chance to work there for a few years. It doesn’t just teach you, It changes you. It creates a new you, and molds you into a new shape and form. The philosophy of mastering the basics is essential in any professional kitchen, keeping the kitchen spotless as if you were in a science lab. Treating every minute of the day with a sense of urgency, but at the same time remembering what cooking is all about: bringing happiness to the guest, and with every bite that’s taken, having them crave one more.

CF: Spring is here (!). What ingredients are you most eager to work with?
Fahy: Favorite spring ingredient right now is fresh cherry blossoms (sakura) directly from Tokyo, Japan. Also planning on three different breeds of fresh cows’ milk form a local farm in Illinois. Clover, rhubarb, puffed quinoa, oh I can’t wait!

CF: This may be like asking you to pick your favorite hand, but if you had to say, what’s your favorite dessert currently on your menu?
Fahy: On the new menu, it’s the sakura dessert.

CF: What new dessert(s) are you currently working on?
Fahy: Terrace season starts soon. Our beautiful outdoor patio on the sixteenth floor will be open with an amazing view. The star dessert feature? Definately our homemade root beer, with the best cream on the planet. Yes it’s a simple classic root beer float. Only thing is it will taste amazing. Oh yeah, there’s one more thing I almost forgot… it will literally float.

News & Features

Chicago Food Swap

March 25 2013 - 1:00 PM

Self-described “overzealous food canner” Emily Paster (West of the Loop)  has been experimenting and concocting in her kitchen for years.  Her love of food and all things canning led her to follow FoodinJars, a canning blog who had written about a Philadelphia Food Swap in 2011.  A food swap, you say?  Indeed!  A gathering of folks who trade homemade goods, typically monthly, where no money is exchanged and communities are built. 

After hearing about the swap in Philly, Emily began to investigate. Since Chicago celebrates all things food, from the producers, to the markets, to the at home chefs that make this city a foodie destination, surely there had to be a food swap in Chicago – especially since they had been sweeping the nation from L.A. to Austin by 2011.  Surprisingly, Chicago was without a food swap, and that is when Emily called her friend Vannessa Druckman, fellow foodie/blogger/writer friend (check out her blog here: ChefDruck) and began to create Chicago’s one and only food swap event!

What is a Food Swap?

Here’s how it works:  Go to the Chicago Food Swap  website and sign up to swap for one of their monthly events.  Make something delicious at home, package it and bring it to that month’s swap location. Although Emily mentions occasional exotic foodie finds in previously held swaps such as polish farmers cheese, homemade drink syrups including cola, root beer and even a syrup made from dried Jamaican flowers called sorrel, she stresses that anything delicious can be brought.  Make a ridiculous chocolate chip cookie? Have a killer tomato sauce or pesto? Bring that!

One tip: Package for conveniance.  Make things easy to trade and handle. Best not to bring a whole cake, but rather cupcakes.  Once you get to the swap, set up your provisions along with a piece of paper with each item being offered and a few lines underneath for bids.  For the first hour of the swap, folks meander from table to table sampling and discussing the homemade goodies. Oh yeah, bring samples!  It’s the best way to sell what you’ve got.

Next, people begin to make bids for what they would like to trade.  In the last half hour to hour of the swap, the swapper will return to their station and carefully pour over their bid sheet to see who wants to trade.  This is where the fun begins. There is no guarantee that you will get what you bid for and although strategy is the fun part of the swap game, everything happens in an easy, conversational and friendly way.

Why go?

If the Chicago Food Swap had a mission, Emily says it would be “to showcase home cooks and shine a light on what people are doing at home.”  She also speaks about the diversity that is represented at each event, whether it is in the origin of the foods or within the people creating them at home.

“People all over the city are honing their craft and making beautiful food,” Emily says. “It is great to get some recognition for people developing their craft”.

Meeting passionate people who have a similar interest and coming home with delectable yummies…pretty much a no-brainer, right foodies?

Want to swap?

The April 7th Food Swap is already on a  long waitlist, but do not fear.  The May 12th swap is around the corner at the Scrumptious Pantry.  Want to know when the list for May will open?  Here is how to stay in touch:

Chicago Food Swap

Chicago Food Swap Facebook

Swap needs your help!  Since the Chicago Food Swap is a not for profit event, Emily and Vanessa depend on the kindness of businesses to open their locations for each swap.  Own a small business and can house about 40 people?  Get in touch with Emily or Vanessa  through their website (above)!

 

News & Features

Finger-lickin' Dinner Collaboration

March 22 2013 - 9:00 AM

All the comfort foods in the world combine for one dinner on March 24 at La Sirena Clandestina (954 W. Fulton Market), co-hosted by the chefs behind forthcoming Honey Butter Fried Chicken (3361 N. Elston Avenue). Fried fish, fried chicken, and cookies take the stage for an evening of diet-busting dreams. At this point, New Year’s resolutions are long forgotten anyway, right? There’s always next year.

In anticipation of the opening of Honey Butter Fried Chicken, set for a summer debut in Avondale, chefs Christine Cikowski and Joshua Kulp are teaming up with La Sirena Clandestina’s John Manion for a bit of gustatory glory. Basically, if you like crispy foods, you’ll want to be here. The menu is divided into courses prepared by each restaurant, followed by a cookie extravaganza. First up, Manion will prepare fried smelt (pictured above) with malagueta tartar, made with a type of chile popular in Brazil FYI. He’ll also serve porky beans and rice, and habanero ginger slaw, which is sure to perk your taste buds up for the next round of crispy deliciousness.

As the name suggests, the Honey Butter Fried Chicken team will follow up with fried chicken and honey butter. Pimento mac and cheese will be served alongside, adding to the orgy of comfort food, plus cavolo nero with pickled red onion, yogurt, lime, and cilantro. At this point, you’ll be begging for mercy and jubilant to see greens.

The dessert menu looks like the results of a cookie jar explosion. Peanut butter cookies made with oats and honey are joined by chocolate and vanilla sandwich cookies, pecan maple bars, and alfajores, habit-forming Latin American cookies made with dulce de leche.

Dinner is $55 per person, plus tax and tip (and booze, because why not), and reservations can be made by calling La Sirena Clandestina at (312)226-5300. Be here or be sad.

Photo courtesy of La Sirena Clandestina Facebook.

News & Features

Localicious 2013

March 19 2013 - 9:00 AM

Chicago’s Good Food Festival took place March 14-16 at UIC Forum, featuring an assortment of seminars, trade shows and chef demonstrations, among other local food events. The purpose of the three-day festival is to bring together local farmers and producers with the public, and trade buyers to build relationships promoting the importance of local food systems. One of the highlights of the festival was Localicious, a food party on March 15 that featured 40 local restaurants and beverage providers.

The evening was pretty laid back, with each participating restaurant or beverage company showcasing a particular menu item or drink. From deviled eggs and beet salads to vegan cupcakes and local spirits, there was something for everyone. Attendees were able to walk from booth to booth, mingling with local chefs, winemakers and brewers and tasting a variety of small bites.

It was a wonderful evening to celebrate local ingredients and hear directly from the chefs themselves. As one of the highlights of the Good Food Festival, it’s a foodie event not to be missed next year! Check out the gallery below for some visual highlights of the night, and let us know your favorite local food and drink spot!

(Note: Chicago Foodies is a media sponsor for the Good Food Festival)

News & Features

Rockit's 4th Annual Mac Madness

March 18 2013 - 2:08 PM

Just in time for March Madness, is Rockit Bar and Grill’s 4th annual Mac Madness! The event itself is a week-long celebration of all things mac ‘n cheese. During the week of March 18th, Rockit’s River North location will feature one inventive variety of America’s favorite cheese and pasta duo.

Executive Chef Amanda Downing has come back this year with five completely new mac ‘n cheese offerings.  After arriving at Rockit equipped with a bottle of Lactaid pills, I had the chance to sample three of the five mac options: the Oxtail Gnocchi Mac, the Wagon Wheel Mac and the Lobster Mac.

First up, was my favorite of the night, the Oxtail Gnocchi Mac. This mac featured gnocchi, rather than macaroni, as the pasta base. Although Chef Amanda admitted the gnocchi was not made in-house, I have to admit, I would have been fooled. The gnocchi were tossed in a four-cheese base and topped with Guinness-braised oxtail and parmesan. I loved the tender texture of the oxtail that was similar to a braised short rib or brisket. This dish was by far the creamiest and cheesiest of the night, which was a huge reason why it became my favorite.

Oxtail Gnocchi Mac

Next, we tried the Wagon Wheel Mac. This variety included another not-so-typical noodle, the nostalgic wagon wheel. The cluster of wheels were tossed with bacon sausage from local company Big Fork, as well as aged cheddar and a crispy topping of tortilla chips. The tortilla chip topping was great for helping to cut through that cheesiness. I also loved the smoky and salty bacon flavor combined with the fun texture of the wagon wheel pasta. The cheese included with this mac was less creamy and had more of a gritty texture and flavor.

Wagon Wheel Mac

Last, but not least, was the decadent Lobster Mac. The Lobster Mac featured spiral-shaped pasta with large chunks of lobster claw meat, green peas, tomatoes and cheddar jack cheese. This mac was definitely the most colorful of the three we sampled due to the mix of greens and reds and the beautiful pink color of the lobster meat. This was probably my least favorite, only because I felt it lacked the flavor that the other two packed. However, I did appreciate the quantity of fresh lobster on top.

Lobster Mac

Check out the full Mac Madness lineup here and let us know which of the mac ‘n cheese offerings wins your mac bracket!

Photos courtesy of Rockit Ranch Productions

Libations

Pouring the Perfect Guinness for St. Patty's

March 15 2013 - 1:00 PM

Guinness Beer

So, why do I like writing about beer?  There are many reasons, but the bottom line is that the world of beer is nothing short of fun. In the beer world, there are some excellent people to meet, interesting and memorable places to go and, above all, superb beers to try.  I’m glad to have the opportunity to regularly embrace beer culture.

The other day, my little role in the beer world took a unique turn.  I was invited to participate in the How To Pour A Perfect Guinness event at Emmit’s Irish Pub, which proudly serves brews to Chicago’s River West neighborhood.

In a St. Patty’s seasonal event sponsored by Guinness and the Leary Firefighters Foundation, esteemed members of the Chicago food and beverage media (using “esteemed” liberally, as self-applied), were invited to face off against each other in a competitive pouring of the legendary Irish dry stout.  The media member to most perfectly pour a Guinness would have a check for $2,000 donated on their behalf to a local firehouse of choice, courtesy of the Foundation. Spectators were invited to bid on a freshly poured pint, with all proceeds donated in support of firefighters’ resources, training and education.

Let me interject about Guinness for a moment.  I’ll never forget my first one. It was served at Fifth and Vine Bar in Cincinnati as part of a black-and-tan.  I’ve reached the point where I won’t name the year. But I was 23. My palate for craft beer developed much later, but Guinness will always occupy a special place.

There are other great dry or nitro stouts out there – Murphy’s, St. Ambroise, Victory, to name a few – but Guinness has a unique flavor and place in the beer world.  There are many parts to Guinness’ appeal: the mesmerizing cascading of the bubbles, the patented line between the creamy head and dark fluid, the slight roasted nuttiness of the flavor. Guinness indeed appeals to multiple senses at once, and it is always a treat to find a bar in the States that pours it exquisitely.  When you’re in the mood for a Guinness, nothing else will do.

At Emmit’s that evening, four competitors, including yours truly, gathered together near a couple of Guinness taps affixed to a large picnic cooler to receive our instructions on the perfect pour.  Our instructor was Diarmuid Galvin of Diageo, Guinness’s distributor, who sported a sharp Irish accent and a technician’s understanding.  As he so knowingly and passionately advised, the keys to the perfect pour are glass handling, timing and attentiveness.

During stage one of the pour, to permit head development, one should hold the glass at a 45-degree angle while pulling the tap handle down at 90-degrees, parallel to the countertop.  If one is using the proper 20-oz. pint glass with the Guinness lettering under the trademark harp logo, the glass should be filled until the liquid reaches around the middle of the harp. Never let the glass touch the tap handle. Allow 90 seconds for the liquid to settle, then begin the top-off.  You’ll want to fill the remainder of the glass with the rich, foamy liquid until the head slightly exceeds the rim, trusting the surface tension to safeguard against spillage over the side. This is not a Miller ad, after all.  Importantly, there should be no bubbles in the top.  Tracing a shamrock in the head is purely optional.

As pouring hour approached, hearts pounded faster.  Tensions simmered.  Well, it was as tense as a charitable Guinness pour among amateurs gets.  Since there were four of us in total, we were each paired off against a competitor in the first round (Hey! I made the semifinals!).  The winners were to square off in the finals.  Yes, I didn’t escape the first round.  But it was comforting to have a true Irishman inform me that my effort was good and that my beer looked lovely.  The reasons for my early defeat were twofold.  Not only did I use multiple top-offs to complete the head, I also erred by having the head of my pour display several bubbles.

Who knew that pouring a beer was so exacting?   Yet, that care and craftsmanship make me all the more appreciate a well-poured Guinness.  In the future, I’ll return to gushing about beers such as Dogfish Head 90, Dreadnaught, Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Black Butte Porter, etc.  But, despite those beers’ greatness, none of those beers, and few others, have such a methodology to their display, or such a celebratory culture around their very existence.

I would like to say a special thanks to Megan Freiler of Taylor Global Inc. – who I sincerely hope got to try a slice of Chicago-style pizza – and the other great folks who helped to organize and manage the event.  But, I’m warning you all.  Next year, I’m taking the title as the start of a dynasty.

–M. Sheppard

Restaurants

A Heartwarming Tale of Heartland Bread

March 14 2013 - 11:00 AM

I’m a sucker for a good bread basket. I blame Olive Garden. The only fond memories I have of that place are their garlic-soaked breadsticks. My family would fight over these breadsticks, and then we would ask for extra so we could take them home and fight again later. Breadbaskets are one arena where I have zero self-control. Put a basket of bread in front of me, and regardless of the quality of bread, I’ll eat it.

Fortunately for my dignity, restaurants in Chicago have been rolling out thoughtful, artisanal breadbaskets, which makes me feel less disgusting when I gorge on them. The latest notable bread program is at West Town Tavern, the neighborhood restaurant everyone wishes they had (unless you live in West Town, damn you).

West Town Tavern recently debuted a housemade bread program (pictured above), after months of chef/owner Susan Goss and chef Alfonso experimenting with bread, trying to find a style and flavor that represented the heartland cooking representative of West Town Tavern. In a lovely turn of events, they ended up with Susan’s great-grandmother’s recipe for farmhouse bread, a soft and slightly sweet dough made with honey, milk, and butter. Goss grew up eating this bread, smeared with Hellmann’s mayonnaise or peanut butter, depending on the time of day.

“It is the bread my grandmother made and cut into thin slices for cucumber sandwiches for afternoon bridge parties,” recalls Goss. “It is the bread my mother tried to ruin in the 1970’s by making it ‘healthy’ with whole wheat flour, water, and no salt.”

Goss presented the recipe to Alfonso, who made the test batch, and now the lead prep cook Vicente makes the dough each day. The dough is shaped into rolls and sprinkled with celery, sesame and fennel seeds, all unique touches added by Alfonso. It’s topped off with rolled oats from Three Sisters Garden.

Says Goss, “I think this is a cool example of truly taking food from your heart and using it in a different, modern way!” Bread baskets are free and delivered to each table. Grandma would be proud. And you can bet the next time I’m at West Town Tavern, I’ll fight you for the last piece.

Restaurants

Paul Virant at the Good Food Festival

March 13 2013 - 7:05 AM

Welcome to our guest Maya Parson, a writer and the editor of Edible Michiana magazine (www.ediblemichiana.com).

My name is Maya and I have a new chef crush. His name is Paul Virant. He has one Michelin star, two acclaimed restaurants (Vie in Western Springs and Perennial Virant in Lincoln Park) and more jars of preserves in his kitchen than you can count. But what you really need to know is that he makes beer jam. And that you can see him in person at Chicago’s Good Food Festival & Conference. (Along with other top Chicago chefs, Virant will do a demo and participate in the festival’s first-ever Kimchi Challenge on Saturday, March 16. You can bet your fermented cabbage that I will be there.)

And, yes, I said beer jam.

I could probably end this piece now with just those words.

But then I couldn’t tell you that Virant uses his beer jam as a glaze for braised beef and to make a Manhattan—with his own brandied cherries.

Or that he cans his own condensed milk, makes maple-black walnut butter, and pickles Japanese turnips with lemon and coriander seeds. (Yes, he can pickle that.)

Virant’s motto: “eat what you can, can what you can’t. He learned this from his grandmother back in Missouri who put up tomatoes, pickles and other staples. This is a man whom my mother—a woman who still processes a garden full of tomatoes each summer and gave me a copy of Fine Preserving along with a penchant for homemade ketchup—would also love.

Of course it’s no longer vital to preserve your own food to feed your family, but canning, fermenting, and other old-time skills make it possible for contemporary locavores like Virant to take full advantage of the Midwest’s bounty. “If you want to use tomatoes from the Midwest year round,” Virant says, “it’s the logical way to go.”

Logical and also, of course, on trend. Today’s foodie enthusiasm for all things cured, pickled, and fermented is the love child of the local food movement and the DIY revival—both of which have roots in the back-to-the-land ethos of my mother’s generation and the homesteading know-how of our grandparents and great grandparents.

Virant, however, has been taking food preservation from the realm of domestic craft and popular trend to the world of fine dining since he launched Vie in 2004. In Virant’s hands, pickled ramps become Rainbow Trout with Creamed Ramps and Morels. Pickled celery becomes Pan Seared Chicken with Celery Sauce and Tomato Jam. Virant doesn’t just preserve his ingredients, he uses preservation techniques to manipulate flavors in ways that add layers of complexity to dishes such as his Preserved Gazpacho, which uses grilled and pickled peppers to transform the familiar soup into something exciting and unexpected.

In 2012, Virant and co-author Kate Leahy published his first cookbook, The Preservation Kitchen. I’ve been a canner for twenty years and have a shelf of books on the topic, but The Preservation Kitchen is the first that I’ve found both thrilling and, frankly, intimidating. The recipes aren’t for novices. (Homemade pectin anyone?) But if you’ve mastered the basics and you’re ready for more than just another strawberry jam recipe––Virant’s calls for dehydrated strawberries—The Preservation Kitchen is undoubtedly inspiring.

What I especially like about Virant’s book is that he provides recipes for actually using your preserved goods. (As I know from experience, you can only pawn off so many jars of pickled asparagus on your friends.) Virant shows you how to mix that pickled asparagus with crème fraiche as a sauce for fresh grilled asparagus or how to put those preserved lemons to work in a lovely wheat berry, pea and herb salad.

Virant’s blend of the preserved with the fresh is a recurring theme in his work. When we spoke, Virant told me he is putting a salad on the menu at Vie of pickled and freshly roasted beets served with a sheep cheese croquette. (I’m eyeing that jar of pickled beets in my pantry in an entirely new light thanks to our interview. Now to find some local sheep cheese…)

I want to eat everything Virant makes because it feels both familiar and inspired, wholesome and indulgent—like the food I grew up eating at my mother’s table but with a polish and sophistication only possible in a professional kitchen under the supervision of a master chef.

And, for the record, my mother never made beer jam. But she might just want that recipe.

— Maya Parson

 

News & Features

Win Good Food Festival Tickets!

March 12 2013 - 10:09 AM

As you’ve probably heard by now, the Good Food Festival is coming up this Thursday through Saturday at the UIC Forum. Chicago Foodies is a proud sponsor, and we can’t wait for all of the exciting local food vendors, chef demos, exhibitors and more.

It’ll be a great sampling of local food, incredible speakers – and a nice way to escape to St. Patty’s day chaos downtown. If this sounds like your kind of Saturday, you’re in luck! We’re giving away Saturday tickets to the Good Food Festival on the Chicago Foodies Facebook page. Just comment on our post with your favorite “local” Chicago food, and you’ll be entered to win a pair of tickets.

For more information on the upcoming Good Food Festival, check out our preview or visit the Good Food Festival website.

Restaurants

A Saucy Community in Edgewater

March 06 2013 - 10:46 PM

Co-op Sauce and Crumb Bread both originated as entities designed to give back to the community in their own ways, so it’s fitting that their new collaborative cafe in Edgewater, Sauce and Bread Kitchen, would be the culmination of their community-focused philosophies.

Co-op Sauce emerged in 2003, when Mike Bancroft began making sauce as a way to fund Co-op Image, a youth arts and entrepreneurship organization. What started as a side project caught fire and became a smoking hot business (the references to heat as success are too easy). All his small batch sauces are made from Midwestern ingredients, utilizing techniques such as fermentation and barrel-aging to create sauces that enhance dishes rather than ignite them. From the beginning, Co-op Sauce has donated half of its profits to Co-op Image, and will continue to do so with the sales of sauces at Sauce and Bread. Bancroft also plans on employing former Image participants at the cafe.

When Crumb rose from the ovens in 2009, Anne Kostroski set out to nourish Chicago with the wholesome, delicious bread it deserved. Sold exclusively at local fixtures Green Grocer Chicago, Dill Pickle Co-op, and farmers’ markets, her breads and pastries garnered a carb cult. All her products are made with organic flours, cheeses, and seasonal produce, sourced from the Midwest. Kostroski is looking to add more vendors to her repertoire, and Edgewater residents can rest easy knowing they have a steady supply of high-quality bread in their ‘hood.

The philosophy shared by these longtime kitchen partners, who worked together out of Ukrainian Village’s Darkroom bar, is to bolster a sense of community through their products. Sauce and Bread is an opportunity to unite as a business and establish their own roots. What endeared the duo to Edgewater was how they felt it was an old school Chicago neighborhood, with comfortable living and less segregation. Kostroski says the diversity inspires them both, and they are thrilled to open their doors to all the locals who have encouraged them since their arrival.

Located at Clark and Devon, the space houses all of their production, acts as a retail hub for their products, and offers a concise menu showcasing both of their wares. Open Thursday through Sunday, the menu includes breakfast sandwiches on housemade English muffins, pizza, nachos, and weekend brunch. All of Bancroft’s sauces are on hand, and his Bloody Mary mix is ready for patrons taking advantage of the BYOB status. Kostroski’s pastries include oatmeal cream sandwich cookies, toaster pastries (think gourmet Pop Tarts), cakes, and the richest, most buttery granola bars you’ll ever taste. The goal was to be comfortable and affordable, so as to become a fixture in Edgewater. Surrounded by family homes, Bancroft and Kostroski want it to be a place where locals can visit regularly. Beyond the menu, they host monthly supper clubs and will offer CSA pick ups. Eventually, they’d like to amass enough local products to serve as an affordable market.

Sauce and Bread is sounding more and more like the Mr. Rogers of Edgewater.

Sauce and Bread Kitchen, 6338-6340 N. Clark St. (773) 216-5580. Photo courtesy of Sauce and Bread Kitchen Facebook.