After seven years of serving barbecue in Lincoln Park, Barn & Company is closing. Ownership is shutting down the restaurant on February 5 and remodeling. A new restaurant, Faregrounds, will open in the space on March 15 with a focus on healthier food and move away from a meat-centric menu. Carmen Rossi — whose company, 8 Hospitality, is involved with establishments including LiqrBox, Pearl Brasserie, and Joy District — wanted to liven up the atmosphere at the space near Sheffield and Lincoln at 950 W. Wrightwood Avenue.
Rossi wants to put more energy into creating a menu that he thinks will please more people. Barn & Company’s pitmaster, Gary Wiviott, is well regarded for his barbecue skills. He even has a signature rub sold at The Spice House in Old Town. While Faregrounds hasn’t named a chef or shared a menu, they will keep Wiviott’s chicken wings which are among the best in Chicago. Wiviott will remain at the restaurant, but he said his exact role hasn’t been determined.
“Seven years is a good run in Lincoln Park,” Wiviott wrote. “Faregrounds will be lively, fun, and a good fit for the neighborhood. As far as my role, I will remain affiliated though my precise role is yet to be defined. The wings, undoubtedly the best in Chicagoland, will remain unchanged.”
Ownership described the new restaurant as “urban casual.” Barn & Company was popular with the post-college crowd and jam-packed during Oklahoma Sooners football games. Faregrounds will serve lighter fare from a more diverse menu. It’ll also serve more craft beer and signature cocktails. Barn & Company wasn’t exactly known for its beer. It served Guinness in mason jar glasses instead of the proper glassware. This could be an area for improvement.
Faregrounds owners have hired a GM. Michael O’Connor will fill the role, coming down from Cité Chicago inside Lake Point Towers in Streeterville. Faregrounds ownership is also involved with Broken English Taco Pub which has a location across the street.