Despite adding a chef who worked at a Michelin-starred restaurant and a DJ booth (among other changes), the restaurant formerly known as Trenchermen, Trench, will close on Sunday after brunch service in Wicker Park. The restaurant, just west of the North/Damen/Milwaukee intersection, relaunched in February with a truncated name and a menu from Jared Wentworth, the ex-Longman & Eagle chef who will soon open Regards to Edith. That’s the companion restaurant to Prairie School, the new cocktail lounge that opened on Wednesday in Fulton Market.
Heisler Hospitality owns all those projects and the company’s co-founder, Matt Eisler, told the Tribune that the chef-driven Trench failed to resonate with the neighborhood. Trenchermen, in its original incarnation, opened in 2012 at 2039 W. North Ave. The revamp will have lasted eight months inside the former bathhouse that once housed another popular restaurant, Spring. Eisler told the Trib that they’ll focus their energies elsewhere. Chef Pat Sheerin left Trenchermen in December before the switchover and has since resurfaced at City Mouse inside the Ace Hotel in Fulton Market.
Restaurants near that high-traffic intersection seem to be struggling to attract diners. Just across the street from Trench, Cafe Robey — the first-floor restaurant inside The Robey hotel — revamped its menu in August with a new chef. The changes came nine months after opening back in December.
Crowds still pack nearby Wicker Park bars and restaurants. Tapster — the self-serve beer bar — and Publican Anker — the spinoff of the popular Fulton Market beer hall — aren’t enduring the same struggles Trench faced. Meanwhile, Wicker Park is about to get a high-profile vacancy.