It's been an interesting couple of weeks for Dion Antic, who earlier this week told Eater that he was no longer involved with Porkchop, the West Loop eatery he opened earlier this year. Now, however, he is staying on as a consultant to Jovanis Bourgoub, who actually owns the space where he previously had La Mediterranee.
Antic originally had somewhat of a "build to own" agreement with Bourgoub for the space, despite owning the name and concept for Porkchop, which he is now licensing to Bourgoub. But before they came to this new agreement, there was definitely some hefty friction with Antic claiming on his Facebook wall (which has since been removed) that shady business practices were taking place under Bourgoub, including not paying employees anything other than their tips. That, however, all seems to now have been resolved as the pair have worked out some sort of agreement.
Since Antic owns the Porkchop name and concept, he said he's scouting a couple of suburban locations to possibly open the restaurant. And he's also working on opening Cluck, a 24-hour fried chicken joint in the Wicker Park/Bucktown area. He said the small space he's looking at will have a big outdoor area, will have a basic menu featuring fried chicken, fried pork chops, some side dishes, waffles and won't serve alcohol, but will then somehow be "the Big Star of fried chicken," he said. Regarding pricing, Antic said it'll be very reasonable, "chicken under $10 for like four pieces."
Apparently those projects, along with his Bagel on Damen shops and Melt Sandwich Shoppe, aren't enough since Antic is also working on opening a bar called Grit. The country/western joint will possibly open in a space on Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park and will have cheap beer and whiskey shots. "Country is the biggest music format in America and NASCAR is the No. 1 sport," he said. "Why is there no place for it?"
Watch for both Cluck and Grit to open sometime in the spring. And don't be surprised to see another Melt open, possibly in the University Village area.
Antic at Bagel on Damen [Photo: Crain's]