Heisler Hospitality, the group named as a portmanteau of co-owners Matt Eisler and Kevin Heisner’s surnames, has unpacked its bags all around town, from Wicker Park to the West Loop. And like Mary Poppins’s carpetbag, Heisler keeps pulling out more hotspots, with Pub Royale (2049 W. Division St., no phone yet) the next one up.
To aid with Pub Royale, among the group’s four planned 2015 openings, Heisler hired Jason Vaughan as its director of culinary development. Vaughan, who contributed to the openings of Gilt Bar, Au Cheval, and Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf with Brendan Sodikoff’s Hogsalt, has designed an Anglo-Indian pub menu for Pub Royale, refracting the better-bar philosophy of its predecessor in the space, Small Bar, through a different lens.
Although it takes some cues from classic British pubs, Pub Royale won’t just do classic British food. “We will not have fish and chips,” Vaughan says. It will have Indian street food, such as chicken tikka masala wrapped up into a kati roll; crispy cauliflower with chili sauce, cashews, and cilantro; and Indian-style doughnuts for dessert. More classically British, Vaughan might make rabbit pie with homemade pastry.
They hope to open Pub Royale in April, after which Vaughan will pivot to work on a bar called Queen Mary, just down Division from Pub Royale. And soon after that, Heisler will turn to a project in the Oon space, next door to its own Lone Wolf. With expansion this rapid and in such close proximity, by next year at this time devotees will be able to organize all-Heisler pub crawls.