While Four Corners Tavern Group will staff SteakBar —the Old Town bar and restaurant opening in April— a door down from their popular Benchmark, it's Brendan Sodikoff and Hogsalt Hospitality (Au Cheval) which developed the concept and the meaty menu (see below). This joint venture represents an evolution for Four Corners which wants to break out from their sports/neighborhood bar motif as SteakBar is their first real attempt at a food-focused establishment.
SteakBar's opening date is now April 14 at 1500 N. Wells St. where service will be first come, first served, said Four Corners' director Ryan Indovina. They're not using OpenTable, though they'll use wait-list software which will text diners when their tables are ready (Indovina suggested they wait while grabbing a drink at Benchmark). They're trying for a decidedly casual atmosphere. Patrons wearing flip flops and shorts are welcome: "If you're gong to [nearby] North Avenue beach, this is the bar to come to," Indovina said.
The menu counts the 16-ounce beef ribeye as most expensive item at $38. They're wet aging the beef here, including a baseball cut and skirt steak. This isn't the same selection of steaks diners would find at Hogsalt's Bavette's Bar and Boeuf, where they offer dry-aged meat. The steaks at SteakBar also aren't a la carte, they come with fries or veggies. There's also no traditional baked or mashed potatoes on the menu. Indovina cites a focus on being more creative, approachable and affordable. They don't want to intimidate younger patrons who could frequent nearby Wells Street watering holes like Woodie's Flat and Benchmark. That's why the Fireball Old Fashioned is on the drink list. Don't be surprised by a group of customers downing shots at the bar.
"Let's not mince words: This is a fun concept. We want the food to be fun, we want people to drink until midnight and meet people, mingle and come in for groups and birthdays," Indovina said.
Indovina was complimentary of Hogsalt, lauding their expertise in developing concepts, and also said their strengths complemented each other. Four Corners is also opening Federales Tacos & Tequila in the West Loop with Hogsalt's help. Another joint venture, Smack Shack, is opening without Hogsalt on April 21. Indovina said "nothing is set in stone," but the future could include more joint ventures. Sodikoff's camp has been quiet about the project, referring all inquires to Four Corners.
Indovina talks about evolution and maturation. He said Four Corners would still love to open another Benchmark or Kirkwood in a different neighborhood, but it was time to try something new. They're also not afraid of taking away business from Benchmark, and have faith in Old Town supporting SteakBar. Whatever happens in the future, check out SteakBar's menu below, but be advised there might be tweaks before opening.