BUCKTOWN — Steps from Bucktown's Churchill Park, where come June you can hop on or off The 606's elevated Bloomingdale Trail, Presidio, a craft cocktail lounge and restaurant, is set to open Thursday in the former Bluebird spot.
Chef Shaun Connolly's opening week menu offers an array of unique small plates such as rabbit confit salad and a foie parfait juxtaposed with comfort food dishes like chicken, burgers and pork chops.
Two bone-in pork chops with sweet and sour bacon, braised cabbage and pears.
Cullen, a San Francisco native, named Presidio after San Francisco's National Park of the same name, which overlooks the Golden Gate bridge.
Cullen said the venture has brought 20 new jobs to the neighborhood and the goal is to continue Bluebird's tradition of attracting local residents.
"We want it to still have a great neighborhood vibe. Presidio is not strictly a restaurant; it's designed for people to stay awhile and lounge, for business meetings and groups," he said.
Cullen added, "There are a lot of options for a beer and a shot in Wicker Park and Bucktown, a lot of fast-casual, and we wanted to hit a more adult demographic, more elevated and refined."
The beer menu offers two draft beers from California breweries and one beer, "Kidnapped by Vikings," an American IPA from Naperville-based Solemn Oath Brewery.
Presidio will serve up nine custom cocktails such as a Pisco Punch and Fools Rush In, a blend of whiskey, maple soy and orange blossom water.
A Banana Cobbler combines sherry, bananas, nutmeg and syrup.
(l.) Fools Rush in, Banana Cobbler:
There are several red and white wines from California's wine country as well as rose, Japanese sake and Fernet, an Italian bitter amaro.
The front of Presidio, designed by John Wolf, a friend of Cullen who usually specializes in residential homes, is packed with comfy couches facing a 22-seat bar.
The back dining room, which seats 42, has a community table in the center and long tables, similar to Bluebird.
A Royale burger, made with a beef patty topped with cheddar cheese on a brioche bun with a pickle and onion rings.
Desserts, from Broken Tart Bakery, include Meyer lemon olive oil cake with citrus glaze and scoops of blackberry balsamic sorbet.
Coffee is provided by Sparrow Coffee Roastery, while Rare Tea Cellars offers six varieties of tea, including Bourbon Vanilla Chai and Emperor's Mint Chocolate.
Prices start at $4 for a plate of olives and top out at $29 for an 8-ounce steak with potatoes and house made Giardinera.
When the nearby Bloomingdale Trail, a 2.7-mile-long elevated path running through four neighborhoods, including Bucktown, opens, Presidio will add weekend brunch hours too, Cullen said.
Presidio, 1749 N. Damen Ave. Hours are 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Closed Mondays. Ph: 773-697-3315.