HUMBOLDT PARK — The long-awaited Haywood Tavern opened Saturday night to a full house at the bustling corner of California Avenue and Augusta Boulevard.
The April 25 grand opening was a “very flattering and very humbling” experience, co-owner and head chef Rodney Staton said Monday during a tour of the newest shop on a rapidly changing corner in Humboldt Park that includes new and upcoming projects from Brendan Sodikoff, Rootstock and Dinah Grossman of Cheap Tart Bakery as well.
The Haywood Tavern décor features work from local artists and an open interior design, with a focus on ease of service and mobility between two sections of the bar and restaurant, which includes an open kitchen in the back.
A nearly 20-by-20-foot outdoor patio is also in the works, Station said — so stay tuned for details as the weather warms and the Haywood crew transitions what is a parking lot into what they hope will be a summer hotspot.
Take a look at the playfully curated beer and wine selection here, at the pub's website, for more info on drink creations like "The Sneeze Guard," a whiskey-based cocktail.
The tavern is a longtime dream of Staton's — an East Garfield Park resident — and co-owner Jason Balutan, a 15-year resident of Humboldt Park. The decade-long friends met while playing kickball at Humboldt Park proper and began eyeing property at the California and Augusta intersection about six years ago, Staton said.
After beginning the process of locking down the building at 2759 W. Augusta Blvd. nearly two years ago, Staton and Balutan signed a lease for the space in December 2013.
Balutan got his start in the restaurant business bartending at the California Clipper under its former owner, Gino Battaglia, so he said the location held 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 in August 2014. "And to be able to open across the corner from the Clipper is really amazing to me."
As part of the new California and Augusta intersection, The Haywood Tavern will be bounded by Rootstock and an upcoming project from Brendan Sodikoff directly to the east, a soon-to-open pie shop, the California Clipper, the newly-opened C.C. Ferns Coffee shop kitty corner to the northwest and an upcoming collaborative project from Rootstock directly to the north.
“I think if we stay true to ourselves it’ll be good for the neighborhood,” Staton said of the changes happening at the intersection and Haywood's place on the block in particular.
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