Don’t confuse Joe Frillman’s vision for his upcoming Logan Square restaurant. Though he’ll rely heavily on his brother’s farm, Daisies won’t be 100-percent vegetarian. Frillman hopes to be open in March, weeks before his first child is born—the due date’s April 11—inside the Analogue space.
“It’s going to be veggie heavy. There will be vegan options, but it’s not just going to be a vegetable bounty,” Frillman said. Daisies will feature seven to eight rotating and seasonal homemade pastas in the same vein as Balena. Dishes could include square spaghetti with cauliflower Bolognese or sweet potato tortellini.
He chatted about developing the menu—one idea is veggie charcuterie. Frillman’s style is heavily-influenced by Balena chef Chris Pandel. Frillman gave the speech at Pandel’s wedding and said he owes much to his mentor. Pandel has a “nose to tail” approach, which means not much goes to waste in the kitchen. While the phrase was used to describe meat, Frillman wants to extend the philosophy to vegetables.
“Not only does it taste better than most of the stuff on the menu, but it’s cost effective and we can sell it for cheap,” Frillman said. The latter is important to Frillman, as he wants to make sure costs stay down in Logan Square.
Years ago, Pandel showed Frillman how pastas don’t have to be weighed down with heavy, meaty Bolognese, letting the quality of noodles star. They’ll use a motorized sheeter at Daisies, which is a departure from the crank Frillman used as Balena’s sous chef.
Frillman hopes Daisies can rejuvenate him. The chef said he felt burned out with cooking pizzas and steak. Now, there might be a seasonal chop once in a while, but Frillman said he’s learned how bad beef is for the environment. He’d like to limit that at his restaurant. He can’t deny the meat has it’s place in his kitchen, at least to flavor dishes: “It does give out the sense of fulfillment, the actual animal fat itself.”
Daisies, which will use produce from Frillman Farms, seems far away from Frillman’s original restaurant idea, barbecue. However, the more research he did, the more it made him to turn away from focusing on meat: “I love it, but I just don’t want to contribute and I felt guilty.”
Though there will be a heavy pasta presence, Frillman prefers to call Daisies “Italian inspired.” He’ll take cues from Paul Virant (“the most Italian chef in Chicago,” Frillman said) and they’ll have a pickling program. Virant wrote a book on pickling, and Frillman wants pickling and the vinegars used to also be part of his cocktail program. The program will include low-alcohol shims, shrubs and kombucha on tap. Sommelier Charles Ford, who Frillman met at The Bristol, is handling the wines.
They’ve installed more banquettes and re-appropriated Analogue’s old DJ booth. There’s also a patio. Frillman’s a Logan Square resident and hopes Daisies will fit in with the likes of Lula Cafe, Fat Rice and Billy Sunday.
“If we can get you in, we feel like we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure you have a good time,” he said.