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Damen & Division Gets New Tenant Courtesy of 25 Degrees

Barley & Brass will have chef-driven menu, draft cocktails and craft beer slated for Nov. 24 opening at former Fame space

Former Fame space and Mac and Joe Boumaroun
Former Fame space and Mac and Joe Boumaroun
Marc Much
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

The management behind burger and boozy milkshake spot 25 Degrees plans a late November opening for its new concept, Barley & Brass, joining the growing and changing nightlife scene near Damen and Division.

Brothers Joe and Mac Boumaroun searched for five years for a space in the sizzling Wicker Park area, finally finding the space vacated in July by Fame. They jumped at the chance and are shooting for a Nov. 24 opening date, and they'll also be serving weekend brunch.

"We've always kind of had an eye on the area," Joe Boumaroun said. "I like the feel, I like the people and it's a little different than River North. As soon as it opened up, we jumped on it. Nothing on the block stays available for long."

The menu will include 17 to 20 items and is a radical departure from 25 Degrees, the burger-centric establishment in River North. Jay Ruff, former executive chef at Cityfront Cafe at the NBC Tower, will handle the food. Dishes will incorporate some Asian and Hawaiian flavors, as well as shared plates like smoked, cured and grilled salmon served with pumpernickel and dill horseradish and a variety of tacos with West Coast and Asian tastes. The signature Barley & Brass dish is short ribs served on a brass platter with melted barley risotto, parsnips and carrots with a porter reduction.

Kegged cocktails, draft beer and wine are on the the drink menu curated by Jan Henrichsen, the former beverage director at Fat Rice and Found in Evanston. A beer will cost $7 to $10 in keeping with other neighborhood bars, Boumaroun said. Prices for the five on-draft cocktails haven't been determined, but will be "very reasonable," he added.

Before Fame, Paradise Cantina occupied the spot at 2015 W. Division St. Bourmaroun and his brother have spent the last five years developing the concept while searching for a space in the area.

"It's kind of fun putting our concept into reality," Bourmaroun said. "I like the whole feel of seeing everything come into life and creating something from the ground up."

EDIT NOTE: The original version of this story reported Jay Ruff as the former chef of Cityfront Cafe but reps say he still works there.