New development around Wrigley Field has created a veritable “murderer’s row” of food and beverage options from some of Chicago’s biggest hospitality companies. Now West Town Bakery aims to join Boka Restaurant Group, The Smoke Daddy, Mordecai, and more. Fifty/50 Restaurant Group plans to open its third bakery sometime around Easter inside the Hotel Zachary and they’ll have a full bar for spiked milkshakes, creative bakery cocktails from Benjamin Schiller, plus cake balls, doughnuts, and more from pastry chef Chris Teixeira.
The official name for the Wrigleyville project is West Town Bakery and Tap, and it’ll have 12 beers on tap, draft cocktails, and even Dark Matter Coffee’s Chocolate City cold brew. The 1,500-square-foot bakery sits in the center of the Hotel Zachary, with counter seating facing Wrigley Field’s famous red sign. It’ll be a perfect place to camp out before Cubs fans pack the park, said Fifty/50 co-founder Scott Weiner. It’ll also debut new West Town Bakery-branded packaging to make it easier for fans to take cake pops and other goods inside the ballpark. Check out some of the drinks, which are featured in a video ownership produced posted below.
Video produced by Low Moon Productions & Sarah Zelman, Audio by Thrashkitten
By serving Dark Matter coffees, Weiner sees an opportunity to create a coffeeshop vibe when the Cubs aren’t playing. He likened it to Dark Matter’s own West Town coffee shop, Star Lounge. It also gives neighbors and fans a local alternative to Starbucks. The coffee giant has a location inside The Park at Wrigley, the plaza right in front of the stadium.
Schiller’s working on nine to 10 signature drinks including a Moscow Mule which would be the first time a Fifty/50 venue has offered the drink on the menu. It also will have a few cake cocktails. Weiner suggested they dip West Town’s red velvet cake and French toast cake balls in bourbon or another spirit and see what happens. Evidently, the results are pleasing. Because it’s near Wrigley, they’re going to experiment a little. Teixeria may have a few items using edible glitter.
“We don’t need to be Starbucks with the purple unicorn thing, but we would never be able to get away with this anywhere else,” Weiner said.
Though they serve Bloody Marys and a scaled-down alcoholic drink list at their bakeries in West Town and River North inside the Acme Hotel, the drinks are more of a focus at Wrigley. That’s some premium real estate they’re sitting on, and as much as it would be fun to snack on a cupcake and watch the fans file in during the summer, Weiner consented that it’s probably even a better spot to have a drink. But they’re not pouring up margaritas or too much whisky. A two-floor Big Star inside the hotel will have that covered. Matthias Merges is comfortable with kegged cocktails, as Billy Sunday in Logan Square has been a pioneer in that sector. Instead, West Town will offer those bakery cocktails and other unique drinks. Weiner said it was important for the bakery to embrace what they are to fill a niche.
The bakery marks the fourth hotel Fifty/50 is collaborating with, as they have restaurants at the Acme, the Dana Hotel and Spa, and the Kimpton Gray. Weiner freely talked about the fiscal pressures Chicago’s restaurants and bars face. When working at a hotel, Fifty/50 is an operator so they don’t assume as much risk. They can also serve hotel guests. West Town will handle wedding cakes and other special events requests for the Hotel Zachary. It’s advantageous as the company raises money for new projects. They’re working on four new projects that could open in 2019 to 2020.
The bakery is also working on one or two savory brunch items for Wrigleyville. One possibility is a Monte Cristo sandwich with a little bit of Cubbie flair.