The owners of Fabiana’s Bakery plan on opening a bar next month in Hyde Park that’s part bookstore, restaurant, and boozy bakery. If they’re successful on Chicago’s South Side, the owners of Bibliophile want to open as many as 16 similar bars across the country and Canada. It’s a full-service gastropub with a full bar and dishes like shrimp and grits and boozy desserts like a lemon pound cake with a limoncello drizzle.
Co-owner Michael Scott Carter was reluctant to open a bar when his friend Brennan Nichols proposed the idea, but a space down the street from Fabiano’s opened up and now they’ve erected signs at 1658 E. 53rd Street. They’ll offer a “curated” selection of books for sale. Books and booze are a compelling combo for University of Chicago’s Hyde Park community.
“Lots of people like to have a cocktail and read a nice novel just to relax,” Nichols said.
Bibliophile will have a ‘50s vibe and serve classic cocktails with a twist. Nichols boasted that the atmosphere will be unique: “I’ve never seen something like it,” he said.
They’ll serve draft beer inside a space with 14 or 15 tables and room for about 90. They hope to be open the first week of September.
Carter seems a little fed up with a dining scene where eating out presents itself as a “zero-sum game.” He said diners receive “relatively decent fare,” only if they’re lucky. Customers often feel ripped off like they could have made the same dishes at home. His new bar hopes to disrupt that rut in Hyde Park with food from chef Anicia Peden, a Lane Tech High School grad who attended Le Cordon Bleu. Carter wants to treat diners better and create an “epic” experience.
“There are very few places where diners will go back for a special cuisine,” Carter said.
While Fabiana’s Bakery is a kid-friendly venue that wouldn’t be the best place for booze-infused desserts, Bibliophile can be that place, Carter said. Peden is not alone in the kitchen. Fabiana Carter — the bakery’s namesake — is handling desserts. Her sweet creations include a Kentucky butter cake with bourbon and a chocolate cake with a dark chocolate liqueur.
Fabiana’s Bakery has been around since 2015 in Hyde Park and last year moved into a larger location in the same neighborhood. Carter is Brazilian and serves beijinhos and other baked goods from South America. But the bakery features French, Italian, and even Mexican goods, too.
Michael Scott Carter is eyeing Toronto as the location for his next venture. He’d tweak the Bibliophile concept and open locations with different names. Maybe he’d call the next one “Dewey” after the Dewey Decimal System. Youngsters who grew up in the Internet age may not know what the library card-cataloging system is, but that’s OK.
“They don’t know what a ‘bibliophile’ is either,” Carter said.
Come back as opening day inches closer.
- Owners of Fabiana’s Bakery open bar and restaurant nearby [Hyde Park Herald]
- Brazilian flavors emphasized at Fabiana’s Bakery in Hyde Park [ABC Chicago/Hungry Hound]