WICKER PARK — After a summer of anticipation, a retro diner from the makers of Big Star opened Monday.
"Good morning Chicago, we are officially open and ready to feed you," Dove's Luncheonette posted on its Facebook page early Monday.
Commuters en route to the CTA Blue Line "L" station in Wicker Park on Monday likely noticed that the diner, which took over the shuttered Cipollina cafe storefront at 1545 N. Damen Ave., was open, though most of those commuters had to dash off to jobs.
But if you happen to be around during the day Monday, you could snag one of the 41 stools inside the cozy diner, which features brown and white tiled floors, and vintage photos lining the wall, along with a jukebox that plays 60s and 70s soul and blues.
Alisa Hauser says the menu provides all sorts of diner "comfort" foods with a modern twist:
Sharing an alley with music club Double Door and just across the way from the CTA Damen Blue Line "L" station, Dove's offers up Mexican-inspired soul food morning, noon and night and draws its name from a character in Nelson Algren's novel "A Walk on the Wild Side." It also serves Dark Matter coffee and Mezcal and tequila-focused drinks.
The diner "draws inspiration from the neighborhood's bygone watering holes to create a place where folks from all walks of life can converge over a cup of coffee and a great meal," according to a fact sheet issued Monday by the owners, One Off Hospitality.
Reached by email Monday, a spokeswoman for One Off Hospitality said that the luncheonette's hours will be abbreviated during the first few days of the eatery's opening, with Monday and Tuesday hours set for 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. before expanding to evening hours.
Led by Chef de Cuisine Dennis Bernard, the dishes at Dove's include plates of smoked brisket tacos, chicken fried chicken, marinated pork chops, tamales, chile rellenos and enchiladas, among others.
The dishes range in price from $11 to $13 and any of the plates can be topped with a fried egg for an extra dollar.
There is also ceviche and several salads and vegetarian options on the menu too, such as a pepper and potato hash and a yellow wax beans salad.
An extensive bar menu, created by Ben Fasman, offers six cocktails including a "Tequila Cobbler" with rotating seasonal ingredients, an "Uptown Shakedown" and a Bloody Mary made with smoked black pepper.
Fasman, a former bartender from Danny's Tavern and The Violet Hour, who most recently worked at nearby Big Star, will serve as Dove's Luncheonette's general manager and beverage director.
View the entire food and drink menu here, as well as more about the diner's inspirations, which include the long-closed but much-revered staple diners Busy Bee and Leo's Lunchroom.
The 1500 block of North Damen Avenue in Wicker Park is familiar terrain for One Off Hospitality, the parent company for chef Paul Kahan's group of restaurants (which also include Avec and Publican).
Dove's Luncheonette, 1545 N. Damen Ave. Hours are 7 a.m to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Credit cards are accepted. Ph: 773-645-4060.
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