Get ready for CBD-infused drinks in Logan Square as the owners of the new bar/restaurant replacing Johnny’s Grill/Mezcaleria Las Flores have revealed a few new details on their upcoming project. It’s called Young American and it should open by the end of the year at 2545 N. Kedzie Avenue, according to a news release. It’s the second bar from Leisure Activities, the company from Eater Award-winning bartenders Wade McElroy and Jeff Donahue. They’re the duo who worked with Heisler Hospitality on bars including Sportsman’s Club in Ukrainian Village.
Leisure hired Julia McKinley as Young American’s beverage director. She comes over from Land & Sea Department where she worked with Paul McGee and company at a variety of bars including as bar manager at Lonesome Rose/Golden Teardrops in Logan Square. She also had bartending stints at Lost Lake (the Logan Square tiki bar) and Milk Room (the high-end cocktail bar inside the Chicago Athletic Association hotel).
McKinley will experiment with CBD-infused drinks, according to a spokesperson for Leisure. CBD — cannabidiol — is a chemical component in marijuana. Illinois is among 37 states in which CBD is legal. The compound won’t get users high like THC. Cannabis culture isn’t new to Chicago’s food and drink scene. Last year, an underground dinner serving cannabis-infused items, swept through the city.
While CBD infusions are unique in Chicago, it’s not the focus at Young American. The drink list will include fortified wines and a beer list that includes cheap options and collaborative draft brews. The spokesperson also teased drinks with “interesting restorative options.” No other details were offered.
Nick Jirasek, the chef who brought a mix of South Side Chicago and Filipino flavors to Old Habits inside Ludlow Liquors (Leisure’s first independent project) is creating the food menu at Young American.
The spokesperson described the reasoning behind the new bar’s name as young Americans are: “brimming with energy and creativity, they approach life with a sense of possibility, inclusivity, and purpose.” Restaurant owners on that block have talked about the need to reinvigorate the area. Around the corner, just before it opened in July, the co-owner of Merchant Chicago mentioned how he hoped his new restaurant would bring a spark to the block.