At El Hefe This May, Beef Cheeks and Burgers Are Boss

After starting the Mexican bar and restaurant in Arizona, Jon Wright brings the party to a new Chicago location.

Tavit Daniel

The Hefe Hamburguesa: Angus beef, grilled onions, roasted red peppers, roasted poblanos, jalapeño marmalade, and chipotle mayo.

El Hefe (15 W. Hubbard St., no phone yet), is named with a phonetic spelling of el jefe, Spanish for “the boss.” The Arizona-based bar/restaurant’s second location is slated to come to Chicago in May.

Both here and in Arizona, el jefe of El Hefe is Jon Wright, a native of northwest-suburban Cary who attended Arizona State and then planted his hospitality business’s flag out there. Now returning to the homestead, Wright plans to establish Chicago as a second headquarters, beginning with El Hefe and its Mexican menu, including braised beef cheeks, burgers, duck carnitas, tortas, and the Sonoran-style hot dog.

Table taps and chatty bartenders will contribute to a bibulous ambiance, especially at a weekly party from 4 to 10 p.m. Sundays. “[It’s a] party for young professional business people who have work on Monday but still want to party on Sundays,” Wright says. “A pretty cool party. More of a party atmosphere than anything.”

If everything clicks with El Hefe, Wright says he plans to bring another Arizona concept, Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, to Chicago as well. With El Hefe so close to Boss Bar at Hubbard and Clark, all we need for an official trend is an Italian joint called Padrone.

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