Weekly Wednesday to-go dinners and a special Friday omakase lunch are on their way to Snaggletooth, as it’s been about a year since Jennifer Kim and Bill Montagne opened their tiny palace of cured fish over in Lakeview. It took a while for customers to understand their concept — that they weren’t just a bagel shop — but their DIY spirit has caught on, highlighted by winning this year’s Jean Banchet Rising Chef of the Year award. Snaggletooth also earned a place on Eater Chicago’s top openings of 2016.
The omakase lunch starts today (Friday) and Wednesday dinner starts March 15. Montagne and Kim have had their eyes on expanding their offerings since opening, as they focus on breakfast and lunch. They tried evening dinner pop-ups, but the price was a bit more than what neighbors off Southport and Diversey wanted to pay. It’s not that locals couldn’t afford the pop-up’s prices, it was that they preferred spending their dinner money at special occasion spots like Smyth and Elske in the West Loop, Montagne said.
So the pair brainstormed and went on vacation. A trip to Spain inspired Montagne, as he marveled at the incredible food from pinxto bars in San Sebastián. “Out in these tiny kitchens they’re doing this incredible food,” Montagne said. “I came back and said we can do that here.”
That starts on Friday with the new omakase-style lunch, perhaps a nod to Kim’s travels to Japan. Available only on Fridays, it’s a rotating menu that’s adaptable depending on what diners want. The lunch grew out of the off-menu items Montagne and Kim were serving to a group of regular Friday customers. This lunch will be for those seeking something a bit more adventurous than just a lox and bagel. For example, they might serve sardines prepared three ways.
“Why not let people know that this is a thing you can order because we’re doing it anyway?” Montagne said.
Dine-in lunch is nice, but the elephant in the tiny room is adding evening dinner service. Using the same DIY attitude that Kim and Montagne showed in departing the restaurant formerly known as C Chicago, they’re going to offer to-go dinners every Wednesday starting the week of March 12.
Customers should preorder their meals earlier in the week by 6 p.m. on Tuesday via phone call or text and then pick them up from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday. The dinner selections will also change every week, and some quantities will be available for walk-ups. The menu will include one meat—chicken, beef, pork, or fish—and a vegetarian option. Meats could include roast chicken or braised pork shoulder. They’ll cost $12 to $15 per person. Snaggletooth will kick off the first Wednesday on March 15 by donating 100 percent of the night’s dinner profits to the Chicago Women’s Health Center. One of Snaggletooth’s workers volunteers there, and a donation was a good way to show support, Montagne said.
Snaggletooth’s small space limits a bit of what Montagne and Kim can do, but if Wednesday to-go dinner catches on, they may offer a dine-in option. Given the creative food at Snaggletooth, diners should be excited to see what this duo serves up next.