Forming a veritable Super Friends of wining and dining, Webster's Wine Bar
alums Tonya Pyatt, Johnny Hap and Jamie McLennan have joined forces with local foodies and winos to build Rootstock, a Humboldt Park bar on a mission to fight for sustainability, right that which is bland and serve all the best in beer and wine.
Rather than shell out tons of dough on hip furnishings and wares, the trio of Pyatt, Hap and McLennan (aka Wendy, Marvin and Superdog) has chosen to invest in what really counts: food and booze. Thus, the bar takes on a homey feel, with secondhand tables, mismatched plates and local artwork on the walls. There is no dress code.
In such an unpretentious setting, you wouldn't expect to find a selection of boutique beers, organic wines and bites of creamy cheese, prosciutto and walnuts glazed in thyme and rosemary-infused honey – but that's just what Rootstock offers. With several decades of experience in nightlife and hospitality between them, Pyatt, Hap and McLennan have invited local experts like Goose Island's Paul Johnston and Pops for Champagne's Craig Cooper to help scope out the best global, affordable, small batch wines and beers. In addition, Webster's Wine Bar and Spiaggia's Remy Ayesh put together the cheese and charcuterie menu, while Hot Chocolate's Mark Steuer built the selection of small plates, which includes some mean beer-battered onion rings.
The lack of capes and tights is the only factor that separates Rootstock collaborators from Super Friends, but with beer and wine in the mix, you never know what might happen.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Amanda Nyren