From Bagels to Hashes, Restaurateur Leaves Damen Avenue, Heads West

By Alisa Hauser on February 15, 2013 11:12am 

 Maggie McCoy, 31, formerly a partner with the now-closed Bagel on Damen, hopes to open Hash, a casual 1970s-themed eatery at 1357 N. Western Ave. at the end of February or early March.
Maggie McCoy, 31, formerly a partner with the now-closed Bagel on Damen, hopes to open Hash, a casual 1970s-themed eatery at 1357 N. Western Ave. at the end of February or early March.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

WEST TOWN — Tired of long lines for brunch on Wicker Park's 'young SoHo'-esque stretch of Milwaukee Avenue?

"Head west!," says Maggie McCoy, 31, the owner of Hash, a new 1970s-themed eatery with avocado green walls that specializes in vegan and meat breakfast hashes.

McCoy has brought on chef Jon Gorecki (who left Karyn's on Green in January) to head up the new venture on the southwest corner of Hirsch Street and Western Avenue.

Referring to Gorecki as "a vegetable whisperer," McCoy said Hash plans to court the weekday breakfast and lunch and weekend brunch crowds when it opens at the end of February or early March.

McCoy, a former partner with now-shuttered Bagel on Damen, said she was asked by real estate developer Mark Sutherland — her former landlord at Bagel on Damen — if she'd be interested in forming a new concept restaurant at 1357 N. Western Ave., previously home to the Bismark Restaurant.

Enter Hash.  Comprised of leftovers such as end cuts of meat such as roast and corned beef and a potato, the dish is "in every culture."

Though in Chicago "few restaurants have been able to do hashes well," McCoy said.

Hash will offer at least six versions: Three will be meat-based and three vegan or vegetarian.  The hashes will be available in one- or two-egg options, either handmade in a wrap or in a bowl.

Joaquin Soler, founder of the Brown Bag Lunch Truck, is "the meat man" and Hash consultant.

In addition to hashes, which can be washed down with coffee or soft drinks (Hash is BYOB), the menu is expected to include salads and chicken, corned beef, grilled cheese and pork shoulder sandwiches. 

Emphasis will be on "quick, affordable hot breakfast options in a carry-out scenario," along with space for 24 dine-in customers at booths and two top tables  There will be additional seating along salvaged church pews, too.

The average guest check will be around $8 or $9, McCoy said.

Delivery will eventually be added after the opening month's kinks get worked out and will be geared toward "those people that simply cannot get off their couch."

Hash's hours will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily to begin with.

Dinner hours will be added, "if the needs of the neighborhood point to it," McCoy said.

Psychedelic tunes from the Grateful Dead and other '60s and '70s bands will be the music of choice, played on vinyl, she said.

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