Hipsters crowds swarm out to the trendy Feast – the eatery and bar that is a Wicker Park staple. The reason? A new menu and a new management powerhouse team led by Jason Myers has taken over and revamped the eatery to keep it trendy and hip.
Jason Myers isn’t new to the Chicago restaurant scene. He has been a veteran chef previously over at Deleece Grill and Grass Fed. Being a native of Australia, he spent time honing his culinary talents in San Francisco. Myers came to Chicago and has been serving up some interesting flavors. He teamed with Maura Davis as the new general manager and new mother-goddess of everything alcoholic. Tastebuds in Chicago got a major taste overhaul right from the start. Davis is formerly of Francesca’s and LM. She knows her wines and has an intense knowledge of good reds.
There is a lovely patio when it’s not chilly outside. Instead, you will want to cozy up in the bar and check out the new bar selection. Much, (about 90%) of the menu is new. It is eclectic and reflects the styles and tastes of the neighborhood. There is something to accommodate most tastes with a lot of variety on the menu. There are many appetizers to choose from and a nice variety of salads. The side items are not ones you would typically find in restaurants and there are plenty to select from as well. There are sandwiches and burgers and under the entrée side of the menu, there are nine options. It is easy to find something lighter meal or something more substantial. They created variety but also honed in on new flavor combinations that would appeal to diners. Each item has had its flavors tweaked and dissected to it is not ordinary but more extraordinary. It is not expensive either — no budget is going to be broken while having a good meal.
They have a couple of vegetarian options, semolina cakes with mushroom ragu and parmesan cheese, or the black bean burger. Feast is not heavy on the vegetarian options however those that are there are tasty and solid. They are options that will appeal to non-vegetarians as much as vegans. If you are looking for light fare such as a salad, two of the best are the House-smoked Trout Salad and the Grilled Baby Octopus Salad. The Trout salad is large and will not leave you hungry. It has crispy potatoes with a lemon vinaigrette enhancer. I am not one that can easily make a meal on a salad. This one I can and I will feel satisfied as it hits on many flavors. The same can be said for the Baby Octopus. It comes bedded on frisée with a chili oregano vinaigrette. This is an appetizer portioned salad so you may want to pair it with one of the many flatbreads that change daily to reflect the seasonal ingredients. One of the special items on the menu is Buttermilk Biscuits with Carmelized Onions. These are fun and perfect with a glass of wine on a cold winter night. They are comfort food that will accompany wine or a beverage nicely. I opted for something a little stronger to start — a Pimms Cup.
I will digress from food for a moment, to tell you how lovely Maura has handled the beverage menu. First thing – beer flights! She has four different 6-oz tastings for $12. This includes a few IPA and a variety of local ales. By the glass, she has an excellent variety of white and reds by the glass — not just one or two of each which wine drinkers will appreciate. She realizes the neighborhood has a variety of tastes so the wine menu reflects that. There are sweet and dry in both categories of red and white. In the cocktail category, she also has put a variety of items. She has not concentrated on just vodka as many places do, she has covered all the alcohols including gins, bourbons, rums and tequilas. One of my favorites is the Pimms Cup. A classic in the UK, it is tough — OK, almost impossible really — to find a good one this side of the pond. This is excellent and worth a trip to the bar. Much cheaper than airfare to London, this London cocktail has a mix of ginger beer, muddled orange, Pimm’s, and mint. It is lovely refreshment in the summer but in winter, it hits the spot well. She has a manhattan made with Koval Rye. If you like manhattans, you will enjoy this with rye as it is a refreshing change. Looking to snuggle up for a light dinner with a glass of red? One of her best selections is a Guy Chaumont Pinot Noir from France. No — it is not the most expensive thing under the red wine. It is actually one of the cheapest. Invibe and have more than one glass. Beautifully dry, it has a peppery finish that stands out and tantalizes the tongue. It is perfect with cheese.
For this winter – a comfort food sensation.
With winter approaching, you may want something warm and filling. Do the Red Chili Braised Short Ribs. It is similar to pot roast in texture and comes with goat cheese white polenta. At first glance, the polenta looks like mashed potatoes, but the taste is better. It holds up to the ribs in flavor and will stick to yours. The ribs have just the right and meld well with the goat cheese. The menu feels like one is dining in a more upscale restaurant when looking at the left side. When you look at the right side of the menu column, one is pleasantly surprised at the prices.
The vibe of the place is fun. The patio is a definitive hit in the summer. The new menu and beverage options make the setting complete. It’s a good place to hold up while the winter is brewing. If you are thinking about the holidays, no fear. Feast makes a meal guys will love and ladies will enjoy.
Sad News: Covid killed this spot after a 20 year existence. It is sad how many restaurants in Chicago have come to the end of the road.