It’s an original Carriage House reunion—kind of—as Mark Steuer, the chef who made the Wicker Park spot one of Esquire’s best new restaurants in 2013, is opening Funkenhausen, a German-inspired beer hall/French brassiere in West Town. He’s joined by former Carriage House sous chef John Paul Johnson, as well as GM Robert Diaz (he worked at Acadia, Elizabeth, and Kith and Kin) . Steuer’s father is a native Bavarian, and Steuer told Chicago that he only spoke German until he was 3. He’s tapping into these roots and merging them with Southern barbecue as exemplified by one of the menu items: A smoked beef rib roast.
The restaurant, inside an old warehouse at 1709 W. Chicago Ave., should open this fall. Besides the rib roast, Funkenhausen (a made-up word) will serve items cooked on a wood-fire grill. They’ll have beer hall pretzels with beer cheese and Alabama white barbecue sauce. Carriage House served a great low-country brunch before it morphed to the now-shuttered Buck’s. Weekend brunch is also part of the plan at Funkenhausen.
Funkenhausen may catch some by surprise. Back in November 2014, Steuer teamed up with John Manion (El Che Bar, La Sirena Clandestina). The duo planned on opening a trio of restaurants. Apparently, plans have since shifted.
Even though Steuer wants to be unconventional, he promises he’ll serve an amazing schnitzel. Steuer told Chicago that he plans on making some German-style beer to complement the dishes that include crispy-skinned walleye over sauerkraut puree with baby root vegetables and Riesling-poached escargot. He won’t be brewing on site, but instead he’ll collaborate with local breweries. They’ll also have a vibrant selection of wine from the Black Forest and Alsace.