We know it’s not easy saying goodbye to perfectly pleasant neighbors—especially two people who’ve spent the last five years baking the best savory meat pies this side of London. But Art and Chelsea Kalberloh Jackson, owners of Bridgeport’s Pleasant House Bakery (964 W. 31st St., 773-523-7437), say they feel like it’s the right time to move on.
In mid-June, they will pack up their rolling pins and relocate from Bridgeport to Pilsen, where they will open Pleasant House Pub in the old Nightwood space (2119 S. Halsted St., no phone yet). They insist the move isn’t out of disrespect for the old neighborhood, but rather the result of finally finding a new building with enough potential to match their lofty aims.
Their current space, after all, didn’t exactly exude refined English elegance. It was more the restaurant equivalent of a starter home. And the regulars told the Jacksons as much. You could literally feel the lack of insulation the minute you walked in the front door. It was always sweltering in the summer and frigid in the winter—not to mention that the restaurant’s walk-in cooler was rather inconveniently located outside the building.
Their new space, however, has the bones to be the Jacksons’ “forever home,” allowing them to finally offer guests what they consider to be the full Pleasant House experience. Some of the beers they offered at their now-shuttered Pleasant House location in Three Oaks, Mich., will re-emerge in Pilsen, along with a full liquor license.
Thanks to design input from investor Kevin Heisner—who owns the building and runs the British-themed spots Queen Mary and Pub Royale—there will now be sit-down and counter service, as well as a homier pub feel. Guests will be able to pair the pies with a few proprietary brews—made in conjunction with the soon-to-open Whiner Beer Company in Chicago—as well as some wines and British-inspired cocktails.
The Jacksons don’t believe in messing with their greatest asset, so their baked goods and pie offerings will remain very similar, bringing back their curried chicken, steak and ale, and traditional aspic-filled cold pork pies. But the new space’s gussied-up year-round patio has inspired them to offer cups of 4 Letter Word coffee as well as a new slate of morning breakfast pies.
These morning glories will come stuffed with everything from a velvety British-style sausage gravy to a quiche-like mix of spinach, eggs and cheese.
“At the end of the day it’s about the experience,” says Art Jackson. “We like to think that food is the most important part of every restaurant, but we all know that people value the experience in many ways.”
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