Flat & Point, a new Logan Square barbecue that hopes to give diners a fine dining approach to smoked meats without the high costs, opens on Saturday. Chef Brian Bruns and wife Taylor Bruns will open an 80-seat restaurant at 3524 W. Fullerton Avenue. They’ll pull meats out of a custom-built 500-gallon barrel smoker.
Brian Bruns has worked at Spiaggia and Tru. Most recently, he and his wife ran a small barbecue along the Lakefront Trail between Fullerton and North avenues. That helped him understand customers better. Dishes include American wagyu brisket from Snake River Farms in Idaho. The brisket’s served with grilled and raw, shaved beets. There’s also a Slagel Farm pork and polenta. Bruns is also serving a burger with wagyu trimmings seared on cast iron. It’s his spin on the ever-popular Au Cheval/Small Cheval burger, and it will also be topped with American cheese. Ribs will be forthcoming on a rotating basis. Bruns said he’ll serve seasonal meats. With Easter approaching, expect lamb soon. For Thanksgiving, he’ll serve turkey.
Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas influenced Bruns’s technique, but he’s using tricks from all over. He’ll have Chicago-style sticky and smoky barbecue sauce, a descendent of Memphis-style sauce. There’s also a Carolina-style mustard sauce. If customers notice big-name vendors, it’s because Bruns believes in sustainability. He’s using well-known farms and meat suppliers. With the exception of the brisket, he’s trying to use vendors close to Chicago (he really likes Snake River’s wagyu). He may eventually offer up rib tips, a Chicago creation.
The city had some issues with the smoker (he uses oak). The city had never seen a smoker like this. Taylor Bruns said she believes Flat & Point is the first barbecue in Chicago to be able to use a smoker like this indoors. The smoker more evenly distributes smokey flavor. And Bruns wants customers to see the smoke ring in his meats, which is why he slices his brisket thick. Visually, smoke rings match the color of red beets and Bruns liked the look and taste combo with brisket. Next to the smoker, there’s also an Argentinian-style open-fire grill, the type where cooks can raise and lower the grates.
Drink wise they have four taps for beer with local favorites from Scratch Brewing in Southern Illinois. The confit potatoes go well with bourbon, and they’ll have a selection of whiskey in the coming weeks. There’s also wine by the glass or bottle. Batched cocktails, like Negronis, could be in the restaurant’s future.
On the lakefront, Bruns learned to be flexible with customers. He’s willing to sell meats by the pound. But he hopes customers will try his food as is first; he put a lot of thought into the recipes. Service will be a combo of counter and table. Eventually they’ll add brunch service and patio seating.
Check out the menu below. Flat & Point opens on Saturday.
Flat & Point, 3524 W. Fullerton Avenue, (773) 904-7839, open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday through Sunday.