Created through the partnership of longtime friends and industry veterans Nancy Silver (Blackbird, Firefly, Charlie Trotter’s) and Chris Pappas (The Winchester, Sepia, Mia Francesca, Soul Kitchen, Red Light, Old Town Social), Americano 2211, Wicker Park, Chicago’s new boutique restaurant and bar inspired by European street cafes, officially launched to the public on April 13.
Located in the heart of Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, Americano 2211 will initially open doors as an inviting, walk-up counter service cafe serving breakfast and lunch exclusively, but in the forthcoming months the venue will expand hours as an all-day restaurant adding evening bar and aperitif service. In opening Americano 2211, Pappas and Silver have made strategic updates to the interior of the beloved former Birchwood Kitchen space to keep the signature vibe in tact. The 1,200-square-foot eatery seats 45 and features wraparound barstool seating in the front atrium, low top tables as well as ample counter space where guests can pull up a stool and dine side by side.
"The name is a play on a European café … but ironically called Americano," says co-owner Chris Pappas. "Americano 2211 is reflective of true European café culture. Almost anywhere you go overseas there's a café where people gather from morning until late at night. Cell phones and laptops are put away; it’s just people talking over an espresso or a glass of wine. We want to recreate that same charm here in Wicker Park."
The venue’s opening hours will kick off daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with breakfast and lunch menus designed by Executive Chef Fred Noinaj. A Chicago native and up-and-coming-talent-to-watch, Noinaj returns to the city fresh off the Austin food truck scene and has spent time in the kitchens of avec and Analogue training under several of the area's top chefs.
Silver’s famous, from-scratch pastries will feature a balance of morning to evening options ranging from sweet to savory and everything in between. Perched atop the massive marble slab pastry counter, selections such as Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes, Rosemary-Sea Salt Biscuits, Cocoa-Crème Fraiche Coffee Cake and a rotating daily quiche will be available for dine-in or guests on-the-go.
The breakfast menu will boast an array of traditional American morning dishes such as soft scrambled egg and schug biscuit sandwiches, as well as European-inspired breakfast items like Burrata with savory eggplant jam, and Khlia grilled “beef jerky,” served with fried eggs, pickled peppers, and grilled bread. True to its name, Americano 2211 will also present an extensive coffee and tea program, with hand crafted espresso beverages from Intelligentsia and fresh brewed Kilogram tea.
For lunch, Americano 2211 will showcase fresh, Mediterranean influenced small plates such as a Pearled Barley Salad with pickled shallots, charred carrots, frisee, ginger, and a sumac-currant vinaigrette, a spiced lentil and kale soup, and a lineup of artisan sandwiches like the Seared Halloumi or the Open Faced Cured White Anchovies Sandwich served with shaved red onion, herbs, chili, mustard oil, and grilled bread.
Just in time for warmer weather, guests can look forward to dining al fresco in Americano 2211’s ivy canopied outdoor back patio, which will seat 30. In addition to the upcoming dinner menu, an assortment of Snookelfritz ice creams and sorbets including Grapefruit-Prosecco Sorbet and Coffee ice cream with red wine cherries and crushed amaretti, as well as an evening bar and wine/aperitif program are slated to debut at Americano 2211 this summer.