It took longer than expected, but a long-vacant Old Town space is roaring, well as much as that is possible during a pandemic. Uproar is open near Wells and Division with playful drinks and late-night bites. It’s the first project from a new company comprised of Chicago restaurant veterans and members of Ohio-based Forward Hospitality Group.
Uproar is independent of Forward, and the first project from Uproar Hospitality Group who instructed crews to gut the space where modern Mexican restaurant Salpicon operated for 22 years at 1252 N. Wells Street. Ownership has big plans for the space, even without indoor dining during the pandemic. The first floor features a bar and a takeout window in back that will eventually open late night. Carryout and delivery is available on Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash.
The foods’ from chef Jamie Fischer (Cindy’s Rooftop, S.K.Y.) who presents familiar American diner dishes with a refined gloss. The menu is divided into “vintage” and “modern” categories. The former includes hush puppies (white cheddar, Crystal Hot Sauce) and an Uproar Burger (“special sauce,” Hook’s aged cheddar); the latter features squash soup (yellow curry, giardiniera, toasted pepitas) and a fried chicken sandwich with Calabrian chili. Fisher also features a rotating weekly family meal: The current iteration stars Japanese-style items like pork gyoza and matcha cream puffs. The first week was “Americana” themed, and proffered short rib pot roast and apple cobbler.
Cocktail kits, beer, and wine are available to go.Uproar’s drink selection lavishes attention on cheapish beer — there’s an entire “Champagne of Beers” section dedicated to Miller High Life. With room for about 100 between both floors, Uproar’s space includes two bars and various loungy drinking spaces with lots of bold, geometric shapes, busy modern wallpaper, and a large pink neon sign of a hand making a peace sign. The 40-person sidewalk patio is tented and outfitted with purple lights and large heaters.
Partners want to eventually replace the second-floor windows with glass that could open up. That could be essential to help air flow and to allow safer operations during the pandemic. There’s no timeframe for those changes, as time doesn’t flow normally during COVID-19.
When patrons can safely gather indoors, operators aim to feature a music program that’ll be “the best in the city,” with DJ sets featuring sounds from pop performers, rockstars, and Motown legends. They also plan to host live music events.
Uproar partner Dante Deiana is a DJ and promoter who has spent time on Barstool Sports Blackout Tour. He is also a partner in Ohio-based Forward Hospitality Group. That’s the same group behind Shake-It, a forthcoming Ukrainian Village burger bar from James Beard Award-winning chef Jonathon Sawyer (Adorn).