There’s more change afoot at decorated new American restaurant the Bristol in Bucktown as staff introduce new features and dining options following a June announcement that executive chef Larry Feldmeier (Sixteen, the Albert) would take over kitchen operations. Feldmeier and his team have since launched “B@Home,” a rotating family-style to-go meal, and new outdoor sidewalk seating for dine-in patrons. Ownership group B. Hospitality has also refinished the interior and invested significantly in various air filtration systems to help set customers at ease, including the addition of individual air purifiers to each table.
Celebrated for inventive, rustic-yet-upscale dishes in a relaxed, thoughtfully arranged space, the Bristol wouldn’t have been the type of restaurant typically associated with takeout in a pre-pandemic world. But once-typical procedures are now out the window, as upscale restaurants across the city (like Michelin-starred Elizabeth and Alinea) have made clear through various takeout operations, giving Feldmeier an opportunity to craft “B@Home” to appeal to neighbors rather than those visiting from other parts of the city.
“It turned out to be a good opportunity for me and the kitchen staff to make food we like to eat at home... before, we couldn’t just serve a giant bowl of beef bourguignon,” he says. “We have a little more room to play around without having to worry about refining it too much.”
“B@Home” offerings ($35 for adults, $15 for kids) consist of three courses each and change every two weeks. Each order comes with instructions for completing and reheating the meals. Feldmeier estimates that the staff completes about 80 percent of the meal, so customers won’t need to spend more than 10 or 15 minutes getting it ready at home. A new menu debuts Thursday with a Caesar salad, roast half chicken (creamy polenta, pickled tomato, Cerignola olives), and cheesecake (Michigan cherry sauce). Ordering for pickup and delivery is available via Tock. There’s also a monthly rotating “Bristol’s booze box,” which currently includes two bottles of wine, one 17-ounce cocktail (serves four), and a 32-ounce beer growler, compiled by the restaurant’s new beverage director Christian Shaum.
Though the team is placing notable emphasis on to-go operations, the restaurant is offering dine-in service. In the early months of Chicago’s stay-at-home order when most Chicago restaurants were taking a step back, the Bristol’s owners decided to invest more money into updating the space, according to Feldmeier. Ownership redesigned the upstairs section of the restaurant, and both floors space can seat a total of 60 with social distancing. There are also floor-to-ceiling windows on the first floor that staff open wide to improve airflow. Reservations are available via OpenTable.