After a 13-year run just north of Wrigley Field, Raw Bar & Grill is going away. Ownership is handing over operations to the owners of WHISK, the West Town restaurant known for its burgers, brunch, and Mexican-inspired menu.
The restaurant space will be split in two: The bar side will temporarily keep the Raw Bar name while WHISK cooks revamp the menu. Meanwhile, the dining area will morph into WHISK Wrigleyville. The Raw Bar name will remain on the bar side until the fall when WHISK will completely take over the space and do a more extensive remodel at 3720 N. Clark Street.
Raw Bar’s restaurant side has been closed since early 2016, and the bar side’s currently closed for the off season. WHISK will begin a light revamp this weekend, co-owner Rick Rodriguez said. They’ll repaint the walls and add a few photos of Ron Swanson. WHISK West Town is also known for its love of the Parks and Recreation character played by noted Cub fan Nick Offerman — mostly due to Swanson’s love of bacon. The goal is to reopen by early April for Cubs’ Opening Day.
“During game days there’s a lot of families and we want to cater to them,” Rodriguez said.
WHISK’s burgers come with thick patties and they’ll continue to serve them in Wrigleyville. But the Raw Bar side will get new thin-griddled burgers, along with ceviche, fish tacos, and fish and chips. Brunch will get a few new items on the WHISK side including drunken French toast.
Wrigleyville marks the third iteration of the WHISK name. Rodriguez took over the Son of a Butcher space in 2016. Unlike WHISK, SOB in Logan Square has more of a focus on Mexican grilled and smoked meats. They may bring that concept to the Raw Bar space.
Whatever Rodriguez decides, he knows he’ll have to play it cool when it comes to his fan affiliation. He’s a South Side fan: “My heart is black — I’m not allowed to post any White Sox memorabilia,” he said.
Additionally, Rodriguez is a recipient of The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals law, known as DACA. He’s been active as an advocate and recently met with Senator Dick Durbin as part of a roundtable to talk about the law’s impact.