One Off Hospitality Group has opened Publican Anker at 1576 N. Milwaukee Ave in Wicker Park, joining sister restaurants, Big Star and Dove’s Luncheonette, and cocktail lounge, The Violet Hour, in the neighborhood. Chef de Cuisine AJ Walker, formerly of Publican Quality Meats, is helming the kitchen alongside Executive Chef and Partner Paul Kahan and Publican Executive Chef Cosmo Goss, with a menu focusing on raw and wood-roasted seafood, seasonal vegetables, and coal-fired bar fare.
Walker worked closely with Kahan and Goss to develop a menu that underscores the Publican family’s ethos of hyper-seasonality and sustainably sourced, farmhouse fare. Booths, high-top tables, and large communal seating will offer guests the opportunity to enjoy a variety of dining options, from oysters and wine by the glass, a clean and simple meal or a night on the town with friends.
“The Publican identity has evolved past being just about ‘oysters, pork, and beer,’ and the menu at Publican Anker, with a focus on seafood and vegetables, is a reflection of the way we all want to cook and eat right now,” says Kahan. “With the additions of a wood-burning grill and coal-fire oven, it quickly became obvious to us that we could use these new tools to let our thoughtfully sourced proteins and produce shine through in simple, elevated ways.”
Publican Anker emphasizes lighter vegetable-and seafood-centric offerings alongside an array of shareable dishes from the menu’s five main sections:
- Snacks, including Grilled Oysters with yuzu koshu butter, Kippered Mackerel with tzatziki, seed bread and radish and The Publican’s signature Pork Rinds with white cheddar and malt vinegar
- From the soil, featuring vegetable-forward small plates such as Escarole Heart Salad with bread heals, pear, turnip and chicken drippings and Grilled Delicata Squash with endive, pistachio and pantaleo cheese
- From farm & sea, composed of shareable dishes like Half Roasted Chicken with hash browns, curly endive and anchovy, and Green Chile Fish Stew with ling cod, maitake mushroom, fregola sarda and spigarillo
- In its own section (aptly named Burger) is the not-to-be-missed Pub Burger, made with beef from Slagel Family Farms and topped with caramelized onions, american cheese and special sauce. Guests also have the option to customize their burgers with add-ons like bacon, avocado and mushrooms.
To accompany the seasonal menu, Publican Anker will offer a bar program with beer from The Publican family Beer Director Adam Vavrick and wine from Bret Heiar, who also oversees Nico Osteria’s wine program. The spirit program will be led by Violet Hour partner Eden Laurin and Justin Campbell who will walk over from The Big Star.
Vavrick’s beer menu plays into The Publican tradition of showcasing German and Belgian beers, while also featuring intriguing collaborations with Chicago’s Forbidden Root brewery where Vavrick is creating a series of new brews including an Oyster Stout (brewed with whole oysters) aptly named Ocean Man. Complementing Vavrick’s diverse global beer program is Heiar’s wine list, which includes bottles from around the world with an emphasis on French wines.The spirits behind the bar will be a small, well chosen list of local favorites including Letherbee and CH Distillery as well as difficult bottles to find such as Pappy Van Winkle, Willet, and George T. Stagg Antique Collection.
The restaurant is open from 3:30pm-12:00am, seven days a week. Brunch and lunch service announcements to follow in early 2017.