The liquor license application for Cruz Blanca dropped another hint for what Rick Bayless has planned for his West Loop brewpub: Another name. Along with Cruz Blanca, the new moniker Leña Brava appears on the city of Chicago application. From the Spanish, that loosely translates to "spunky firewood." There's no confirmation, but the name could have something to do with the restaurant component of the project at 900 W. Randolph St.
"Suffice it to say, the ball is rolling on staffing, construction and beer and menu creations," a Bayless rep said.
The reference to wood-burning fires makes sense, as Bayless detests gas and electric grills. He shared his disdain for them this summer during his cooking demonstration at Chicago Food + Wine Fest, saying he's not pleased without having a wood-burning grill in his kitchen. One of Bayless' signature dishes is the Carne Asada Brava, and perhaps that charred and beefy item will give some indication to what the kitchen will offer off restaurant row. There's no update yet on the opening—the last report slated it for spring 2016—so stay tuned.