Just last month rumors swirled that Andrew Brochu , after leaving his executive chef post at Graham Elliot in the fall, would land at a revamped version of the German sports bar, Uberstein. The news proved to be pretty spot on as Uberstein closed on New Years day and will reopen tonight as The Monarch.
Owner, Colin Burke, who formerly ran the German sports bar, and then bought the space from the previous owner, envisions a space where Wicker Park residents will come often. "We really want this to be a neighborhood spot," he said, "where people can come after a bad day of work or to grab a bite on a night out."
Brochu created a menu that will appease both average bar-goers and those looking for something a little more sophisticated. For starters there are multiple potted appetizers--foie gras; pimento cheese; or pork with cornichon red onion and mustard, along with bar snacks like soft pretzels with beer cheese and chicken wings tossed in various sauces including dill pickle.
As for the entrees, Brochu gets a little more creative with the Duck Confit, his version of a banh mi; a fried green tomato sandwich; and a plate of garlic sausage, pork belly, cabbage and candied mustard seed, amongst more standard options like mussels, king salmon, short rib and two burger options.
The space itself still has a sports bar feel with multiple large flat screen TVs at the bar, but the back of the narrow space has long wooden benches and multiple small tables, lending to more of an intimate restaurant feel. Elements of the monarch theme are subtly placed throughout with a candelabra at the bar, and an ode to monarchs (those at the top of their field) with a poster collage of famous actors, singers, etc. in the mens restroom and monarch butterflies in the ladies restroom.
The Monarch will be open in the evenings only, Monday to Thursday from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m. Sunday brunch will begin in a few weeks and will run from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., with dinner service beginning at 3 p.m.