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N.Y. Duo Partnering With Violet Hour Bartender to Bring Manhattan Bar to Chicago

Mother’s Ruin, a popular New York cocktail lounge and restaurant, is opening in Avondale

A bartender in a blue shirt pours liquid into an already overflowing highball glass, filled with a creamy-looking cocktail.
Mother’s Ruin Chicago is coming to Avondale this fall.
Mother’s Ruin [Official Photo]

An outpost of New York’s quirky and casual cocktail bar/restaurant is bound for Avondale. T.J. Lynch and Richard Knapp, the architects behind Lower Manhattan haunt Mother’s Ruin, are bringing their bar to Chicago this fall at 2943 N. Milwaukee Avenue. The duo is partnering locally with Toby Maloney. He’s listed as head bartender at Wicker Park’s influential Violet Hour.

Lynch confirmed the plans via email. The pair have applied for a liquor license for the space which formerly housed Latin American spot Seafood Los Dos Leones. Eater NY picked Mother’s Ruin as one its top spots for a first date in Manhattan.

If the bar’s website is any indication, Chicagoans should “expect shit to get weird.” Though he declined to offer menu specifics, Lynch did write the “usual suspects can be expected,” namely frozen cocktails. (New York’s slushy machine is named for husky-voiced actress Kathleen Turner). Rotating flavors include a rum, tamarind, and citrus slush, and the “Poor Man’s Speedball” (Irish whiskey, cold brew, cream). Cocktail offerings at the original location change weekly, but there’s no word yet if the Chicago spot will follow suit. The new location will be entirely staffed by locals, he wrote, and Maloney is currently assembling his “dream team.”

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Like the East Coast original, Mother’s Ruin Chicago will offer brunch every day. Perhaps the menu will include options like loaded hash browns (marinated tri-tip, sautéed mushrooms, peppers, onions, hash browns, fried egg, H-1 steak sauce) and “Eggo” waffles (Cholula-honey fried chicken, waffles, shredded slaw, buttermilk-scallion dressing). A nighttime menu (available until 4 a.m. in New York) offers a few brunch items as well as smaller bites like the “Say It Three Times Fast” (Tecate-battered cream cheese-stuffed pickled pepper poppers).

The Chicago restaurant and bar is about 1,500 square feet and includes a sidewalk cafe, Alderman (35th Ward) Carlos Ramirez-Rosa’s legislative and policy director told Block Club Chicago. Mother’s Ruin popped up for one day at the Violet Hour last year. Knapp and Lynch debuted the New York bar in 2011 and six years later launched relaxed cocktail and pizza bar Loverboy in Alphabet City. Mother’s Ruin Nashville is also in the works, according to social media posts of photos.

Stay tuned for more news as Mother’s Ruin’s opening grows closer.