Has Wicker Park reached peak sports bar? A new Cajun restaurant opened over the weekend in the neighborhood to add some diversity. The owner of Division Ale House swapped concepts, ditching craft beer for Fifolet, bringing a taste of New Orleans to the neighborhood. Fifolet quietly opened on Sunday.
Owner Baris Yuksel, who made the decision to close Division Ale House back in September, said Fifolet represents an evolution.
"Back when we opened Division Ale House, there were only a handful of neighborhood bars with a sports focus," Yuksel said. "But right now I think the neighborhood and the entire street has become one big sports bar and we wanted to take a step away from that."
Fifolet aims to be a family-friendly spot for early dinners, but also flexible enough for the late-night party crowd. Yuksel also wanted to attract customers with more daring appetites compared to a typical bro bar. There’s a venison and grits item that Yuksel said stayed closer to the style diners would eat in The Big Easy. There’s also a variety of po’boys, including one made with alligator sausage. Gator shows up again in étouffée.
While drinks obviously won’t be available to go like they are on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Fifiolet will serve frozen hurricanes made with passion fruit. There are also a variety of rums and absinthes from around the world. Some of those absinthes will have wormwood.
Fifolet’s executive chef is Kevin Crouse, who worked at Nouveau Tavern before the controversial closing of the River North restaurant. Crouse’s background with Cajun and Creole cuisine paired with the scarcity of nearby Cajun spots convinced Yuksel to close Division Ale House and open Fifolet. He’s joined by chef du cuisine Corey Gillom, the ex-executive chef at Rodan before the Wicker Park mainstay closed last year.
Meanwhile, there’s still work to be done on the business end. For example, the Division Ale House Facebook page has yet to officially change over to Fifolet. What’s a fifolet? The name comes from Cajun folklore, a supernatural blue light that would mark the spot for treasure hunters to find that pirate’s booty.
The official opening is tonight, so fly the Jolly Roger. DNAinfo first reported the opening.
Fifolet, 1942 W. Division St., (773) 384-6886, open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays; 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Brunch service coming soon.