American Flatbread, which was founded in Vermont and has restaurants throughout that state, Virginia and one in Oregon, will set up shop with its first Chicago location in Lincoln Square in spring of 2011. The artisan bread baker has hand-built custom wood-fire and clay ovens to obtain a more natural, earthy taste for their flatbreads.
When the location opens in a new Giddings Plaza building right on Lincoln Square (in a space that apparently was to initially house a Goddess and Grocer/Feast) it'll seat 125, have a bar and eventually wants to build out a "nano brewery," which is even smaller than a micro-brewery, to brew fresh beer on site.
American Flatbread constructs its oven out of clay, hay, sand and alder branches and will have to "rest and cure for three months" before it can be used, according to an interview with Center Square Journal. The oven will weigh 40,000 pounds and burn wood from Wisconsin and Michigan. Owner Fred Gale, who grew up in Chicago, said they plan on meeting with local farmers to source all (or most) of the ingredients, which they hope to either be organic or sustainbly raised or grown.
The restaurant can get as close to the earth as it wants, but the real proof in sustainability will be the food. From salads with local produce and cheeses to flatbreads featuring ingredients like nitrate-free sausage and pepperoni, organic tomato sauce, house-seasoned sun-dried tomatoes and organically grown milled wheat crust, everything looks pretty pure.
Watch for American Flatbread to open for dinner in spring next year.
· American Flatbread Plans Include Nano Brewery [CSJ]
American Flatbread's clay oven [Photo: American Flatbread]