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Haywood Tavern Announces Plans for Bustling Humboldt Park Intersection

By Darryl Holliday | August 25, 2014 12:34pm | Updated on August 25, 2014 1:21pm
 The Haywood Tavern will toward the end of this year at the corner of California Ave. and Augusta Blvd.
The Haywood Tavern will toward the end of this year at the corner of California Ave. and Augusta Blvd.
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DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday

HUMBOLDT PARK — An intersection quickly becoming an epicenter of new development in Humboldt Park will see another restaurant open at the end of this year when The Haywood Tavern joins the bustling corner of California Avenue and Augusta Boulevard.

In addition to two new restaurants in the works from restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff, owners Rodney Staton and longtime Humboldt Park resident Jason Balutan say they plan to begin construction of The Haywood Tavern at 2759 W. Augusta Blvd., in September followed by a grand opening at the end of the year.

The new restaurant and bar sits on the southeast corner of California Avenue and Augusta Boulevard, kitty-corner from the California Clipper, which was recently bought by Sodikoff. Word of The Haywood Tavern, a collaboration between owners of High Dive and Rocking Horse, first leaked in June but an official announcement was made Monday.

“The name is an homage or tip of the cap to what Jason and I call our extended family,” Staton said. The new site will be a “modern tavern” designed “to be a good neighborhood spot.”

The restaurant, a project long in the works between decade-long friends, features two rooms with seating for 50-55 people. The drink menu will be mostly beer-focused paired with a rotating food menu with European influences and Midwestern ingredients.

Balutan, a 14-year resident of Humboldt Park, got his start in the restaurant business bartending at the California Clipper under its former owner, Gino Battaglia, so he said the location holds special importance.

"It’s the kind of place Rodney and I have always talked about. The kind of place where we like to hang out," he said. "And to be able to open across the corner from the Clipper is really amazing to me."

"I want people to feel welcome, like a tavern you’ve been going to for a while," he added. "I want people to feel like they're regulars."

While the bar will serve whiskey and gin-focused cocktails, Balutan said the menu will "range between high-end taste and a low-end budget," and will "offer people the in-between," he said. "You can have a whole meal, or you can have a whole fish and [Miller] High Life, if you want." 

According to Staton, a similar approach will be taken with the restaurant's food menu.

“We want to be smart and responsible of the food we buy — treat it in a very good, simple way,” Staton said. “We use the word rustic … but that conjures up images of something that doesn’t mean what it's supposed to mean. It’s just about treating the food responsibly with straight-forward flavors.”

The Haywood Tavern will be bounded on the west by Rootstock and an upcoming Sodikoff restaurant slated for an auto muffler shop, and on the north by the home of Knockbox Cafe, which will close in October.

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