The owners of Fischman Liquors & Tavern, the beloved Jefferson Park "splitty" (packaged goods store/bar) that closed earlier this year, want to open a restaurant. The new restaurant/bar/store, Fischman’s Public House, would serve small plates. They hope their new restaurant—inside the same building that houses the Portage Theater—could open in June, according to DNAinfo.
"The one thing we were missing at the original Fischman’s was food," co-owner Shanna Karamaniolas told Eater Chicago on Tuesday morning. "Great food will keep people there longer. They'll no longer have to end their night early to go grab dinner. Their evenings can now start and end at Fischman’s."
Progress depends on a zoning change that would allow Fischman’s to sell booze. The 4,000-square-foot project at 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave. is an ambitious leap from Fischman’s divey digs in Jefferson Park. A landlord dispute ended a 20-year-run and led to Fischman’s closure this spring. News surfaced in June that they were interested in the Portage Park space near the city’s Six Corners at Irving Park/Milwaukee/Cicero.
The restaurant aims to serve small bar items; think sliders instead of massive burgers. The menu is still in development.
"We have been speaking with someone that is very interested in working with us," Karamaniolas said. "It can be an awesome collaboration of two business owners. Nothing set in stone, just tossing around ideas right now. We hope to soon to make an announcement."
Liquor stores with bars are a unique part of Chicago’s history, and fans have strong opinions on their drinking culture including what labels should be used to describe their watering holes. While appeasing Fischman’s loyal customers is a priority, it appears the new store will also attempt to expand their base. The retail element, which should open in March before the restaurant portion, will be a bit more upscale and polished.
Fischman’s owners detailed their plans on Monday night at a public meeting hosted by Ald. John Arena’s 45th Ward office. Stay tuned for more on this project in 2017.