ML - Michigan Avenue

2015 - Issue 2 - Late Spring

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 83 of 139

photography by anjali pinto Drink Me Ben Fasman, the man behind Dove's cocktail menu, discovered the Cantarito ( shown) in the agave felds of Jalisco, Mexico. Considered a poor-man's margarita, the tequila, orange, and grapefruit juice blend mixes in roughly a half- teaspoon of salt, offsetting the sweet Mexican Squirt poured atop. Served in a terra-cotta mug, "It's the anti-craft-cocktail cocktail," says Fasman. clockwise from far left: Chef Dennis Bernard; the chiles rellenos floats in a sea of orange salsa; in a nod to classic diner décor, stainless steel counters and leather- capped stools line the dining room. Madia, "We wanted Dove's to be important for the neighbor- hood, to draw artists and creatives and everyone else who lives here now." Madia and company began by drawing on local talents, crowding the walls with photographer Marc Hauser's black and white street candids and a series of small, feverish contemporary etchings from Tony Fitzpatrick. They added their own '70s-vintage family photos, later choosing the name Dove's from the novel A Walk on the Wild Side by Nelson Algren, the late Wicker Park resident who celebrated the city's grit. Food followed form only in the sense that it's casual and quick, turned out by behind- the-counter, somewhat-short- order cooks. "I didn't want to do food that appeals to a small percentage of people," says Kahan. Neither did he want to do eggs and toast. Instead, One Off's partners road- tripped to South Texas, picking up inspiration in the border's Norteño food and translating it with carefully sourced ingredients 1,400 miles north. "It's more Mex- Tex than Tex-Mex," he says. If the hybrid fare is less familiar than the tacos at Big Star, it's unfailingly friendly as delivered under chef Dennis Bernard, formerly of The Publican. A giant house-made flour tortilla, given a swipe of habanero-avocado sauce, grips caramelized slabs of smoked brisket spiked by pickled onions; chiles rellenos sit pretty in sunrise-orange salsa; the golden chicken-fried chicken comes blanketed in green chorizo gravy. Drawing again on local talents, this time for dessert, the partners enlisted Hoosier Mama to make pies in flavors like horchata and peach jalapeño. Neo-diners can easily slip into the Ed Debevic's School of Cliché; Dove's flash-free finishes manage to avoid such kitsch in the compact storefront edged in stainless steel dining counters. Plywood paneling came from a supplier with '70s-era stock on hand. Brown leather-capped stools perch on matte metal rather than polished bases. Floor tiles stop just shy of the walls, a subtle design nod to less sophisticated diners. "We wanted to take every guest to a place and time, but we didn't want it to feel curated," says Madia. With just 41 stools, it doesn't take much of a rush to fill Dove's. On a recent Tuesday evening, the team appeared to have accomplished their goal of creating a local hangout. Over a plate of enchiladas, an unshaven artist type swayed to the sounds of Curtis Mayfield emanating from the diner's record player as a conspiring couple leaned in over drinks at the end of the bar. "Other people build restaurants," says Madia, explaining why Dove's warrants such a thoroughly realized script. "We want to make people happy." 1545 N. Damen Ave., 773-645-4060; MA "We Wanted dove's to be important for the neighborhood, to draW artists and creatives." —donnie madia soul Music The all-vinyl soundtrack at Dove's pays hom- age to Chicago's R&B history. Most of the LPs spun behind the bar and 45s stocked in a 1950s-vintage Seeburg jukebox feature Chicago musicians or local labels like Curtom, cofounded by Curtis Mayfeld. 82 taste

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