After more than a year of waiting, Chicago’s new marijuana-themed sandwich spot Cheba Hut debuts Monday in Wicker Park featuring “toasted” subs with punny pot names, a full bar, and a huge custom wall mural packed with Windy City-specific weed jokes and references.
Cheba Hut subs like the 5-0 (smoked ham, Genoa salami, prosciutto, pepperoni, bacon, giardiniera, cheddar) and Kali Mist (roasted turkey breast, chipotle mayo, jalapeños, crispy bacon, creamy pepper jack, avocado) come in several sizes: 4-inch “nug,” 8-inch “pinner,” and 12-inch “blunt.”
The menu features plenty of other stoner-friendly items too, include the Loaded Not’chos (melted cheddar, jalapeños, red onion, black olives, Nacho Cheese Doritos, ranch drizzled on top) and “goo balls” (Rice Krispies, peanut butter, honey, cocoa) for dessert. The Wicker Park location also features a full bar — a hallmark of the brand — with a list of drinks, dubbed Cottonmouth Cures, like Kool-Aid, soft drinks, and locally brewed beers.
Franchisees Chris Custer and Lance Frericks have gone to great lengths to weave a singular strain of Chicago identity and stoner culture into every facet of the restaurant. Even the table markers tout pot-heavy flicks like Dazed and Confused.
Portraits of enthusiastic smokers like Bob Marley and Janis Joplin dot the space, but the real show-stopper is a wall-sized mural featuring a comprehensive cast of Chicago characters, from a tuxedo-wearing, blunt-toting Chris Farley to Indiana Jones (played by suburban Park Ridge native Harrison Ford) passing the dutch across the Blues Brothers to President Barack Obama, to a cloud silhouette of Nike’s famous Michael Jordan-inspired Jumpman logo. The inside space seats nearly 70, but is limited to 27 with social distancing. A heated outdoor patio space will seat another 42.
An outpost of a popular Arizona-based chain, the new spot was originally slated to open in Bucktown by the end of 2019. When plans for that location fell through, franchisees Chris Custer and Lance Frericks pivoted to a Divison Street space that shares a building with Colectivo Coffee. Legalized recreational marijuana in Illinois may not be as trending a topic as when the restaurant was first announced in September 2019, but the pair have faith in the lasting power of munchies. Online ordering will soon be available via Doordash.
A second Cheba Hut location is also planned for Chicago. A different franchisee is working to lock down a space in Lincoln Park or Wrigleyville, according to a rep.
Cheba Hut Wicker Park, 1950 W. Division Street, Open 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 2 pa.m. Friday and Saturday.