WICKER PARK — It is shaping up to be a delicious Valentine's Day weekend for more than just couples, with group-style brunches and dinners courting friends and families coming to two Wicker Park restaurants.
On Saturday, Trenchermen, 2039 W. North Ave., brings a new brunch menu to its dining room — a first for the restaurant, which normally considers Saturday mornings "a kickback, let's-hang-at-the-bar kind of thing," according to the eatery's blog.
"We haven't opened the dining room for eating at brunch, but rather encouraged a low key service at our bar [on Saturday]. The one caveat to it all? It's not easy for groups of family and friends to go out for brunch when nestled up at a bar," the restaurant wrote.
So, this Saturday, diners can enjoy Trenchermen's full menu at the bar or in the dining room, along with new brunch additions such as chicken-fried steak with biscuits and gravy and a French toast and sausage "tower" with blood orange puree.
A new brunch dessert called "Open Mouth Laughing" or Chinese sesame doughnuts, can be washed down with a "Wake & Bake" cocktail made of Bow Truss coffee, coffee liqueur and Kringle, a cream liqueur from Wisconsin.
Bow Truss is Trenchermen's guest roaster for the month of February.
In addition to new dishes, other Trencherman standbys such as a pretzel cinnamon roll and bacon-stuffed bacon breakfast egg sandwich will be available, too.
Trenchermen's brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday (new) as well as Sunday. Make reservations online or call 773-661-1540.
Up the street, Azzurra EnoTavola, an Italian restaurant at 1467 N. Milwaukee Ave., has launched a "Sunday Supper" offering a traditional, family-style feast made up of a four-course dinner of regional homemade Italian cuisine.
During February, Azzurra is putting a spotlight on dishes from the Tuscan region of Italy, followed by Sicily in March and Lazio (Rome) in April.
"We've had a great reception from the neighborhood since opening in Wicker Park this fall," said owner Marty Fosse. "We've really been listening to what our guests want in a local, Italian restaurant and with our new Sunday Suppers, friends and families alike will be able to enjoy a special, affordable menu featuring our house-made Italian cuisine."
February's dinner includes an Antipisti Misti appetizer with sliced local soppressata, mozzarella and crostini, followed by two choices of homemade pasta, either cavatelli, a small pasta shell with tomato and parmesan cheese, or orecchiette, an ear-shaped pasta that derives its name from the Italian word for ear.
Entrees include a choice of polpettone (beef and pork loaf), filled with prosciutto, carrots and spinach with parmigiano potatoes or polenta-crusted whitefish with potatoes. Both dishes offer a side of Swiss chard gratin. A final course of house-made desserts ends the dinner.
Reservations can be made online or by calling the restaurant at 773-278-5959. Prices are $23 for adults; $12 for children ages 8 to 12. All dishes will be served family-style, and participation of the entire table is required. Dine-in only.