Doug Sohn is branching out from encased meats. After last month's frigid, yet successful, pop-up at Publican Quality Meats, the former proprietor of Hot Doug's has teamed up with Berco's Popcorn, a Lincoln Park shop that's been around since 2013. They'll unveil a special popcorn on Friday which they hope will evoke the taste of Hot Doug's famous duck-fat fries.
The limited-edition popcorn, called "Hot Doug's Duck Fat Delight," combines duck fat with gruyere cheese. It will be around until Feb. 14, as nothing says romance on Valentine's Day like duck fat. Sohn will also make a store appearance from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, working the register at Berco's. Part of the deal Sohn brokered is a portion of sales will be donated to Intonation Music Workshop, a local charity which helps give children access to music education.
Berco's founder Matt Bercovitz is stoked about the chance to partner with Sohn, and wonders what the scene will be like this weekend at his small store. Will there be long lines of Doug's faithful followers? Will he run out of popcorn? He approached Sohn with the idea in 2014 after Sohn announced Hot Doug's would close. He waited until the shutter to pursue Sohn's partnership, figuring Sohn would have more free time afterward.
Together, they've experimented with several recipes, and Bercovitz hopes the gruyere is the perfect accompaniment to the duck fat. He knows Berco's isn't the first popcorn shop to use duck fat, but it is the first to have Sohn's seal of approval. Coincidentally, while chatting, the two discovered they both attended high school at The Latin School of Chicago. The fries at Hot Doug's were also named for an English teacher at the school, the late Greg Baker.
Besides the popcorn and pop-up at PQM, Sohn will have a special pizza available next month at Piece Pizza. Both Sohn and Piece's Bill Jacobs are mum on the ingredients, but it will be different from the Atomic Pizza, which Sohn debuted last year. Sohn did say he was doing some experimenting with eggs, a notion that they ultimately nixed.