After a pop-up run three years ago at Revival Food Hall, two staffers from mega-hit Honey Butter Fried Chicken finally have a permanent space for their new restaurant. TriBecca’s Sandwich Shop will serve Becca Grothe’s signature Cubano, but that’s not all. The Honey Butter Fried Chicken’s sous chef is expanding the menu at her new restaurant with a version of the Illinois state capital’s cult favorite favorite sandwich, the horseshoe. They’re targeting a late fall or early winter opening in Avondale.
TriBecca’s is a five-minute walk south from Grothe’s soon-to-be former workplace at HBFC. Another Honey Butter staffer, Cam Waron — Grothe’s husband — will share the new space for his own project. Tuber’s Donuts — check out its Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-influenced website — will feature doughnuts that use potato starch rather than traditional flour. Waron is currently Honey Butter’s culinary director.
Grothe grew up in Central Illinois and wants to introduce Chicagoans to sandwiches from her hometown region. That includes the loose meat sandwich, exemplified by the Iowa chain Maid Rite; Grothe calls TriBecca’s loose meat sandwich “the MaidWrong.” Of course, there’s the aforementioned horseshoe. Grothe’s take, “the Pony Shoe,” is an open-faced burger drenched in cheese sauce and topped with french fries: “There’s too much healthy stuff up here,” she says.
Honey Butter co-owners Josh Kulp and Christine Cikowski will be help Grothe and Waron with accounting, permits, and other business operations, leaving them free to concentrate on the food. Both Honey Butter and now TriBecca’s grew out of Sunday Dinner Club, the ongoing series of dinners Kulp and Cikowski began hosting in 2005.
Grothe is grateful for the support of her mentors. “They’ve built an extremely successful business,” she says. “I want to do the same.”
TriBecca’s will also serve seasonal specials, sides, and desserts, prepared by Sunday Dinner Club sous chef Alex Skrzypczyk: Grothe particularly enjoys Skrzypczyk’s peanut butter blossoms and animal crackers. Meanwhile, Tuber’s doughnuts will feature what Grothe describes as “the most outrageous toppings”: sour cream, chives, and bacon bits, and a chocolate ganache and fried potato flakes concoction called “Fries in Your Frosty.”
TriBecca’s will begin as pickup and delivery-only. The space is tiny, roughly 800 square feet, and Cikowski says that the team wanted to keep the operation small and manageable, at least at first, until it gets settled into the neighborhood.
Diners who want a preview of Grothe’s sandwiches can come to Honey Butter on Mondays where TriBecca’s has a standing pop-up, serving a different sandwich every week. Preorders are available through Tock. Tuber’s will also be popping up around town; Waron posts updates on Instagram.
Waron named most of his wife’s sandwiches and the restaurant itself, which was sort of inspired by the New York City neighborhood, but also a sort of imperative: “Try Becca’s.”
TriBecca’s Sandwich Shop, 2949 W. Belmont Avenue, Scheduled to open in late 2021.