The owner of the Budlong Hot Chicken and BBQ Supply Co. in Rogers Park is stepping out in a big way in Uptown. Jared Leonard is building a three-headed monster with Beacon St. Market, a food hall that includes another Budlong and a second BBQ Supply, as well as a new restaurant, Norm’s Deli. The new spot should open sometime next year at 1325 W. Wilson Ave.
“I’ve been working on this for about a year,” Leonard said. “That stretch of Wilson is a really nice area — Uptown and Sheridan Park have really been on the cusp of development...but there’s a lack of restaurants — specifically, restaurants with outdoor areas.”
The private, outdoor space (it’s about 2,500 square feet) was a big draw for Leonard. There’s room for about 100. While locals can work at a coffeeshop (Heritage Outpost is already in the building), Leonard sees Beacon Street as a bigger resource for creatives. Uptown residents can linger the whole day, work, read a book, or even host a work meeting. They’ll have acoustic musicians on the weekends, a marketplace, and local artists. It’s not a sidewalk patio, so it won’t be subject to some of the city restrictions for public right of ways, and that’s an added bonus.
The building was once The Norman Hotel, and the deli’s name is a throwback to the space’s roots. Norm’s Deli will serve a variety of sandwiches with smoked meats: Pastrami, corned beef, and turkey. They’ll also serve soup, something that Leonard has tried at BBQ Supply, but customers there are just focused on brisket and other meats. There will also be a bar component. Leonard’s Lincoln Park Budlong serves a few drinks, but they’ll bring in a drink consultant as Beacon Street’s opening date approaches.
Leonard is used to working with food halls. He runs a Budlong inside Revival Food Hall in The Loop. He’s also got upcoming restaurants in Merchandise Mart and in Lakeview Market with the Furious Spoon crew. He’s seen how synergy can help a restaurant. Though Beacon Street is a smaller hall, Leonard wants to apply those processes in Uptown. It’s another project for Leonard’s Stone Soup Collective, his new hospitality group. Earlier this year, Leonard rebranded Rub’s Country Smokehouse to BBQ Supply Co. in Rogers Park, and there’s plans to open a Budlong inside Soldier Field, home of the Bears.