The new restaurant next to Schuba’s, the bar and concert hall at the corner of Belmont and Southport, should open early next year, according to co-owner Adam Thurston. However, customers will get a sneak preview of Tied House’s menu when staff begins serving food from a truncated menu in September inside Schuba’s, 3157 N. Southport Ave. Schuba’s old restaurant, Harmony Grill, closed in January as crews demolished it to make room for Tied House. Thurston has also revealed that former Longman & Eagle executive chef Matt Kerney is developing the new restaurant’s menu as a consultant.
Kerney, who left Longman in January, brings aspirations of wowing Lakeview with the type of elevated cuisine that he said the neighborhood hasn’t seen. While he will be a bit more restrained compared to what he served at Longman & Eagle in Logan Square, he still expects to test the locals’ tastebuds. They won’t serve veal brains, but sweetbreads aren’t out of the question. The menu and the cocktail list will showcase Midwestern ingredients.
When demolition began, Thurston and his team thought it would be six to eight weeks before opening the new restaurant; they intended to keep Harmony’s old kitchen. However, inspectors discovered mold which forced a demolition and pushed the opening back to next year: “It has to be done right,” Thurston said.
The restaurant’s name is a callback to the building’s history as a Schlitz tied house, serving beer only from that brewer. Five years ago, the 114-year-old building earned distinction as a Chicago historic landmark. Tied House is connect to Schuba’s and will be two levels. There will be a bar and outdoor seating downstairs. The massive courtyard will feature a fireplace and space for horseshoes. The space takes up 4,800 square feet with 359 seats upstairs and 159 downstairs. Patrons won’t need an event ticket to hang out, and the extra room will reduce crowds that gather before shows inside Schuba’s narrow bar area. Curbed Chicago featured one of the renderings in June. Gensler is handling the space’s design.
Schuba’s has been an independent venue since 1988, and concerts bring a captive audience that needs to be fed. While Harmony Grill had its following, Tied House won’t use frozen products and will be a little bit more adventurous (they still want to be family friendly). Thurston thinks the neighborhood has an appetite for better food. Kerney wants to cultivate regulars who will dine at Tied House two or three times a week. Also, Kerney said will not be musical puns on the menu. The appetizers won’t be called “the openers.”
Thurston knows music fans will draw a parallel to Schuba’s/Tied House and Dusek’s/Thalia Hall in Pilsen. The scale of the project in Lakeview is a bit smaller, but Thurston has high hopes of making a big impact on the neighborhood. Come back in the coming weeks for more updates.