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The Winchester Opens by Selling Out of Liege Waffles

By Alisa Hauser | February 10, 2014 1:06pm
 The Winchester is now open at 1001 N. Winchester Ave. in East Village.
The Winchester
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EAST VILLAGE — A new restaurant is making quite an impression, if running out of waffles during its first Sunday brunch and rave reviews are any indication.

Between 250 and 275 diners flooded The Winchester on Sunday, with Liege waffles being the first menu item "to be 86'd" or sell out, said co-owner Dan Sheehy.

Liege waffles are yeast-based and cooked with sugar, making them sweet enough to eat plain. 

"It's great to be in the neighborhood. We're happy to see people come in," said Sheehy, adding that 80 to 90 percent of The Winchester's first customers were from the area.

Currently The Winchester, 1001 N. Winchester Ave., is serving breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday though Friday. On Saturdays and Sundays, brunch will be offered from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Its owners aim to eventually serve lunch and dinner.

 The Winchester, a new restaurant at 1001 N. Winchester Ave. in East Village.
The Winchester, a new restaurant at 1001 N. Winchester Ave. in East Village.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

Chef Greg Bastien works out of a second-floor kitchen adjacent to an area called "The Library," which has space for about 25 people. When it opens, it will serve as a private area for parties as well as a lounge for people on laptops, Sheehy said.

The brunch menu offers 13 items, including waffles, biscuits and gravy, fried black rice, and grains with butternut squash, coconut curry, fried egg and peanut.  

A breakfast sandwich with farm eggs, cheddar cheese, kale and peppers is on the menu as well as avocado toast, served as squares of bread with generous helpings of avocados mashed with a bit of grapefruit and sprinkled with chili pepper.

In addition to the main dishes, Quinoa hash browns, soft boiled egg and bacon or sausage can be added to any order.

So far, Yelp.com reviews are mostly all five stars. Member Amanda Z. described the waffles as "sweet and savory but not overly rich," while Matthew M. used the word "banging" to describe a smoke trout over pretzel.

The two-story building at the northeast corner of Winchester and Augusta is two blocks south of Division and three blocks south of Chicago, putting it between Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village.

Sheehy, who has also designed or rehabbed several other restaurants including The Dawson, Avec and Blackbird, previously used the front of the building as an office for his design firm, while the back had residential apartments.

Sheehy partnered with building owner Chris Pappas to develop The Winchester aiming to create what Sheehy called "a neighborhood place, not over-conceptualized and not over-thinking the name."

In November, the restaurant exceeded its goal of raising $20,000 on Kickstarter. The crowd-sourced campaign promoted The Winchester as "wake up, dine in and take-out."

The Winchester hopes to start serving liquor and beer in the next two months .

To wash everything down, The Winchester serves Bow Truss coffee on drip and Metric Coffee Roasters' espresso, as well as tea from Rare Tea Sellers and Nessalla Kombucha. Its soda is from Season's Sparkling and does not have additives or preservatives.

The Winchester, 1001 N. Winchester Ave. Hours are 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.  Ph: 773-698-8703.