With an anticipated opening in mid-January, Logan Square's Cellar Door Provisions aspires to make an impact beyond the food they'll serve.
"We hope to question some of the standard assumptions of the restaurant industry," partner Tony Bezsylko says. "Assumptions to do with capital, working conditions, waste, and perhaps even the very purpose of restaurants in our culture, especially to do with poverty, economic inequality, and class."
Cellar Door Provisions, in the former Guatelinda Bakery space, will start out low-key, partly due to financial concerns ("Our startup budget is minuscule compared to many projects," Bezsylko says), but also to maintain a certain "quality of life."
To that end the restaurant will be open four days a week for breakfast (starting at 8 a.m.) and lunch service (working until 4 or 5 p.m.) to start. They also plan on holding a limited number of single-seating, reservation-only dinners per month. "None of us could see ourselves working 16-hour days or managing the staff we'd need to start with (for more days)."
The food is being described as "ingredient driven" and the crew is very passionate about vegetables. "(We) want to see how far we can push in that direction, in terms of finding the best in the region, getting folks to grow better ones, and opening up the Chicago palate to more. One thing we come back to is food worth gathering around. Food can really be at the service of this spiritual need that we all have."
Bezsylko, along with Ethan Pikas (Alinea, Binkley's in Arizona) and Justin Behlke (local underground pop-up Thurk) are all partners in the business and will all be involved in all menu and food creation.
But as far as what to actually expect, Cellar Door Provisions will serve traditional café fare (pastries, quiches, salads, tartines) but in updated versions. "Super delicately prepared radishes, turnips, cabbage with cream and juniper, really clean broths that taste like what went in them — and then all of a sudden we'll be serving miso and ramen when we're feeling it!"
The team hopes to provide an "open and free-spirited place" that is based on "radical inclusivity" with regards to their customer base. With only twenty seats in the entire restaurant, there won't be much way around not feeling included as space will be tight.
· Cellar Door Provisions [Official Site]
Guatelinda Bakery [Photo: Eating the World]