Crossing opens October 1st in Lincoln Park.
Today marks the opening of the eighth bar in the Four Corners Tavern Group empire. From the guys behind Schoolyard, Brownstone, Sidebar, and a slew of other two-syllabled watering holes comes Crossing, a soon-to-be Lincoln Park staple (they’re sure of it). And while other new bars scrap to outdo one another with wowser interiors, theme nights, and cocktail lists so long they should be rolled onto scrolls, at Crossing, it’s not about reinventing the wheel (or the tap or whatever). It’s about sticking with what works, no apologies. The Chaser asked FCTG’s director, Ryan Indovina, to explain:
What sets Crossing apart from the other Four Corners bars?
It’s not really about setting anything apart. It’s more about continuing the Four Corners tradition of putting in a great neighborhood bar and grill in a place where people will appreciate it. It’s not like we haven’t been here before. Gaslight is four or five blocks away. We expect a lot of those regulars will come visit us at Crossing. They should walk in and be like, “Yep, here’s a Four Corners bar.”
You seem to have the formula down pat. How do you make sure each spot has its own identity?
Crossing is, first of all, an amazing space. I used to go into Southport City Saloon [the previous tenant, there for several decades] and it was more of a bar that the owner built 30 years ago and kept the same because that’s what he was comfortable with. It was a diamond in the rough; we refurbished it. Crossing is really open and breezy, with tons of windows. We have 53 TVs, four different bars, a mezzanine, and a huge outside. We’re bringing menu items that have been successful elsewhere, like the barbecue Korean steak tacos from Benchmark and the great pizzas from West End. We really expect to be the cornerstone sports bar in this area.
Crossing will be Chicago’s official University of Kansas bar. What does that mean?
The full story is that we do Nebraska over at Kirkwood. The Nebraska alums over there were friends with some KU alums. They were like: “Wow, we love what you do with game days.” Fight songs, T-shirts, balloons, streamers. If you can’t be at the game, this is the next best place. Kansas is looking to grow their young alumni group in Chicago, and they’re in other bars, but they wanted to branch out. We went down to Lawrence for a weekend and really got a sense of the campus. The school is sponsoring us as their location, so they’ll help get the word out and sometimes have reps here. One of the partners at Four Corners went to KU, so we just thought it was a great fit. [Note to KU fans: The Jayhawks play Baylor on Saturday, October 2nd at 11 a.m.; Crossing plans to go all out.]
I have to ask: Why’d you take the salmon sandwich off the menu at Brownstone?
It’s no small feat for something to make it onto one of our menus. And if it doesn’t become a top seller, we’ll take it off or keep it seasonal. Trust me: There are some things we love [that] just don’t hit! The salmon couldn’t carry its weight against our fish tacos. It’s like with the skillet cookie. We’ve tried so many other things, but nothing can stick like that cookie does. We don’t argue with it. We just adapt to what our customers want.