BUCKTOWN — Royal Grocer & Co. plans to open Thursday night in the former Red Door at the northwest corner of Damen and Charleston avenues in Bucktown.
Owners Dave Wiemke, Clint Meranda and Michael Hartman say the dinner and weekend brunch spot at 2118 N. Damen Ave. will strive to be a neighborhood hangout with a big, dog-friendly patio.
There is no actual grocer in the 80-seat restaurant — with room for 100 more on an outdoor patio. But the name refers to the 1920s when the storefront was home to the Royal Blue grocer, which was part of a small neighborhood grocery chain.
Royal Grocer & Co's menu was devised by chef Rob Shaner, who was most recently at Homestead on the Roof in West Town.
"Though we are vegetable focused, it's not exclusively vegetarian. I still cook with animal fat. I want people to feel good when they leave and not stuffed," Shaner previously said.
Shaner and sous chef Maureen Neer focus on seasonal ingredients and French-influenced dishes. The vegetable-focused menu will change week to week and sometimes even daily, depending on what's available from a roster of farms such as Genesis, Werp, Iron Creek and Nichols.