Hubbard Inn (110 W. Hubbard, 312-222-1331, hubbardinn.com), a "Continental tavern" from the team behind English, opened in River North last week in a bi-level space decked out in trappings inspired by Ernest Hemingway's sojourns in Europe. Bob Zrenner (33 Club, Branch 27, Graze) is behind the drinks-friendly menu of bar snacks, charcuterie, flatbreads, burgers, club sandwiches, and small plates, much of it showing a European influence—for example, a flatbread with white anchovies, olives, capers, and sheep's milk ricotta, or a burger with figs and Cabrales blue cheese.
Boka mixologist Ben Schiller consulted on the list of ten specialty cocktails, which in addition to tweaked versions of the manhattan and the Sazerac features concoctions such as the Dutch Daisy (Plymouth Gin, Green Chartreuse, Mathilde Blackcurrant, and lemon juice) and of course the Hemingway (10 Cane rum, maraschino liqueur, lime and grapefruit juices, and simple syrup). Oddly, though, there's no sign of the Bellini, the cocktail of Prosecco and peach puree that originated at Hemingway hangout Harry's Bar in Venice.
Despite arctic temperatures, The Southern Mac Truck, Southern chef Cary Taylor's new mobile venture, also rolled out last week, bearing a special guest on opening day—Gaztro-Wagon chef Matt Maroni, whom Taylor calls the "grandfather of the Chicago food-truck scene." (Maroni's food truck, the first to launch in Chicago, has been in business for just over six months now.) The crew announces its itinerary via Twitter (@thesouthernmac). On Wednesday, with a subzero wind chill, "We didn't think people would stand out in the cold," says Taylor. "People stood out in the cold."
He plans to vary the menu regularly, offering four variations such as this week's sun-dried tomato and caramelized onion, cheddar and grilled Vienna Beef hot dogs, pulled chicken with blue cheese and buffalo sauce, and smoked Gouda with apple and walnut. Each week a specialty mac will also be available at the Southern's brick-and-mortar restaurant (1840 W. North, 773-342-1840, thesouthernchicago.com), alongside the signature smoked Gouda mac.