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Long Room's Expansion Gives Chefs A Unique Opportunity

The new concept, Sidecar, opens on Thursday and is a "food truck on blocks."

Sidecar staff works in their new kitchen.
Sidecar staff works in their new kitchen.
Don Markus
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.

Seeing food trucks serve bar patrons in Austin, Texas inspired Long Room owner Jason Burrell. He and partner Clark Fowler for years have thought about offering food to customers at their craft beer-centric bar, and next week they'll open Sidecar, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night snacks to customers. Burrell describes the concept as having a food truck inside the restaurant, and they've brought in three chefs who'll cook a rotating selection of food.

The office space Burrell once used has been converted into a small kitchen with a pickup window for Long Room patrons to place orders. Staff will text customers when their orders are ready for pick up.

"For new people trying to get their names out there, this seems like a really, really easy way, low-risk way to do that," said Jim Torres.

Torres and Kyle Schrage (known as Beard and Belly) will handle dinner and late-night food. The two met while working at Fountainhead, and there's burgers and other favorites that will satisfy beer drinker's hungers. The duo's most pumped about their poutine sandwich.

"Instead of doing like your classic poutine, which is like fries, curds and a light, brown gravy on top, we're doing fries, we're doing curds with a little more sauce to it and a braised short-rib gravy," said Schrage.

Zeeshan Shah (Old Town Social) will handle breakfast and lunch, and there's almost a tag-team aspect with a changing of shifts between Shah, Torres and Schrage. Shah will bake ham and egg biscuits with they'll pour coffee served at the bar as early as 7 a.m. Shah's also going to dip into this roots for inspiration, as his dad's from India. He talks about rice bowls with spinach and daal.

The three are savoring the opportunity, and hope Sidecar not only serves Long Room customers, but also gains its own following. Though Burrell owns the two businesses, they are separate entities. That provided some confusion through the City Hall licensing process. City officials struggled understanding the concept.

Sidecar's scheduled to open at 7 a.m. on Thursday.

The Long Room

120 West 44th Street, Manhattan, NY 10036 (212) 997-3933 Visit Website