Like most of its comic-book namesakes, Villains Chicago (730 S. Clark St., no phone yet) has undergone a transformation, finding a new space across the street from its old lair at number 649 and upping the ante on food by hiring Dennis Stover (Hot Chocolate, Longman & Eagle, Big Star) as chef. Ownership plans to reopen in April.
While the old Villains served burgers that neighborhood foodies respected, Stover plans to add more-curated and more-creative dishes to the menu. In addition to oysters and charcuterie, he hopes to offer the whole chicken he made for the tasting at his job interview—yogurt-marinated, grilled, and served with arugula, pecorino cheese, and chimichurri. The burger, grilled rather than griddled, will average an 80/20 meat-to-fat ratio in some combination among chuck, brisket, and steak. The menu will run to about 18 items.
“I would rather put out superdelicious food instead of trying to offer a Cheesecake Factory menu for everyone and his brother,” Stover says.
Beer will provide the fizz for the beverage program. Stover says the owners have been traveling the country in search of beers not available in Chicago, and he’s been working to pair them with the food. Temperature-specific beer coolers and a beer wall modeled off one at the bar 2be in Bruges, Belgium, signal Villains’ seriousness about beer.
Desserts, too, will pair with beers, including possibly a sour with Stover’s mom’s buttermilk pie. Ah, even villains love their mothers.