Restaurant, bar, concert space and...Italian butcher shop. Owner Nick Moretti introduced Chop Shop to Wicker Park just over a month ago to combine a few of Chicago's favorite things. The odd-sounding concept is already off to a good start, hosting special events like Bears watch parties, live streams of off-site concerts and Dose Market. Guests can enjoy craft beer and cocktails at the bar, to-go sandwiches from the deli counter or a full sit-down meal with Italian specials from Chef Joshua Marrelli. There is a lot going on inside this new addition to Six Corners, so check out the early word on Chop Shop.
The Good News: According to Chicago Magazine, Chop Shop works. "The multi-level complex was conceived to be the ideal place to grab a quick sandwich for lunch, a steak dinner or a drink at night, and housemade brats to take to your own grill," the staff writes. "You could also take in a concert. Or host your wedding." After wondering, "Is this a case of concept overkill?" Chicago Mag was impressed by the versatility of the space, declaring that "the multifunctional design didn't seem like a problem." [Chicago Mag]
The Bad News: Although the news on Chop Shop has been mostly positive so far, some Yelp users found the concept a little bit confusing. One reviewer sums up, "We walked in and there were a bunch of people standing around, apparently waiting for something, but there was no flow, everyone seemed a bit lost." With multiple dining areas and guests not knowing what can be ordered where, it sounds like greeters and signage would be appreciated. [Yelp]
The Burger News: Zagat's Sarah Freeman names Chop Shop's Butcher's Burger one of the top 10 new must-try burgers in Chicago. "This burger, made in-house at the new deli/butcher shop/restaurant, uses a blend of ground prime cuts selected by the resident butchers." [Zagat]
The Drinking News: Thrillist's Sean Cooley highlights a number of aspects of Chop Shop, including the cocktail list curated by Dan De Los Monteros, formerly of The Aviary and The Bedford. Cooley describes the Peach Please, "a Southern-inspired cocktail with bourbon, peach liqueur, Punt e Mes, aromatic bitters, and ginger beer" as well as The Sinister Minister, which apparently includes 110-proof Chartreuse sprayed on mint garnish, which is lit on fire when served. [Thrillist]
The Grandma News: There's always Grandma news. Daily Candy's Matt Kirovac writes, "Chef Joshua Marrelli embodies the spirit of an Italian grandma; sit in the restaurant and you'll reap the benefits of his nonna's gnocchi, plus chicken liver mousse and Italian sausage." [Daily Candy]
The Meaty News: RedEye's Michael Nagrant was impressed with his trip to Chop Shop, pointing out his enjoyment of the bone-in Berkshire pork chop and is ready to put the burger in Chicago's top 10. Nagrant concludes his review with advice to customers: "Don't miss the butcher's best." He admits that with the steak and burger options, "it's easy to overlook the signature butcher board," including "silky pork pate, a buttery hunk of duck rillettes, and a cup of chicken liver mousse" which is "smoother than a Justin Timberlake album." [RedEye]
Eater intern Janna Kaplan contributed to this story.