Armitage Alehouse, the new gastropub from the owners of Au Cheval, is open in Lincoln Park and the menu isn’t orthodox by fusing a dash of Anglo-Indian cuisine with Chicago’s love for chops and burgers.
Hogsalt Hospitality’s restaurant, on the northwest corner of Sheffield and Armitage, finally answers the question “what restaurant serves both samosas and matzah ball soup?” Hogsalt’s Brendan Sodikoff has long been interested in opening a South Asian restaurant and with Armitage Alehouse, he floats a trial balloon with dishes like a chicory, mango & paneer salad; aloo chana; tandoori roasted chicken; and garlic naan.
Fans of savory pies have a selection of six including steak and ale, chicken pot pie, and pheasant and foie gras. The British influence pops up once more with the classic fish and chips. But for those not interested in the motif, curried chickpeas can be passed over for items like cacio e pepe carbonara, a wagyu burger, or a dry-aged New York strip steak.
Hogsalt wants the interiors at its bar, full of natural woods under dim lighting, to remind diners of London in the 1920s. Taking inspiration for British pub culture, the restaurant veers from Chicago’s craft beer scene attempting to curate its own collection of Old World-style beers. Guinness and Harp headline; black & tans are even listed on the menu. There’s also an espresso martini on the drink list along with a half-dozen signature cocktails.
Anglo-Indian food is a genre that’s confusing to many Americans. It was born out of the 190-year British occupation of India. Colonists ordered servants to mix cuisines to give subjects — from dignitaries to soldiers — living in India something that more reminded them of home. But, because the British colonized various parts of the world, the influences in Anglo-Indian food are diverse. It’s not just a fusion of South Asian cuisine. In Wicker Park, Pub Royale’s menu has included Anglo Indian food since 2015.
Typically, Hogsalt restaurants open under the radar, and Armitage Alehouse continues that tradition. Still, even though the company hasn’t made a big deal of the opening, reservations are already scarce. Bar seating is first come, first served.