Cheesies and Whiskey Business + Fry Bar scheduled for Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park

Date: 
12/11/2013
Cheesies

Site plan for both Cheesies Pub & Grub and Wiskey Bar + Fry Bar

In early to mid 2014, Wicker Park will be added to the list of Cheesies locations.

Currently it is in Lakeview, Evanston and on board their food truck, according to owner Chris Johnston. In fact, he is opening a dual environment with a shared kitchen for Cheesies Pub and Grub and Whiskey Business + Fry Bar at 1365 N. Milwaukee Ave. 

After the build out of the location by the property owner, he will begin work on the interior. In the Milwaukee Avenue Historic Landmark strip, he has already cleared the hurdles with Chicago Landmarks and they are in the process of getting their building permits.

In the 1st Ward, he originally requested a change from a B1-2 zoning to C1-2. Neither the Wicker Park Chamber of Commerce or the Wicker Park Committee's (WPC) Preservation and Development committee would support that. But, they both supported B3-2 zoning with an incidental liquor license. WPC's membership voted to support the project on Dec. 10. 

Both the Chamber and WPC as well as 1st Ward Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno have indicated that they will support a special use for a rooftop patio that spans across both buildings. 

Whereas the building owner wants to add condos down the line, Johnston's agreement with him is that he has 5 years to have a rooftop patio. 

CJohnston

Chris Johnston

The business of the businesses
Voted #1 in Esquire magazine as the Life-Changing Grilled Cheese in America in May 2013, Cheesies is expanding into the Whiskey Business along with a fries bar. The shared kitchen will give them the flexibility to have Cheesie's customers have access to the rooftop. 

The faire for the Whiskey side is beyond the comfort food of all things cheesie. It will include not only the fry bar but also infused burgers as well as salads and pasta dishes. Playing off the "risky business" theme, week ends will include brunch which they will dub "The Breakfast Club."

Hours of operation are expected to be between 11 a.m. and 3 a.m. during the week and 11 a. m. to 5 a.m. on the weekend. 

Johnston currently employees a staff of 50, with 20 being part-time. He plans to add another 50 people for his operation. 

Furniture

One of the possible table and seating areas

Environment
In keeping with the 1980s and 90s activities the music and classic family movies during the day and most of the night. Johnston's intent is to keep it kid/family friendly with fun and comfort for all. 

Johnston's Background
In the restaurant business full-time for a few year, including for Morton's Steakhouse, he decided that he wanted his own business. Through a series of amazing coincidences and luck, he opened the Lakeview location in May 2011. In February of 2012, he closed down to expand and re-opened in April 2012. By October 2012 he opened the Evanston location. This last June he rolled out the Cheesie food truck.

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