Remember that story about Travail guys opening something up in North Loop with a ridiculous name like Bear Cheese? Well here’s the scoop …
Borough will open to the public on January 2nd at 730 Washington Ave., just across the loading dock from Be’wiched and Bar La Grassa. It is a slick two level space on the ground floor of the ElseWarehouse that embraces the rough concrete elements of the historic warehouse architecture but is at the same time airy, due to the giant wall of street side windows. There’s a nice urban feel with subway tile, reclaimed wood, and touches like cheese-grater lighting. There should be about 120 seats in the upper level restaurant, which will be cooking contemporary American food using local ingredients that will change “on a whim”. The chefs are Nick O’Leary, who has been a sous chef to Sameh Wadi, and Tyler Shipton, who has been at Steven Brown’s Porter & Frye as well as Bar La Grassa. The two met up at Travail (apparently earning the nicknames Bear and Cheese) and will be manning the stoves in tandem. They mentioned that the menu will be a collaboration, not just between them, but among all the cooks on the line. A quick peek at an early menu looked fun: Scotch eggs (wrapped in sausage AND bacon, promising a runny yolk through a sous vide technique), a sweet breads roulade made with caul fat and chicken skin (can we please make chicken skin happen here!), potato soup made with Champagne, potato chips, and black truffles among other things. There will be a larger variety of “front of the menu” items, some supporting mids, and a few entrees. The menu will be written on a mirror (the new chalkboard) in the entry way and change when it needs to. Sounds about right for 2013.
The lower level of the joint will be known as Parlour and will be a cocktail den manned by Jesse Held, a NSBG founder and lastly of Eat Street Social. Fresh squeezed juice and rare artisinal spirits served in fancy glasses will be part of the game, but this place intends to have more of a classic vibe, a Mad-Men tone of tufted high-back chairs. There will even be two carts, bringing your mixologist to you, table side. But the main difference between this and the other crafty cocktail basement bars, is that it doesn’t feel like a basement. The big windows from above extend down to the sub level, bring a ton of light and a city view of the neighborhood walking by. You can in fact enter the bar down some street side steps, through a big glass door. You will find things like house spiced rum, tea-infused honey, and quite a few familiar faces behind the bar.
A rooftop deck/room that is part of the building will be available as a private space, but it won’t be a part of daily service. For now it’s a dinner-only situation, but there are talks about doing brunch service in the future.
There is a preview event on December 27 in conjunction with B Cellers, ticket sales are open to the public. The team is also taking a limited number of reservations for a special New Year’s Eve prix fixe dinner, if you are one who wants to be on the cutting edge of something that hasn’t even quite yet happened! Go, North Loop, go!