Maybe the third time is the charm for the Albany Park space that has housed BreakRoom Brewery and The Finch Kitchen. Perhaps taking inspiration from suburban Highland Park’s famed outdoor concert venue, Ravinia Brewing Co. is poised to take over the space at 2925 W. Montrose Ave.
BreakRoom abruptly closed in May 2016 after about a year of operations. The bar was an offshoot of Heineman Bar Co., a woodshop that made bars. There were a handful of lawsuits that led up to that shutter. After about a month after BreakRoom’s demise, the owners repainted the outside of the building and reopened the bar as The Finch Kitchen, a collaboration between the building’s owners, Finch’s Brewing Co.’s, and celebrated chef Matthias Merges (Yusho, Billy Sunday, A10). The good vibes lasted only until December when The Finch Kitchen closed. There have been reports about huge turmoil with the beer brand. Merges, in December, said it was difficult to work with the partners in the space and that it was better for his company to leave.
All that baggage aside, Albany Park residents are really rooting for this space as their neighborhood population continues to grow. Ravinia has partnered with Finch on collaborative releases in the past, so there’s a connection. The company, about three years old, has been planning to open a brewery in Highland Park at least for the past year.
Check back later today when Ravinia’s Kris Walker should be able fill in more details about his team’s plans. They’ve already applied for their liquor license.
UPDATE: Walker shared a few details when reached this afternoon. Ravinia wants to open in Highland Park and in Albany Park at the same time. They’re still waiting for permits, but are gunning for a late-summer opening. While he’s not ready to talk about the food, he did describe a few of their beers including the Grunsfeld, named after John Grunsfeld, a Highland Park native and astronaut. This lager will use tropical hops: “It’s a different take on an every-day lager that we’re very excited about,” Walker said.
They wanted extra space to try experimental beers, as the Highland Park location is a bit small. Walked added that they’ve bought the building outright and no one from BreakRoom or Finch will be involved in the new endeavor. They also plan on a 30-seat sidewalk cafe. Visitors should expect changes on the interior, too. They’re working with Nancy Warren. She worked on North Pond in Lincoln Park. While core elements, like the bar will remain the same, Walker said that “it will feel like a new space when you come in.”
Walker promises more info as the opening grows closer.