Eating with your hands and washing it down with a “kickback” or two is encouraged at the new City Hall, the West Loop’s new gathering spot opening later this June at 838 W. Kinzie St.
From chili-garlic chicken wings to that classic combo of sausage and peppers, the food menu by Atomic Hospitality’s culinary director Michael Taus is backyard American. Combined with a “Kickbacks” shot menu, local beers and ocktails by beverage director Alec Pignotti—including large-format drinks wheeled out in water coolers—eating the “Chicago way” at the new City Hall.
Taus, a Charlie Trotter alum who owned the Zealous restaurant, covers familiar territory—bar snacks, salads and sandwiches.
“Some of my best food memories are of simple things. An Italian sub, nachos, my mom’s meatloaf. But to do justice to ‘simple’ starts with the best product and paying attention to all the little details, and that’s what we focus on at City Hall. It’s about caring every day but leaving room for fun,” Taus says.
Pigs In A Blanket are an old-meets-new-school homage to the ones Taus’ grandmother used to make: smokey links wrapped in housemade pastry and served with Merkts cheese dip, sriracha mayo and mustard sauce. Panko-breaded Jalapeno Poppers, another option within the Starters section, offer warm, pepper-flecked cheesiness.
Loaded Waffle Fries are a two-bite take on potato skins, barbecue-spiced and topped with two kinds of cheddar, maple-candied bacon crumbles and housemade giardiniera. Taus’ inspiration for the dish comes from the nachos served at his favorite Mexican-American restaurant growing up, where each chip was evenly smothered in toppings. At City Hall, each waffle fry is, too.
Sandwiches include a trio of Cheeseburger Sliders, a nod to Taus’ appreciation for sliders (his wife once catered his birthday party with everything in slider form); golden-brown Grilled Cheese with poblano jam, applewood-smoked bacon, Havarti and cheddar; and Sausage & Peppers, using Italian sausage from Randolph Packing Co., a 91-year-old family business born in the Fulton Market district. The bread for City Hall’s sandwiches comes from another local purveyor, Highland Baking Co. of Highland Park.
Vegetarian options include the plant-based Impossible Burger with sautéed mushrooms and truffle Vegenaise and Roasted and Toasted Salad, a light but hearty grain-based medley of farro, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, beets and spiced cashews.
Bacon makes a sweet ending in gooey Bacon Nutella Rice Krispies, which are stacked in big squares for sharing. Those, along with Heath Bar-topped Triple Chocolate Brownies and Banana Pudding layered in mason jars, offer a finish to a night out at City Hall.
City Hall will serve its full menu seven days a week, from 4:30 p.m. to close.