The latest venture from Kevin Hickey has officially been named Bottlefork (441 N. Clark St., no phone yet), and it’s going to give a whole new meaning to drinking your dinner.
Hickey, who after 18 years left the Four Seasons earlier this month, announced he’d joined forces with Billy Dec’s Rockit Ranch Productions not long after to work on a new restaurant to take over Rockit’s Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ location in River North that shuttered after a fire in January.
The name Bottlefork can refer to a lot of things, Hickey says—the equal esteem of the beverage and dining programs, the stash of possibly pre-fire bottles they found in the restaurant’s basement during renovations that they’re planning to polish and display, or, most intriguingly, the ways in which food and drink will intersect on the menu. Think pickle-brined beer-can chicken thighs, a vanilla frozen custard parfait with pretzel caramel and stout beer, and cocktails loaded up with fruits and vegetables.
Bottlefork isn’t the only soon-to-open restaurant to focus on the food-drink overlap: when Coppervine (1962 N. Halsted St., no phone yet) opens in November, every one of chef Michael Taus’ dishes will be driven by a beverage selected by Don Sritong, the sommelier behind Just Grapes (1149 N. State St., 312-255-9463).
But Hickey’s planning to take it one step further—he’s been working with Begyle Brewing in Ravenswood to brew beers with sugar beets, foraged herbs or ginger, figs, and dried dates.
“We’re putting beer into the food and food into the beer,” he says. “It’s the ultimate bar food.”