Get ready, Bucktown as Royal Grocer & Co. — the ambitious restaurant that’s taken over the Red Door space at 2118 N. Damen Ave. — opens tonight. That massive patio overlooking Damen will live once more with patrons enjoying a veggie-centric menu, and frosé. Chef Rob Shaner craved autonomy in crafting his own menu and the former Homestead on the Roof chef is churning out inventive dishes like noodles made out of radishes, a citrus-brined buttermilk fried chicken, and more.
Shaner and sous chef Maureen Neer will change the menu seasonally. Delays in permits pushed back the opening, so the latest menu (see below) will feature more late-summer produce with dishes like a succotash with slow-roasted farro, charred okra, summer squash, kimchi vegetables, and fresh herbs. Hush puppies look to be a stand-out starter and Shaner is also fond of his Spanish mackerel and lacquered salt meadow lamb.
Beverage director Meghan Konecny is playing with frozen drinks, including a frosty Irish coffee. She’s eager to hear from local customers, and wants to use their input to help build her subsequent cocktail lists. The bar hours may extend past the kitchen’s depending on demand.
Take a look at the menu below. Staff pointed out that they’re trying to retain quality employees. So the prices will reflect the restaurant paying workers a better than average wage. With that ethos, Royal Grocer hopes to become a Bucktown neighborhood staple. See if they’ve discovered a successful formula starting at 5 p.m. today.
Royal Grocer & Co., 2118 N. Damen Ave., (773) 904-7805, open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday; 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; Weekend brunch won’t start immediately. When it does, service will last from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.