That upcoming River North dart bar has found a chef in Rick Rodriguez, the co-owner of WHISK in Ukrainian Village and Son of a Butcher by WHISK in Logan Square. Rodriguez will be at Point & Feather full time in addition to his present responsibilities at his two existing restaurants.
Rodriguez plans on a meaty elevated bar menu mixing rustic American and Latin flavors. Readers will remember Rodriguez from a few weeks ago when he shared his thoughts as a “DREAMer,” as the federal government has threatened to deport immigrants who are beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).
Point & Feather is the bar/restaurant pegged for a late-October debut in the former Mercer 113 space at 113 W. Hubbard St. Adolfo Garcia (Broken English Taco Pub) is behind the project, and he knows Rodriguez from their days at John Barleycorn in Lincoln Park. Rodriguez and the WHISK staff in August did a brunch pop-up at Early Society, the Loop restaurant that Garcia helped open. Rodriguez also took over the Son of a Butcher space from Garcia. They were all united by Roman and Sam Sanchez, as the brothers have opened several area clubs and restaurants through the years.
Rodriguez is playing around with the menu. He’s planning on making waffle cones stuffed with chicken. They’ll do barbecue, Nashville hot, and plain breaded: “You can have one hand on the cone, and the other shooting darts,” Rodriguez said.
Other planned dishes include slow-roasted, chimichurri chicken, and WHISK’s popular smoked chicken wings, as well as crab cake corn dogs and more. Point & Feather’s burgers will be smaller than the half-pounders at WHISK. Rodriguez is aware that the messy food may not go well with darts. They’ll still be loaded with toppings, but the smashed quarter-pounders should be more manageable with one hand. He’s also planing Nashville hot chicken buckets. Larger dishes include a Korean barbecue hanger steak or sliced tomahawk steak butcher boards with fresh tortillas.
WHISK is infamous for going overboard with bacon in tribute to Ron Swanson, the character portrayed by Nick Offerman in TV’s Parks & Recreation. Expect similar brunch hijinks on weekends at Point & Feather.
Despite more work, Rodriguez isn’t slowing down as he attempts to open more WHISKs alongside his brother, David. He trusts his WHISK staff and feels comfortable leaving them in charge of his restaurants while he takes on new opportunities in River North. This is a long-term partnership with Garcia with an end game. Rodriguez is hopeful that down the line Garcia opens a hotel in Chicago (in the vein of The Robey in Wicker Park) and wants to be onboard for that.
“We agree that Adolfo has a mind for design,” Rodriguez said. “When we partnered up at Son of a Butcher, I knew he always wanted something bigger.”
While Garcia didn’t tip any of his cards when it came to a hotel, last week he did reveal that his Broken English Taco Pub chain is expanding to Indianapolis. The Mexican mini-chain, which debuted in 2016 in The Loop, also has locations in Old Town and near DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus. Broken English is a partnership with Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants.
Point & Feather should open next month and they’re throwing a party/fundraiser on Oct. 25 to benefit Red Cross Mexico as Mexico City and other parts of the country recover from the recent earthquake.