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Cheesie's & Whiskey Business Almost Ready For Retro Fun in Wicker Park

They should be open between Christmas and New Year's days.

Cheesie's Pub & Grub and Whiskey Business
Cheesie's Pub & Grub and Whiskey Business
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After passing a round of inspections on Thursday, Cheesie's Pub & Grub owner Chris Johnston said he hopes the Wicker Park location of his popular Lakeview grilled cheese spot could open between Christmas and New Year's Day. Johnston's neighboring bar, Whiskey Business, would open a few days later at 1365-67 N. Milwaukee Ave. The project was first announced in 2013.

Whiskey Business is a riff on the 1980s Tom Cruise movie "Risky Business," and so the space features 1980s/1990s theme, trying to endear customers with music and anything else that guests age 25 to 35 grew up with, Johnston added. He wants to host movie trivia nights on Tuesdays. They'd play a movie in the bar and then quiz teams after the flick on plot points, characters' clothing and other tidbits.

"It's been fun allowing our creativity to do whatever we want to allow us to enjoy what we used to growing up," Johnston said.

Cheesie's Wicker Park will more or less be a carbon copy of the Belmont Avenue location, Johnston said, serving a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches and booze to customers late into the night. Whiskey Business is where the plot thickens, with a menu Johnston and Co. continue to tweak. They'll serve a variety of stuffed burgers. Possible items include turducken, lumpia and barbecue pork.

The concept for Whiskey Business started out as focusing on French fries, but they've tweaked the menu to serve more upscale food: "As we built out the space it looked nicer and nicer, and it didn't really have that full French fry bar feel," Johnston explained. They'll still serve poutine, including the traditional Montreal version. Other poutine that could appear include Buffalo chicken, Mediterranean and chorizo. Variety extends to more than toppings, as they'll offer traditional fresh-cut fries, sweet potato, waffle and curly.

The rooftop bar is a rarity in Wicker Park, and Johnston said his will be large—with capacity for 160. Cheesie's customers can use the roof which will house five, 120-inch TVs, but they'll have to walk through Whiskey Business. The rest of the space will also have plenty of screens for sports. They may even offer Saturday brunch/yoga packages in the summer, so folks could get a workout on the roof, then come down for mimosas.

Stay tuned next week for any news of an opening date.

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