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One of Chicago’s Best Beer Bars Shakes Up its Food Offerings

The Biscuit Man is in full time at The Long Room

The Biscuit Man’s signature items.
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

It’s been more than two years since The Long Room, one of the city’s best beer bars, added a kitchen and began serving food to customers from two culinary teams. The Biscuit Man covered mornings and afternoons, while Beard & Belly covered the evenings. Starting on Friday in Lakeview, the bar’s owners are simplifying things with only one food vendor as The Biscuit Man will now handle all food duties and serve dinner.

The decision gives The Long Room more cohesion inside the small kitchen space owners Jason Burrell and Clark Fowler call Sidecar the LR. It’s a unique set up where Biscuit Man chef Zeeshan Shah would arrive in the mornings and serve breakfast and lunch. He would bake his signature biscuits, and serve Indian-spiced rice and grain bowls and naan sandwiches. But around 3:30 p.m., Shah had to close up to make room for the dinner team of chefs Kyle Schrage and Jim Torres. Beard & Belly served poutine and griddled burgers.

“We’d have to work around each other,” Shah said.

But Shah won’t have to do that anymore and that will provide a greater piece of mind. The Biscuit Man’s signature fluffy biscuits will be available all day and the new menu will be more veggie forward. Shah will still serve up a griddled burger using either colby or cheddar (unlike the butterkase used by Beard & Belly). Dinner service will start at 3 p.m. and they’ll also offer Monte Cristos and grilled cheese sandwiches. Shah will also have dinner specials after they get better acclimated — imagine flank or skirt steak dishes. They’ll also have weekday happy hour specials with charcuterie, spicy chips, and more.

The neighborhood still has a void as The Diner Grill (right across the street from The Long Room) has yet to reopen after the Christmas 2016 fire. Long Room ownership asked both Shah and Schrage if either wanted to take over the kitchen full time. Both groups turned in proposals.

“We went back and forth,” Shah said. “Kyle didn’t want to make breakfast the way breakfast had already been made around here.”

Fans of Beard & Belly shouldn’t fret. They’re working on opening a standalone restaurant this summer.

“Although we are sad that our time here has come to an end, we are extremely excited for what the future holds for us,” a Facebook post reads. “We are currently finalizing plans to open our own, stand alone Beard & Belly, and hope to do so in the summer of 2018. In the meantime, please continue to follow us on social media for updates on pop ups, events, and to follow our progress as we work towards our grand opening.”

Meanwhile, Shah has another project — Bombay Breakdown — a pop-up where he and partner Yoshi Yamada spin modern takes on Indian food. They often hold the pop-up at Long Room. Shah may have more news about a permanent space later in 2018.

“We’re still not quite ready to announce anything on that, but we’re definitely planning for this year,” Shah said.

The Long Room

120 West 44th Street, Manhattan, NY 10036 (212) 997-3933 Visit Website