Though it had been scheduled to open in October, it looks like it may take a little longer for Piggyback Tavern, Forest Park's street's newest restaurant (410 Circle), to start serving up food and drink. This delay isn't too surprising: I've rarely seen a restaurant actually open on its scheduled due date. Putting up a restaurant is a big job; it almost always seems to take more time than expected.
Rachel Dennis, who also owns Oak Park's Lake Street Kitchen + Bar, is presenting Piggyback as a BBQ place, with a wood-fired grill and a focus on beer and tequila. Sounds pretty safe, and Oak Park currently has a deficiency of BBQ places, with legendary Charlie Robinson perhaps scaring off a lot of potential competitors (his name being synonymous with Oak Park Q).
Chef Jason Kurosaki, currently at Lake Street Kitchen Bar and formerly of Paul Kahan's highly regarded avec, is going to stick to simple, satisfying chow: "flavor and comfort sells. Food can be exciting and creative as well, but if it doesn't inspire the taste buds, who wants it?"
Much like Kahan's Publican – and about a dozen other places that have opened in Chicago in the past few years – Piggyback is going to offer community tables (as well as smaller seating arrangements). I'm guessing the big group tables will be popular; after dark, Madison street roils with lusty young pub crawlers, and being able to sit together at a big table is probably going to appeal to that demographic.
When it does open, Piggyback will be doing busienss every day of the week, and weekends until 3AM, catering I'm guessing to well-baked boozers who can use a little belly ballast before sailing home to sleep well.
Lake Street Kitchen Bar was probably one of the best things to happen recently at the intersection of Lake and Marion, the Land of a Thousand Franchises. I'm a little sorry Dennis didn't open a place like Piggyback in Oak Park, but it's hard to argue with the logic of a location in the local late-night party hood.