The owners of DryHop Brewers, the popular Lakeview brewpub that opened six years ago, are getting close to opening a second brewery next door that will serve pizza and fancy cocktails. Pending inspections, Roebuck should open on September 5 at 3159 N. Broadway. This is Greg Shuff’s third brewpub, as he plans to open a fourth later this year downtown.
Last year, Shuff traveled to Naples, Italy to learn the secrets of Neapolitan pizza. Few teachers admitted students who didn’t speak Italian. But he found one restaurant, Michelin-starred La Notizia, that would teach him. He enrolled in a six-week course and earned VPN certification.
During his time in Italy, he gained a disdain for the pizza organization which is known for its stringent rules including revoking membership if a restaurant offers pizza to go.
“Don’t tell me what to do!” Shuff said, adding that Roebuck will eventually offer carry outs.
Roebuck won’t serve pure Neapolitan pies. Shuff calls his thin-crust pizzas “neo-Neapolitan,” a hybrid comparable to Roberta’s, a renowned pizzeria in New York. He’s even consulting with Anthony Falco, a former pizza chef at the Brooklyn restaurant. The third prong of the pizza team is Nick Averill. He fine tuned his bread skills with James Beard Award-wining baker Greg Wade of Publican Quality Bread.
The crusts are baked in an imported in Pavesi Moderna wood-burning oven. He compares Roebuck’s crust to sourdough. While he didn’t share the menu, he did say he’s fond of toppings including tallegio, clams, and pistachio. This will be more of a classic Italian spot. No pepperoni to start, but plenty of cured meats like sopressata.
DryHop caters to the IPA crowd, and at Roebuck there’s a focus on lagers with four beers on tap. It won’t have growlers. Shuff wants Roebuck to have its own identity and bring cocktails more into the forefront. Sam Ruppert, the general manager at DryHop, moonlights as a bartender. Roebuck GM Sarah Hevla worked with famous bartender Paul McGee’s (Lost Lake) staff at the venues inside the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel downtown. Shuff said they want to move away from classic drinks with nine cocktails on the menu.
“There isn’t a good place nearby to get a good cocktail,” Shuff said, pointing out that Barrelhouse Flat in Lincoln Park may have been the closest spot for upscale drinks. It recently closed.
Roebuck’s space is a former parking garage. It still needs some work, but visitors can still see the coils right below the ceilings that would pull up the doors. It features a rectangle copper-top bar with about 80 seats throughout the space. It doesn’t have any TVs, but there is a DJ booth to the left that will feature a 100-percent vinyl playlist. Shuff likes the sound, as staff also plays records at his other Lakeview brewpub, Corridor Brewery & Provisions on Southport. Customers have responded positively.
“It’s amazing how much people care where the music’s source comes from,” he said.
Some may wonder why Shuff is opening a restaurant next to DryHop. He reminds Chicagoans that Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ runs several Lincoln Park restaurant near Halsted and Armitage. One Off Hospitality Group has four near Wicker Park’s main intersection at Damen/Milwaukee/North.
Shuff told the Tribune earlier this year he had plans to open as many as 40 brewpubs, and that’s still the case, he said. Crushed By Giants, located on Michigan Avenue, should open by the end of the year. Shuff doesn’t have a name for his burgeoning restaurant company, but he plans to look for locations for his fifth and sixth brewpubs in 2020.
Earlier this year, Shuff hired Ryan Henderson, the opening chef at Income Tax in Edgewater as his corporate chef. He’s trying to disarm stigmas that food is only an afterthought at a brewpub.
“Why can’t we have a stellar culinary team as well as first-rate beer?” Shuff said.
Check back for updates later this month.