A new quick-serve restaurant shop opens today at the United Center that’s open on non-event days and accessible to the general public — those without a game or concert ticket. And this isn’t an ordinary stadium spot. It brings together acclaimed local roaster Dark Matter Coffee, one of the city’s more respected bar and restaurant operators in Heisler Hospitality, and Levy Restaurants, the sports concessionaire and company behind Spiaggia. After Dark Matter teased the spot in late January, Mad West officially opens at 10 a.m. today inside the arena’s public atrium, according to a release.
Last year, coinciding with the start with the Blackhawks and Bulls seasons, the United Center unveiled the atrium, a new wing on part of a parking lot parcel on the east side of the arena. The space included a permanent home for the Michael Jordan statue, a gift shop, and entrance for ticket holders.
Mad West serves Dark Matter drinks, including its agave latte and Mayan mocha, that are available at the coffee roaster’s coffeeshops in West Town, West Loop, and Lakeview. Its iced coffee, Chocolate City, plus a few special draft options will also be available. It also serves booze with three cocktails including a frozen strawberry daiquiri. There’s draft beer from local brewers. A publicity shot shows handles from Goose Island, Three Floyds, and Haymarket.
The quick-serve concept has enlisted Heisler’s chef Dan Snowden to come up with its food menu that’s heavy on Asian flavors. It offers “bing” sandwiches in bread pockets, inspired by Asian street fairs. Among the five sandwiches, there are Korean fried chicken and Sichuan five-spice braised beef. Loaded wonton nachos and veggie fried rice round out the menu. Do-Rite Donuts and pastries from West Town Bakery are also available.
Rugo/Raff Architects designed the 1,400-sqare-foot space. They brought in hand-burnished and distress wood paneling and salvaged brick from demolished Chicago buildings. The snack bar’s made out of cast iron pipe. Chicago fans should feel right at home thanks to murals from JC Rivera and Slang. Take a look a time-elapsed video of the mural painting.
It’s another United Center dining upgrade to keep fans happy even during this year’s frustrating basketball and hockey seasons. Take a look at the menu below. Mad West is now open.
Mad West, 1901 W. Madison Street, inside the United Center’s public atrium, open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, on event days it will stay open an hour after the event.