The Delta, the Southern-inspired spot from three industry vets at 1745 W. North Ave. in Wicker Park, is slated to open on Sunday. Its aim: to send diners on a culinary raft down the Mississippi with a red-hot tamale in one hand and cold beer in the other. And maybe a whole fried chicken to go along with both.
The project is from Eldridge Williams, a Memphis native and former manager at Girl & the Goat, as well as experience with the Promontory, Bangers & Lace and the Fifty/50 Restaurant Group. Partner and executive chef Adam Wendt — another Banger’s alum and, more recently a Dusek’s sous chef — and partner/beverage manager Adam Kamin, previously the head bartender at Bottlefork, come along for the ride.
Earlier this year, the three set on a culinary research journey to get deeper understanding of cuisine found along the Mississippi, from the authentic Mississippi tamale to catfish. It took them from the steps of the swankly Peabody hotel in Memphis to Catfish Row in Vicksburg, Miss.
The resulting menu has Wendt offering six kinds of tamales, including beef-brisket versions — the kind found in Mississippi — as well as his own spins, like a tamale inspired by the Jim Shoe sandwich, a delicacy found in corner shops on the Chicago’s South Side.
In addition to tamales, the menu features what it calls snacks: hush puppies, fried green tomatoes (with pimento cheese, grilled succotash, and spicy roulade), etc. The large portions are found under the plates section of the menu and include whole deep-fried two-pound chicken, and catfish from a supplier they met on their southern journey.
When it comes to beverages, the bar is divided between agave spirits (tequilas and mezcal) and whiskies. There will be smashes, house cocktails and large-format cocktails called “Vases” because they’re served in vintage glass flower vases. There will be eight drafts beers and an additional eight in bottles or cans. See the full drink and food menus below.
The interior of the space — formerly The Monarch — features a 27-person bar area, a smaller 16-person dining room and a 28-person back patio. The décor is filled with whitewashed wood, exposed brick, vintage lights, and a contemporary mural of cartoon hands flashing a “Delta” symbol when you walk in the door. The photo tour is right this way.
In addition to serving good food and cocktails, the restaurant’s goal, according to Williams, is respect. “We have a responsibility to honor and respect the culture and history of the Mississippi Delta and showcase our interpretation of its true form.” Check it out beginning this weekend.
The Delta, 1745 W. North Ave., 773-360-1793, open 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Sunday through Friday and 4 p.m. until 3 a.m. on Saturday. Weekend brunch should begin in a few weeks.