A's List: Concepts within Concepts in Chicagoland

By Audarshia Townsend

Some of Chicago’s best destinations are two concepts in one. We check out several around town, from a tiny, exclusive suburban restaurant—boasting only five tables—tucked inside another to a New York-styled cocktail lounge featuring classic Windy City eats from an impossibly small stall.

The Biscuit Man

Long Room has been around for almost 20 years. During that time, it's maintained a respectable rep for local live entertainment. Its interior simply consists of a "long bar" with several low-slung sofas and booths in the rear. Its newest attraction is the permanent installation of The Biscuit Man, which is situated inside of the bar. What was once a pop-up eatery is now a place where customers can get biscuit-encased sandwiches seven days a week. Guests may order biscuits stuffed with scrambled eggs, hamburger patties, ham and cheese, fried chicken and more. Proprietor/chef Zeeshan Shah, who is of Indian descent, also hosts occasional contemporary Indian-focused pop-up dinners at Long Room.

One of The Biscuit Man offerings. (Photo: The Biscuit Man)

Cold Storage

The 60 seater is inside Fulton Market District hot spot steakhouse concept Swift & Sons. In the kitchen, Executive Chef Chris Pandel has developed a simple, yet sophisticated menu showcasing fresh seafood, salads and sandwiches, as well as highlighted daily specials. All seafood selections are sourced from purveyors across the country, all of which have the option to be prepared grilled, steamed, fried or a la plancha.

George Trois

The intimate dining room of Chef Michael Lachowicz's eponymous restaurant offers the classic and contemporary French cuisine the chef made famous at Les Deux Gros and Le Francais. Situated inside Restaurant Michael is George Trois, an extremely tiny eatery with five tables. Only open Thursday through Sunday, George Trois only offers a tasting menu, with the option of six courses or nine courses. The menu is seasonal, so it changes regularly.

Crab rangoon (from left), rib tips and egg rolls from Old Habits. (Photo: Old Habits)

Old Habits

This laid-back Avondale hang takes its inspiration from a cocktail lounge on the Lower East Side of New York. Ludlow Liquors wants guests to get a chance to try many of its drinks, so they're offering them by the shot, single and double. Those who order drinks by the shot glass have an opportunity to check out even more of the original cocktails. While Ludlow serves up the drinks in contemporary New York fashion, Old Habits is all about old-school Chicago. That's where guests may order classic Windy City eats beyond the usual deep-dish pizzas, Italian beef and the Chicago-style hot dog. Some of the best sellers from Chef Nick Jiracek include ethnic neighborhood staples like rib tips, Filipino-style egg rolls and shrimp fried rice, which are the perfect accompaniments to all those boozy drinks.

Reid Bar

Local powerhouses Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia, Piano Terzo) and John Hogan (formerly of Kiki's Bistro, Keefer's Steakhouse) join forces to create this meat-focused waterfront restaurant and bar. River Roast, which may be accessed by foot, car or boat, specializes in hand-carved meats and vegetables that are cooked in a custom-designed, fire-roasting oven. In 2018, River Roast transformed its street-level lounge into Reid Bar. It's a slight nod to the former red district bars in River North, and pays homage with original cocktails and an actual red light that's on when the bar is open for business. Reid Bar also boasts a separate menu for early commuters (coffee, gourmet doughnut holes) and after-work snacks like burgers, prime rib sandwiches and raw oysters.

See previous A's List columns right here.

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