Lincoln Park and Lakeview residents bored with the plethora of fast-casual dining options in the Clark and Diversey area will be pleased to know a former chef at Charlie Trotter's is coming into the neighborhood. Chef Gregory Ellis, along with longtime friend Steven Fladung (who worked front of the house at Trotter's), will open 2Sparrows later this summer.
The 63 seat, 2,000 square foot restaurant will focus on breakfast, lunch and brunch, but with a nod toward more upscale, refined platings without breaking the bank. Ellis plans to work with many local farms in a "pasture-to-plate" approach with many ingredients being made from scratch in house for what the duo is calling "gastrobrunch."
As for the menu, everything will be between $7 and $12 and will be inspired by traditional breakfast and lunch items, but of course with enhancements. "I like all the traditional types of breakfast foods, but want to bring a new twist to them and plate them nicely," Ellis said. "I have that background from working at Trotter's for three years. I have the artistic mindset, but you won't have a tiny plate. You'll have a nice portion, quality ingredients and craftsmanship. We're going to cure and smoke our own bacon, make our own sausages, try to get a charcuterie program going."
The breakfast menu will feature things like corned beef hash with bangers and a poached egg; the Belly Sandwich with pork belly, sunny side egg and pickled onion on sourdough; a benedict with poached eggs, housemade tasso ham; shrimp and grits; and housemade doughnuts and pop tarts. Ellis said he'll always have two rotating pop tarts and the first menu will feature a foie gras mousse pop tart with cherry compote. He's also played around with a bacon and cheese pop tart.
"When I first started thinking about it, I said I needed something to have a hook and the first thing that popped into my head was pop tarts," Ellis said. "I liked them as a kid and there's a whole trend with doughnuts now and homemade pastries, but I haven't seen anyone try to make a pop tart so I started playing around with it."
Lunch will focus mostly on sandwiches and salads, but again a little more inventive. A grilled cheese will come on sourdough with a trio of cheeses with the option to add an egg. A burger will be topped with sunny side egg, housemade pickles and aged cheddar. A Cuban will have both pulled pork and pork belly. They'll also have a cous cous salad, a grilled salmon salad and handmade pasta.
2Sparrows will likely start as BYO, but once they get their liquor license, Fladung will introduce a seasonally driven beverage program that not only incorporates local produce, but also locally sourced beer and spirits that will have a variety of fresh-squeezed juices. "We grow so much great produce here and we make so much great beer and distillates here that we want to focus on that product," Fladung said. "Why buy from California when we can buy from someone right up the road from us?"
Currently, dinner is not in the plan, but they may utilize the space for evening events and private parties. Look for 2Sparrows to open in late July and once it does, it'll be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (and from 8 a.m. on weekends) and will not take reservations.
[Photo: Gregory Ellis and Steven Fladung]