A pot-inspired sandwich chain is coming to Chicago to capitalize on the buzz over legal recreational marijuana as Cheba Hut inches toward its debut in the city with two locations. One local franchisee has signed a lease in Wicker Park, the company confirmed, while another is working to lock down a space in Wrigleyville or Lincoln Park.
Cheba Hut was originally slated to open a restaurant by the end of 2019 in Bucktown (which is near a Wicker Park site the franchisee was considering) with a full bar, toasted subs, and a strong supply of weed puns. But plans for that location ultimately fell through, according to Reuben Rischall of Metro Commercial Real Estate. Ownership pivoted and signed a lease at at 1950 W. Division Street, a property Rischall represents as an agent. That’s the same building as Colectivo Coffee at Damen and Division. An opening timeframe is not yet available. Legalization of recreational marijuana went into effect on January 1 in Illinois.
The puns from the Arizona-based chain keep coming. Its subs are available as a 4-inch “nug,” an 8-inch “pinner,” and a 12-inch “blunt.” Varieties include the “White Widow” (grilled chicken, ranch, mushrooms, bacon, provolone) and the “5-0” (smoked ham, Genoa salami, prosciutto, pepperoni, bacon, giardiniera, cheddar). Appetizers, or “munchies,” include loaded “not’chos” (cheddar, jalapeños, red onion, black olives, Nacho Cheese Doritos, ranch) and garlic cheese bread with marinara or ranch. Desserts include marshmallow cereal bars and “goo balls” (Rice Krispies, peanut butter, honey, cocoa).
Patrons could also expect a full bar with a list of drinks, or “Cottonmouth Cures,” plus beer, iced tea, Kool-Aid, and soft drinks. The company encourages its franchisees to make each location their own when it comes to cocktails, local beers, and decor, Cheba Hut founder Scott Jennings explained. “Each location really takes on neighborhood feel and franchisee feel,” he said. The Wicker Park spot was previously home to a Shell gas station that operated at Damen and Division for 40 years before closing in 2017.
Jennings launched the Arizona-based brand in 1998. The company currently operates 29 locations in eight states, and another five restaurants are “coming soon,” according to its website. Neither of Chicago’s forthcoming spots are mentioned online.
Stay tuned for more news as the projects progress.
Cheba Hut, 1950 W. Division Street, Scheduled opening date is not yet available.