Chicago empire-builder and multiple Beard Award winner Paul Kahan unleashes his newest restaurant tonight: Called Publican Anker, it’s a highly anticipated spinoff of the beloved Publican, a casual haven of beer and pork products that’s been serving diners at communal tables since 2009.
Kahan’s restaurant group, One Off Hospitality, is also the driving force behind seven other big-time Chicago hits, including acclaimed cocktail bar The Violet Hour, late-night taco hot spot Big Star, and Mediterranean-influenced small plates restaurant Avec.
Located on the same Wicker Park block as four other One Off concepts, Eater Chicago reports Publican Anker is being posited as a “neighborhood tavern.” Fittingly, there will be a burger and wings, but they’re done Kahan-style — “the chicken wings are made with opal basil, burnt chili and yogurt” and the burger is “seasoned with porcini mushroom powder and herbs de Provence” before being slathered in special sauce and American cheese.
And unlike the average neighborhood bar, the menu will also be veg-heavy, with unusual preparations such as grilled cucumbers with ricotta and “barbecue vegetables” served with ranch.
Publican Anker will continue the beer hall vibe of the OG Publican with some communal tables in the back room, while the main room’s got counter seating and wood booths perfectly situated for people-watching out massive windows. A rock-and-roll soundtrack will be provided by a vinyl record player behind the bar.
This is the third spinoff of the perpetually popular Publican: The first, a butcher-bakery operation called Publican Quality Meats, slings elevated deli fare like porchetta sandwiches, and there’s also a Publican Tavern stationed at O’Hare Airport. Considering the runaway success of these concepts, it’s no wonder veteran restaurateur Kahan has decided to grow the family again.