Spilt Milk, a Logan Square tavern that opened in 2016, has earned a loyal customer base and become a favorite of workers in Chicago’s restaurant and bar industry. It’s a throwback bar with a dimmed room, stiff and creative drinks, plus a large patio space. Still, the quality cocktails are sometimes not enough for hungry customers as the bar doesn’t serve food. Ownership has been working to solve that problem the last few months and starting on April 2 they’ll unveil a new menu of creative pub food. They’re calling the food operation the Feller.
“You’re just hammered and you need something to eat — that’s half the reason people leave,” said Adam Wendt, a Chicago chef who helped open Bangers & Lace in Wicker Park and Evanston. “They go somewhere else.”
Wendt is the executive chef of the Feller. He most recently opened at the Delta in Wicker Park where he created the restaurant’s menu as executive chef and partner. Wendt was among a rotating roster of chefs who would cook during the summer on Spilt Milk’s patio. Ownership called the events Family Meal Mondays and chefs like Owen & Engine/Bixi Beer’s Bo Fowler and Superkhana International’s Zeeshan Shah and Yoshi Yamada would fire up the charcoal grill and serve food for customers.
The positive response to those Monday meals gave Spilt Milk’s owners the idea to remodel the existing and unused kitchen and bring in Wendt to oversee that menu. Spilt Milk is a collaboration with Footman Hospitality, the parent company of Bangers & Lace. They’re familiar with Wendt.
The Feller’s menu includes a dry-aged burger. Wendt’s a bit of a burger expert, as the Delta’s was a popular item. Other items like fancy chicken nuggets made of all dark meat and emulsified in duck fat. They’ll also serve pastries from pasty chef supreme Mindy Segal of HotChocolate. The kitchen will remain open until 1 a.m. most days.
They’ll have a menu of eight rotating items. The burger and nuggets will remain constants. Other items include a gym shoe sandwich, a medley of meat found on the South and West sides. Wendt’s familiar with the item as he created a gym shoe tamale at the Delta. He’s making his own pastrami with a secret brine and rub. He’ll smoke the brisket for eight hours and then sous vide for another 14.
“This is the kind of stuff that I would want to eat while I’m drinking,” Wendt said.
As these things go, the kitchen’s transformation took longer than expected. When working with an older space, it’s taken a while to complete construction to make sure the kitchen is compliant with current city standards.
Fans of Family Meal Mondays shouldn’t worry. The weekly series will soon restart and continue after the Feller opens. Spilt Milk’s customers won’t have to leave the bar for food starting on April 2 when the Feller debuts. In related news, the bar’s kicked off some new happy hour specials from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday with half-off draft beers and glasses of wine.