A joint venture between general manager and conceptor James Bateman, and chefs Rolf Pedersen (Pacific Standard Time, Boka, Sixteen, Girl & the Goat) and Meg Pedersen (Yusho, Hopleaf), Gadabout (5212 N. Clark Street) is now open. Located in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, Gadabout, meaning a habitual, pleasure-seeking world traveler, is a restaurant rooted in the notion that street food is the culinary embodiment of a city’s culture.
Executive chef Rolf Pedersen and sous/pastry chef Meg Pedersen draw inspiration from around the work to create Gadabout’s non-traditional street food menu. The husband and wife team are creating a dining experience that strikes a balance between innovation and nostalgia. Gadabout’s cuisine aims to evoke a feeling of reminiscence through the use of bold flavors, ingredients and local produce. Gadabout serves dinner and drinks seven days a week.
Every dish has an emphasis on vegetables and local produce with a twist on it. Examples include the Buffalo Skate Wings (giardiniera, Point Reyes blue, brown butter walnuts, pears, and house-made buffalo sauce), which is a spin on traditional wings, and the Pan Roasted Monkfish (panzanella, sport pepper romesco, grain mustard vinaigrette, celery salt), which takes the stylings of a “Chicago-style” hotdog. Other food items include:
Chickpea Fritters (sungold tomato, za’atar whipped feta, coriander, chimichurri, sunflower shoots)
- Smoked Eggplant (feta, berbere, golden raisin, piparra pepper, grilled flatbread)
- Pork Belly (kimchi stew, silken tofu, littleneck clams, bok choy)
- Adobo Chicken (red adobo marinade, roasted garlic mofongo, salsa verde, pickled red onion, herbs)
Ahi Tuna Tostada (pickled jicama, refried red beans, gochujang, sesame stick, nori)
Desserts play on the incorporation of both sweet and savory - often drawing from savory dishes, such as with the Elote Tart (corn custard, almond masa crust, brown sugar crema, dehydrated sweet corn, chili and black lime meringue, micro cilantro). Pedersen turned to her former years in Florida for inspiration while concocting Gadabout’s sweet treats, like playing off of her memories from the “streets” of Walt Disney World for the Churros With Pineapple (cinnamon sugar churros, pineapple sorbet, tajin spice, grilled pineapple, macadamia shortbread crumble, chipotle honey) to the Key West-inspired Chocolate Covered Key Lime Pops (key lime custard, dark chocolate, sea salt, graham anglaise).
Gadabout’s beverage menu, curated by Brian Hartman and Josh Martinez, highlights small-batch spirits in cocktails, while also offering a spirit-free list and selections of vintage sodas. Selections also incorporate mixtures of beer and wine into cocktails. The sodas, never from a soda gun, are all non-traditional with flavors, like Peru’s Inca-Cola, South Carolina’s Cheerwine and Chicago’s Green River.
The Nomad (not a king rye, lemon juice, demerara syrup, ruebas beer)
- The Garfield (high west double rye, sfumato amaro, orange bitters)
- Peach Ring Whiz (satsuma otome schochu, dole peach cocktail, leninade, gumballhead)
Gerudo Valley (black pepper infused kirk & sweeney 12 year run, vya sweet vermouth, lingonberry simple syrup, tobacco bitters)
Gadabout’s mission is to build a list of sustainable practices in the restaurant and throughout the community. Gadabout’s commitment to sustainability is exemplified through the restaurant’s interior design that is almost entirely sourced from a neighboring consignment shop, The Brown Elephant. In addition, guests are able to purchase their own metal straw for $4, which guarantees them $1 off whenever they come back to Gadabout with the straw. However, if they’re not interested in purchasing the straw, plant-based straws are used in place of plastic.
The space, akin to its menu, follows the juxtaposition of adventure and comfort. The exposed pipework and brick provides a sleek, industrial structure that balances with the comforting accents of yellows and residential-style lounge seating, along with the graffiti painted doors to separate the private dining space from the public. The space features 124 seats, which includes 23 in a private dining room and 19 in a semi-private dining room. Drawing from the neighborhood’s Swedish heritage, the space has preserved a Swedish wall decor from the mid-twentieth century.