Brown Bag Seafood Company will have plenty of new menu items ready when ownership opens its fifth location early next year on the west bank of the Chicago River at 150 North Riverside — the bright and shiny skyscraper in the West Loop. The fast-casual spot features seafood served as grain bowls, salads, tacos, and sandwiches. It’s a healthy alternative to new neighbor Small Cheval.
“You can’t really eat that every day,” Brown Bag owner Donna Lee said of Small Cheval’s burgers and fries.
In April, Lee opened a shiny new restaurant in River North with high ceilings that brought more visibility to the brand. She’s also opened inside Revival Food Hall in the Loop where she met Mindy Segal, the pastry chef behind HotChocolate in Bucktown — Hot Chocolate has a dessert bar inside Revival. That’s led to a collaboration, as Segal’s created a new dessert for Brown Bag: a cocoa Krispie brownie bite. They’ll soon sell that at all Brown Bag locations.
But dessert’s hardly the only change. Lee’s adding seared yellowfin tuna, a new “Veggie Detox Crunch” taco filled with ground raw vegetables including edamame and sunflower seeds with a vinaigrette dressing. There’s also a spicy cauliflower dish with jalapeños. Customers will now be able to order tacos and sandwiches stuffed with any protein. Brown Bag had only offered crispy cod and grilled fish tacos before because reducing options helped kitchen staff get food out faster.
Brown Bag Riverside will have about 30 seats inside a 2,000-square-foot space. It won’t have a liquor license; Lee hopes customers will brown bag it and take their lunches riverside. The chain’s been around since 2014 and Lee’s hoping to open more locations in Chicago and along the East Coast.
“We are so excited to be near the water again,” Lee said. Stay tuned for more info as 2019 approaches.