Starting this week, Politan Row, the food hall next to McDonald’s headquarters in the West Loop, will have two restaurants with Indian flavors. Wazwan Supper Club will join Thattu at the food hall and serve its unique menu of burgers and fried chicken sandwiches using Indian spices. Chef Zubair Mohajir has been holding fine dining pop-ups around town since 2017, but earlier this year he added a more casual menu of offerings like tandoori honey chicken (THC) sandwiches and the “Wazwanimal” — a chapali-kebob spiced beef burger.
Wazwan is the only 100-percent halal option at Politan Row. The burgers will use halal bacon that restaurant staff has cured themselves. This is fast-casual food from a chef that’s worked at Michelin-starred restaurants. Mohajir recently launched an extended pop-up in Lakeview at the former Entente space. He has fine dining experience at Bouchon Bistro in California, and at Gaggan, the world-renowned Indian restaurant in Thailand that closed earlier this year.
The fried chicken sandwich is poised to be one of Chicago’s best. It’s somehow equal parts crispy and smoky with a hint of heat cut by the honey. Earlier this year, lines were out the door for a West Town pop-up.
Politan Row opened earlier in 2019 from the same owners behind New Orleans’s St. Roch Market. The Chicago food hall has 11 restaurants, a beer garden and central bar. Clave, the spin-off of Filipino and Cuban restaurant Bayan Ko, closed last week as its owners focus on their first restaurant. Wazwan will take over Clave’s space when it debuts on Friday.
The task for these spaces, from Revival Food Hall in the Loop to One Eleven Food Hall in Pullman, is to find the right mix of restaurants. Diversity breeds success enticing customers to try different stalls. Politan Row will be the first to have two South Asian options. Across the hall, Thattu is serving up South Indian street food. Coincidentally, last month and just few blocks east of the food hall on Randolph Street, Jaipur Indian food opened right next to Rooh, another popular South Asian restaurant.
“I think it’s great,” Mohajir said of being the second South Asian option at Politan Row. “It’s very complementary, we’re just so different in what we do compared to what they do over there.”
Besides the burgers and chicken sandwiches, Wazwan is introducing a lentil salad called the “Becky.” Meanwhile over in Lakeview, the pop-up will continue through December.