LAKEVIEW — Another barbecue joint may be opening up in Lakeview, this time with a Nashville focus.
A crew is looking to open Whiskey Grill in the old home of Rookies and Fly Me to the Moon, 3401 N. Sheffield Ave. The restaurant would serve barbecue with a Jack Daniels-based sauce, said Jeff Zehner, a restaurant consultant on the project.
And despite being so close to Wrigleyville's Clark Street bars, Whiskey Grill will be "neighborly and family-friendly," Zehner said. The small restaurant, which has room for 99 people, would also target take-out orders.
"We hope to operate a take-out business that will supply families, people getting on and off the train," he said. "That's going to be a big part of our focus."
Zehner, owner James Neuman and attorney Dean Maragos pitched the concept to Hawthorne Neighbors recently in hopes of gaining approval for a liquor license and sidewalk cafe.
Neuman is committed investing $400,000 to renovate the space with a "Southern, rustic flavor," Maragos and Neuman said.
Whiskey Grill's menu is still being planned, but most items won't be more than $12. It will also feature kids menu items priced at $5 or $6. Chef Dietrick Cooper previously worked for a catering company and as a bartender at Mahoney's Pub and Grill, 551 N. Ogden Ave.
Neuman hopes to open the restaurant by April or May.
Neighbors pointed out that the neighborhood has had a spate of barbecue restaurants open recently, including Milt's Barbecue for the Perplexed, Wrigley BBQ and Old Crow Smokehouse. One of them, Sweet Baby Ray's, closed shortly after it opened.
"We're just going to have to come up with a better product than they are," Zehner said. "If we have a great product, you're going to come."
Hawthorne Neighbors, whose vote acts as an advisory to Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), ultimately approved the liquor license but opted to wait on the sidewalk cafe license until a few months after the restaurant opens.