ANDERSONVILLE — When two Boystown staples opened their doors unofficially in Andersonville over the weekend, owners weren't sure what to expect.
"We expected it to be a soft opening, but the whole neighborhood came out. We had a huge crowd for brunch and they came in all afternoon. It was a great weekend," said owner Mark Liberson, who moved into Andersonville about a year ago, and has "always been attracted" to the neighborhood.
"I kept hearing from friends that they would appreciate if I would open something in the area that they could enjoy closer to their home. So it was a natural connection to take the concept of Replay, which I thought would be well received by the community, and add into it the food element, which based upon this last weekend has been extremely well-received," Liberson said. "We wanted it to be a fun and comfortable place that people would enjoy and want to come to on a regular basis."
Replay Andersonville, 5358 N. Clark St., and Elixir Lounge Andersonville, 1509 W. Balmoral Ave., will host a grand opening in the neighborhood at 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Replay, a bar, restaurant and arcade, will serve contemporary American cuisine, offer 26 craft beers and an extensive bourbon selection. The bar features reclaimed wood, exposed brick, 14 high-definition TVs and a mural created by local artist David Andora. The 2,300-square foot venue, plus a patio, will seat 144, according to a news release.
Arcade games at the venue are free, except for pinball, which will cost $1 per game. Games include Ms. Pac Man, Dig Dug, Galaga, NFL Blitz, Double Dragon, Gorf, Mortal Kombat II, Mario Bros, Joust and Tapper. Unlike the Near North Side outpost, Replay Andersonville will serve food, including breakfast and brunch options on the weekends and lunch and dinner options all week long.
The keyword when creating the menu was "awesome," according to Chef Steve Farbstein.
"What we’re really trying to do is awesome simple food, but technique driven... Something that makes sense on a plate, looks nice and eats very well. The whole vibe of this place is awesome," Farbstein said. "Our front-of-the-house staff really wants to take care of everybody and that’s what we want to do with our sandwiches and our burgers."
Lunch and dinner options include signature salads, build-your-own burgers and sandwiches. Diners can also look forward to chef-driven specials, late-night dining options and a children's menu. Some personal chef favorites include a Berkshire pork chop, grass-fed natural flat iron steak and bacon waffles with black pepper butter, sea salt and black cherry bourbon syrup.
All dishes will be made in house, using sustainably raised and locally sourced ingredients when possible. Fresh pressed juice will serve as a nutritious start to the day or make a great addition to a brunch cocktail, according to a news release.
"Expect things like meatloaf, but smoked. Something people know they can approach, but at the same time the flavors are going to be unfamiliar. We’re adding a little bit of soy sauce and sesame oil to our hummus. We’re taking traditional things and using French technique and American flavor and Southwest [flavor]. We’re kind of drawing from all over," Farbstein said.
As for Elixir Lounge Andersonville, expect "premium concoctions" from mixologist Vlad Novikov showcasing "eclectic, fresh ingredients in accessible and delicious way," according to a news release.
"To me, Elixir is an adult cocktail lounge, a place where you can go with friends, enjoy cocktails, have a date, just really unwind and feel comfortable. I think we all need that in our lives," Liberson said. “We’re excited to bring Andersonville residents a new haven that celebrates the art of fine cocktails. [It's] ideal for a date, casual night out with friends or a private party to celebrate a special occasion."
Novikov will be creating his own signature cordials "alcohol infused with powerful expressions of concentrated flavors meant to be enjoyed on their own" including Bacon Whiskey, Black Garlic-infused Polugar and Violete Limoncello, the news release said.
“Each of our cocktails tell a story,” said Novikov. “We encourage our guests to experiment and want them to taste how passionate we are about delivering creative drinks that highlight unique ingredients in an accessible way.”
The lounge will exclusively feature several artisan cocktails: "Flower Power, featuring candied hibiscus; Pretty in Pink, the perfect summer drink for sipping on the patio, made with specialty vermouths; and, Swedish Dream, which pays homage to the neighborhood’s Swedish roots and features lingonberry syrup," the news release said.
The 1,000-square-foot space, which shares a kitchen and bathrooms with Replay, was created to be inviting and intimate, officials said. The new bar will also serve small plates such as a charcuterie on a menu they plan to debut next month, Novikov said.
"Andersonville has so many restaurants, so we thought we'd be a good before- or after-dinner spot," Novikov said.
Both bars will share an outdoor patio.
Replay Andersonville features free arcade games and a huge beer list. [Photos by DNAinfo/Josh McGhee]
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: