Fifty/50 (2047 W. Division St.; 773-489-5050) in Wicker Park announced plans to open two new concepts in West Town, as reported in Metromix. Roots (1924 W. Chicago Ave.; no phone yet), a neighborhood bar with Quad Cities-style pizza…">

Dish Flash: The Fifty/50, Bleeding Heart Bakery Team Up in West Town

Greg Mohr and Scott Weiner, the co-owners of Fifty/50 (2047 W. Division St.; 773-489-5050) in Wicker Park announced plans to open two new concepts in West Town, as reported in Metromix. Roots (1924 W. Chicago Ave.; no phone yet), a neighborhood bar with Quad Cities-style pizza…

Greg Mohr and Scott Weiner, the co-owners of The Fifty/50 (2047 W. Division St.; 773-489-5050) in Wicker Park announced plans to open two new concepts in West Town, as reported in Metromix. Roots (1924 W. Chicago Ave.; no phone yet), a neighborhood bar with Quad Cities-style pizza, and Bleeding Heart Bakery and Café (1916 W. Chicago Ave.; no phone yet), an organic mecca with fresh bread and all-day breakfast, are scheduled to open on back-to-back weekends in March 2011. Dish spoke to Mohr and Michelle Garcia, one of the original co-owners of Bleeding Heart Bakery, to get the 411.

Dish: Let’s talk pizza first—it sounds like Chicagoans are in for a new pizza experience. What makes Quad City pizza different?
Greg Mohr: It’s hand-thrown dough, so definitely thin, but not superthin. Not crunchy, but chewy and malty, which makes it [taste] very different. Then a spice blend is added to the dough. Everything, even the sausage, will be made in-house. [The sausage is] crumbled to cover the whole pizza, and cheese covers everything.

D: If Chicago gets hot food trucks, would you be interested?
GM: We’re already looking into that, for [both] the pizza and the bakery. We do have a carryout window off to the side, with whole pizzas and slices.

D: How did the partnership with Bleeding Heart Bakery come to pass?
Michelle Garcia: I used to be a customer at Fifty/50 and became friends with Greg and Scott. I reached out [to them] for help because Bleeding Heart was getting too big for its britches. I’m a pastry chef and needed help with the business end. They had amazing ideas, and we decided to combine. I know how to make some damned good pastries, but I’m not good at marketing them—I know my skill set, and it belongs in the kitchen.

D: So what will the new bakery look like?
MG: The bakery will have a full line of breads for restaurants, for our own use, and also for retail. We are also going to have all-day breakfast—eggs, waffles, and pancakes. I am really [drawn] to diner-style and Southern foods. Every product that we use is certified organic or comes from a trusted local provider, and a lot of [menu items will be] vegan or gluten-free.

D: Can we get a sneak preview of something from your breakfast menu?
MG: Deep-fried doughnut sandwiches—the idea of a breakfast sandwich, where you can pick the bread, the meat, and the style of egg. But instead of bread, you are picking your doughnut, and then it’s tempura battered and fried.

D: That doesn’t sound too healthy.
MG: I never said healthy. Just because it’s organic does not mean healthy. I like good, hearty food [and] full, happy, smiling people.

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4 years ago
Posted by Neal Chicago

If it will be like 50/50 there should be no Roots on Winchester.

The proposal for a "massive" 200 seat plus 50 seat outdoor cafe serving 32 oz drinks spiked with liquor, with a late night food window and a large delivery presence is incompatible with a residential street.

4 years ago
Posted by Living on Chicago

Wow -- you've gotten around with this same comment! I think you've hit pretty much every story about this project.

4 years ago
Posted by Living on Chicago

Just to reiterate what I said on another site, I think the boundaries between commercial and residential streets have pretty much disappeared, particularly around the corners. Many people live on commercial streets, and those who live on residential streets might be wise to avoid commercial intersections, if they're worried about things like sidewalk cafes. Not sure what you have against the Fifty/50, though. Not my kind of place either, but it always seems pretty tame when I walk by it on Division.

4 years ago
Posted by Neal Chicago

I don't have anything against Fifty/50 but a Fifty/50 type place isn't appropriate for every location. Likewise, the Roots proposal is not inherently bad and drinking is legal but we all live in context. The location of the business as proposed may simply be inappropriate. The bulk of Roots proposed outdoor activities are on Winchester Avenue a residential street.

The proposal that is on the table is the proposal outlined in their press release. A late night pick up window (on Winchester), a 2 am bar, a 50 seat outdoor café (on Winchester) connected by garage door rolling windows open to the bar (again on Winchester), a large delivery presence (again on Winchester) pizza oven and kitchen exhaust that is not electric (again facing Winchester).

They should make modifications to the proposal to be good neighbors.

As for there being no distinction between residential and commercial streets. I just don't buy that one. Sounds like because you are "living on Chicago" and if that means Chicago Avenue you think everyone should put up with the same environment you have to deal with.

4 years ago
Posted by Living on Chicago

Yes, I do live on Chicago and am fully aware of the possibility that some undesired business may pop up nearby, but you also bought a place with a vacant building quite close by. Did you not think that it may eventually be developed? I'm not saying that residential streets should not be protected, but I am saying that there's no magic border between the residential and the commercial, and the building is on the corner of Chicago and Winchester. What type of business do you think would be more appropriate for that space? And has there been any interest in building that business?

From all I've seen from the business plans of Roots and Bleeding Heart, they DO mean to be good neighbors -- LEED certification, maintaining (and restoring) the original facades, etc. It may not all be to your liking, but, in the real world, it seems like the best possible use for two vacant buildings, and a real boost to the neighborhood!

4 years ago
Posted by Neal Chicago

Actually when I bought in the neighborhood both buildings were occupied by businesses that primarily served educational functions. Living on Chicago it seems that you are buying into an all or nothing approach with these proposals. Roots could be an appropriate business for the location if they make some accommodations so as not to disturb their future neighbors.

As for already being good neighbors, the problem with your analysis is that you are reading the two proposed business plans as if they are both promising the same outcome. The business plan for Bleeding Heart is great. Bleeding Heart plans to use efficient electric ovens that minimize exhaust that would disturb neighbors. Bleeding Heart will be seeking LEED certification. The Roots business plan makes no such commitments.

If Roots really is primarily a sit down restaurant and not a bar, it won't make any difference if they don't have the outdoor cafe open to the bar and it won't matter if the delivery and pick up window are moved to Chicago Avenue.

Here is an idea why not have Roots move to the interior building and Bleeding Heart occupies the corner building.

4 years ago
Posted by Molly B

As a Ukrainian Village resident of nearly 10 years, I am excited at the prospect of more business in the community. Good businesses are good for the neighborhood. I look at Andersonville as a shining example: great shops, restaurants and bars, and a fantastic place to live as well.

I'm always puzzled why people in urban areas are uncomfortable with new and exciting things happening around them. The reason I live in the city is for the hustle and bustle, later dining, sidewalk cafes, and interesting people. If I didn't want these things, I would live in the suburbs, where I could close myself off from exploration and meeting new people, and I can drive to Olive Garden.

Welcome Roots, and welcome back Bleeding Heart! Can't wait!!

4 years ago
Posted by Molly B

As a Ukrainian Village resident of nearly 10 years, I am excited at the prospect of more business in the community. Good businesses are good for the neighborhood. I look at Andersonville as a shining example: great shops, restaurants and bars, and a fantastic place to live as well.

I'm always puzzled why people in urban areas are uncomfortable with new and exciting things happening around them. The reason I live in the city is for the hustle and bustle, later dining, sidewalk cafes, and interesting people. If I didn't want these things, I would live in the suburbs, where I could close myself off from exploration and meeting new people, and I can drive to Olive Garden.

Welcome Roots, and welcome back Bleeding Heart! Can't wait!!

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