It can be difficult to remember when Crabbby Kim’s, the "bikini sports bar" on Addison and Western, was a thriving business, but it also can be easy to forget the 1990s. The neighborhood dive featured female bartenders in bikinis pouring domestic beers to a mostly-male customer base with a small assortment of food. But the infamous bar is now gone for good, as the owners of Big Hatt Gourmet, a catering company, have taken over the space. It’s now Reclaimed Bar and Restaurant and it opened on Wednesday.
The owners, chef Craig Bell and his wife Adrienne Fasano, stress this is only a soft opening. Reclaimed won't serve food until early next year, but they will be a full-service restaurant. Right now it's only drinks. They bought the space about a month ago and gutted it while adding a variety of reclaimed wood to the decor.
Bell specializes in Memphis-style barbecue and grew up outside the city. There's plans for him to cook out of his 20-foot mobile barbecue smoker's rig parked outside. He taught at the Chopping Block and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu. The couple live about two blocks away from Reclaimed. Fasano said their restaurant will be a gathering place, a way to give back to neighbors. They also want to fill a perceived void in Roscoe Village. The neighborhood isn't as blessed as a surrounding areas including Lincoln Square.
"There's a lot of great bars and burger joints, but there's not a lot of good places to have a great steak or shrimp and grits with live music," Fasano said.
They're not a sports bar, but there's two TVs inside. Fasano said they don't anticipate staying open too late, but they've still secured a late-night liquor license. There's also ambitions to expand the bar upstairs and use other space.
Tiny Lounge is a favorite cocktail den in Lincoln Square, and Fasano and Bell invested with that group in Tiny Hatt. That bar, located along the Chicago Riverwalk, is a joint venture between Tiny Lounge's original owners and Big Hatt. Fasano and Bell have no affiliation with Tiny Lounge or Tiny Tavern at Navy Pier.
The full-service restaurant presents a radical departure from Crabbby Kim’s where bartenders were sometimes exotic dancers moonlighting for extra cash. Yes, that’s how they spelled their name, with the three b’s standing for "beer, bikinis and burgers." It became a cove for bachelor parties in the same genre as Hooters or the Tilted Kilt. The bar opened in the late ‘90s right across from Lane Tech High School.
Fasano is aware of the changes. Crabbby Kim's was a popular destination for participants who ride in the annual Chicagoland Toys For Tots Motorcycle Parade. The event is a huge holiday fundraiser and this year's event takes place on Sunday. Some burly (yet friendly) riders may be disappointed by a lack of scantily-clad women and will have to adjust to Reclaimed's new atmosphere.
Though food won't be served until next year, Fasano and Bell wanted to open their new spot a little early. It’s been almost 20 years since Kim’s opened. The shutter may be a devastating blow, but maybe it’s time to give something new a try. Reclaimed is now open.
Reclaimed Bar and Restaurant, 3566 N. Western Ave., (773) 852-8320, open 4 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday; 2 p.m. to midnight on Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.