Executive chef/owner Matt Bumba (Solstice, Vie, The Aviary) opens Milk Money Brewing (75 S La Grange Road) in Chicago’s suburb La Grange and is La Grange’s inaugural brewery.
Born from two brothers’ long-standing, complex love for food and beer, Milk Money Brewing is a seasonally-driven and locally-sourced brewery. A family endeavor, chef Bumba and his brother, beverage director/general manager Lucas Bumba (Solstice), have curated a range of experiences. Milk Money Brewing’s menus showcase recognizable flavors. The team is committed to local sourcing and seasonal eating as a core principle in service to its community and environment.
During the unprecedented challenges the pandemic posed, the Milk Money team pivoted through a series of initiatives. The Bumba brothers prioritized offerings that catered to families through affordable, convenient, and nutritious packages such as their pantry and meal kit boxes. Those boxes were available to order on Tock for the past few months, and will remain beyond its grand opening, now accompanied by additional programming.
Below is an overview of the brewery’s current initiatives:
● Limited Indoor Dining - Restricted seating that borders an open garage-style door
● To-Go Food, Beer and Cocktail Menus - Available via Tock
● Large Format Drinks - Beer available in cans and crowlers, cocktails available in 10oz pouch or 32oz crowler
● Sunday Dinners - Large format family meals available for weekly pick-up
● Butcher Shop - Available to shop online via Tock, featuring a variety of raw meats and made-in-house sausages
● CSA with Werp Farms - Pantry Boxes will be also be available as an add-on
Drawing from chef Bumba’s experience in preservation under chef Paul Virant, and with the assistance of chef-consultant Shea Campbell (Michelin-starred Fäviken Magasinet in Sweden), the team has developed a menu around local produce and a fermentation program. They have incorporated vinegars, pickles, misos, umami-rich condiments and jams from the fermentation room, along with bread and charcuterie offerings. The chef's counter, serving as its own tasting menu, is situated in the center of the space with brewing equipment in sight from every vantage point.
Newly announced sous chef, Ross Henke (Mundano, Quiote, Publican Quality Meats), brings his background to Milk Money’s team. Thus far in his career, Henke’s style has earned him Michelin Bib Gourmand awards in both 2017 and 2018, as well as a nomination for the Jean Banchet Award for Best Chef de Cuisine in 2017. As he moves into his role at the brewery, Henke strives to craft food that further reflects the essence of the space.
Evergreen menu items include takes on classics such as their Duck Sausage and large format chicken plate renditions. The menus below are currently available to order to-go or in their limited indoor dining seating. Soon it will also feature a kids menu, with dishes catered to children. Seasonal, opening menu items for this winter include:
○ Ribollita Soup - Beer Sausage, Kale, Tomatoes, Cannellini Beans, Parmesan, Sourdough ($7)
○ Werp Farm Salad - Mixed Greens, Radish, Fennel, Pickled Onion, Hearth Vinaigrette ($8)
○ Matt’s Onion Dip - Caramelized Onions, Black Onions, Pickled Onions, Crispy Shallots & Chives with Crispy Chips ($10)
● For One *Sandwiches & Burgers Come with Fries
○ Chicken Sandwich - Grilled Chicken Thigh, Pepperjack, Shrettuce, Giardiniera Mayo, Brioche ($15)
○ Duck Sausage - Tart Cherry, Napa Slaw, Chili Aioli, New England Roll ($16)
○ Buffalo Chicken Sandwich - Slagel Farms Ham, Mojo Pork, Swiss, Pickles, Mustard, Pressed Telera Roll ($16)
○ MMB Burger - 28 Day Dry Aged Beef, American, Caramelized Onion, B&B Pickles, Shrettuce, Burger Sauce, Brioche ($18)
○ Fried Chicken Dinner - 4 or 8 Piece Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Pit Cooked Beans, Werp Farm Salad, Hot Honey, B&B Pickles ($35/$50)
○ Hearth Roasted Chicken - ½ or Whole Chicken Caramelized Honey Glazed Chicken, Fried Brussels, Parsnip Puree, Alabama White Sauce ($30/$42)
The beverage program features a rotating selection of seasonally crafted beers developed by head brewer Erik Pizer (Rock Bottom Brewery, 350 Brewing Company) , as well as a draft cocktail program designed by Bumba.
Pizer, a self-taught brewer, approaches the craft through his takes on traditional styles. This duality can be seen in his love for current, hoppy styles as well as maltier, traditional British styles. As Pizer rotates around 12-16 beers on a constant basis, he will look to the food program to collaborate with the kitchen’s seasonal flavors. Throughout his experimentation, Pizer will structure the menu to always provide renditions of a wheat beer, a lighter offering, a malt-forward beer, a darker beer (such as a stout or porter) and hop-forward beers (such as a Pale Ale, IPA, and or hazy IPA).
Pizer’s winter beer roster includes:
● Beginning is the End - American IPA - Pine, Citrus, Firm Bitterness
● Vibrant - Hazy IPA - Juicy, Tropical & Citrus
● Between Raindrops - Hazy Double IPA - Tropical, Pineapple, Stone Fruit
● LaGrange LaGer - Light Lager - Crisp, Clean, Refreshing
● Milk Money - Milk Stout - Rich, Full Bodied, Chocolatey, Roasty
In managing the beverage program, Lucas Bumba has honed in on classic cocktails, allowing infused local and seasonal flavors to take center stage. Upon opening, the winter cocktails include:
● Ghosts of Barndance Past - Spiced Rum, Apples, Honey Simple, Citric Acid, Chinese Five Spice, Caraway Rye
● Pond Hopper - Hamilton Demerara Rum, Hamilton Pimento Dram, Orange Peel, Earl Grey, Malic Acid, Citric Acid and Simple Syrup *Served on draft
● Mildly Inappropriate - A Butter-Washed Old Fashioned with Very Old Barton Bourbon, Smoked Maple Syrup, Cardamom bitters
Carla Bumba, designer and mother to Matt and Lucas, curated Milk Money Brewing’s interior to tell the story of their family’s memories. The facade features clear glass garage doors that open in the warmer months for al fresco dining and patio seating. Original exposed brick walls intact preserve the building’s 1950’s visuals, while fashioned with mid-century modern furnishings. With 67 seats in the dining room, 14 at the bar, eight at the chef’s counter, and 36 available in the private dining room, there is opportunity for a variety of dining iterations.
Milk Money Brewing’s operating hours are from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. until 7p.m. on Sundays.