An international-themed sports bar and restaurant is coming to Lincoln Square in a location that has a disruptive history with neighbors. But, new owners are trying to change that perception.
Partners Jesse Boyle and Pat Doerr hosted a meeting Monday night at Luther Memorial Church. The two are joined in the venture by Boyle’s family and another partner, Jim Cornelison, who sings the National Anthem for the Chicago Blackhawks.
About 40 residents attended the forum, most of whom were worried another rowdy business would come to 2434 W. Montrose Ave.
“To say that we are concerned about the crowd is an understatement,” said Susan Pope, who lives in the nearby town homes on Montrose Avenue. “It was so bad that it was a joke in our development … It was a disaster.”
The space used to be a restaurant and bar called Paddy O’Splaines. Jim Poole, the community specialist for Ward 47 Ald. Ameya Pawar, said the location had constant problems with neighbors, eventually closing in 2011. In the summer of that year, a Sweet Pea’s sign appeared, but nothing came of it, he said.
Pope said as Paddy O’Splaines started to fail, the bar brought in promoters and put spotlights on the roof. Buses of people would start fights in the area, she said.
Since 2005, there have been 13 crimes reported in the 2400 block of West Montrose Avenue, according to the City of Chicago Crime Data Portal. Those reports include liquor law violations, battery and theft.
Doerr said after buying the building, he discovered that all its metal, high-grade electrical wiring and copper had been stolen, causing about $20,000 in damage.
Boyle and Doerr reassured residents they wanted the business to be an asset to the community and “offer a product that’s unrivaled in the area.” There will be no dancing, DJs or club promoters, they stressed.
“Whenever you’ve had a history of a building that was something that hasn’t gone well, you’d be concerned no matter who the future owner is,” Doerr said. “We’ve got to nail the food right out of the gate—food and service.”
The restaurant will have an international theme, with worldly fare and craft beer. Fans of soccer and rugby can come to see overseas broadcasts, Boyle said.
With permits coming in the near future, an opening date is set for some time in May or June. About 40 to 50 jobs will be created, Boyle said.
The restaurant applied for an incidental liquor license, which means the business will be more restaurant than bar. The kitchen must stay open during business hours, with a 3 a.m. cap on the weekends, according to Poole.
Boyle said the concept of the restaurant is still evolving; the owners are interviewing for the head chef position and it doesn’t have a name yet.
“We know it’s not going to be Sweet Pea’s,” Boyle joked at the meeting.
But he was sure about one thing—upscale food instead of traditional bar fare. Boyle said he was looking into organic and locally-sourced products with gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options. Brunch and family-friendly items will also be on the menu.
Physically, the building will get a facelift. Boyle plans to have windows on the Artesian Avenue side with a sidewalk café in the summer. Three fireplaces, restaurant seating and a circular bar will detail the inside.
“I think this is really kind of unique in a lot of ways … I’m not taking a concept from Wrigleyville and importing it here,” Boyle said. “This is going to be something that fits this neighborhood.
After the meeting, the owners felt good about support from residents. And Pope agreed.
“I think that we’re all about having a good restaurant on that corner and we’re excited to see what’s going to happen,” she said.
Boyle and his partners bought foreclosed building in May and started the design process. He worked with Stantec Architects, who also designed restaurants for Lettuce Entertain You restaurant corporation.
Boyle is the CEO of Premium Themes, Inc., a company that owns three restaurants in Chicago. After first opening Red Ivy in Wrigleyville, Boyle went on to J Patrick’s in Noble Square and Quay near Navy Pier.