The owners of The Smoke Daddy are banking Cubs fans will enjoy their “Killer B” formula of barbecue, beer, blues, and baseball when they open their new two-floor Wrigleyville location around Opening Day at the Hotel Zachary — located across Clark Street from Wrigley Field. Live music without a cover every day is one of the space’s main attractions as 4 Star Restaurant Group plans its second Smoke Daddy, a follow-up to the Wicker Park location that opened in 1994.
The original restaurant, 1804 W. Division Street, sports a divey aesthetic and it’s a bit crowded. Live music has always been a hallmark and the space has gone through a few expansions adding seating and kitchen space. There’s no way the new location — which will have a separate entrance from the hotel — could ever duplicate that feel, said 4 Star partner Derek Rettell. They’ve opted for a new direction that add a few modern touches. There’s 21 TVs, meat hooks that give the space a Rocky feel. It’s almost a space to escape to if customers want a break from the Cubbie Blue.
“There’s not a bunch of jerseys hanging on the wall,” Rettell said.
The old space had a rustic feel, but the new one is more modern. For example, musicians — mostly one to three-piece blues bands — won’t have to bring their own amps. They’ll be able to just plug their instruments into the restaurant’s sound system.
Both floors will have a 150 capacity and the second floor features a view of The Park at Wrigley, the plaza in front of the stadium. The upper floor has covered outdoor seating for 60 and customers will be seated first come, first serve. Rettell stressed the restaurant will go beyond catering to Cubs fans. They’ll have outdoor heaters for customers in the fall and winter. There’s also a private event space upstairs. Smoke Daddy Wrigleyville isn’t just about the 100 or so days of baseball season.
“I think it’s going to be one of the best areas before or after a concert at Wrigley,” Rettell said.
They’ll also taking a page from their family-friendly Lakeview restaurants along Southport (Crosby’s Kitchen and Tuco & Blondie). Children 10 and under will eat free from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily — even on Cubs game days. The barbecue will come from a pair of Southern Pride smokers with a mix of white oak, apple, and cherry. Expect a menu similar to the Wicker Park location.
Wrigley Field is the epitome of the North Side, and bringing barbecue nearby is an interesting endeavor when the cuisine can bring polarizing views. There’s a schism between North and South sides. Rettell said he and 4 Star are just focused on its own restaurants and don’t pay attention to those divisions.
Hotel Zachary’s restaurants should start opening later this month. Tenants include Big Star, West Town Bakery and Tap, and Mordecai.
“It’s super exciting — also, it’s humbling and we’re thrilled as a company to be included in what we believe is among some of the most respected hospitality companies in Chicago,” Rettell said.