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Hunter & Tails Brings Ampersand Gastropub Trend to Humboldt Park

By Victoria Johnson | November 5, 2013 9:06am

HUMBOLDT PARK — Add another one to the list in the Chicago ampersand club: Hunter & Tails has opened in Humboldt Park, specializing in "beer and comfort food," according to its owner.

The new gastropub at 2700 W. Chicago Ave. joins the likes of Longman & Eagle, Owen & Engine and Bangers & Lace in making the ampersand an accessory to (ideally) good food and good beer.

If arriving a couple years later than the pack, Hunter & Tails is following their lead with a relatively straightforward meat and potatoes-esque menu and a long beer list — 20 on tap and 50 cans and bottles.

Owner Francisco "Paco" Ruiz is taking a different tack with his new place than from his other Humboldt Park bar, Bullhead Cantina, and its popular No Bulls--t Special, consisting of a taco, shot and a tallboy for $6.

"As a cancer survivor, I wanted to focus more on healthy food," he said. The 44-year-old has been cancer-free for 17 years.

Ruiz said he's always wanted to open a restaurant with healthier options. He's been cooking healthy at home ever since his bout with Hodgkin's lymphoma, something he credits for his survival.

So, along with a burger and steak made from local, grass-fed beef, Hunter & Tails' menu features salads made of organic greens or beets, sides of sautéed kale and a grilled portobello torte among other vegetable-based dishes.

The menu emphasizes that the ingredients are sourced from sustainable farms and lists all of them on the menu.

"Everything here is local from the Midwest, and the animals are grass-fed only," Ruiz said.

Though the entrees, costing $10 to $28, may be a little higher than similar bars, Ruiz said it's worth it when it comes to eating well.

"The food is a little bit pricey, we understand that. But it's cheaper than a doctor bill," he said.

As for the Humboldt Park location, Ruiz said he thinks it may be the new hot spot soon enough.

"There's a lot of potential here," he said. "Why try to into Wicker Park or Bucktown? I'd rather get into a new area, then let other people follow."