LOGAN SQUARE — Fans of Brian Bruns’ smoked meat pop-up at Fullerton Avenue beach are in for a treat, especially those who live in Logan Square.
The 31-year-old chef is taking his BBQ-inspired pop-up, called Flat & Point, to the next level and opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant with the same name at 3524 W. Fullerton Avenue.
The 70-seat counter-service spot will serve elevated — yet approachable — fare that combines Flat & Point’s signature smoked meats with handmade pasta, locally-sourced vegetables and more. Think meat-filled gnocchi and lasagna, brisket poutine and charcuterie.
Bruns is aiming to open the restaurant within the next 4-6 weeks. Eater was first to report on the opening.
Bruns cooked at Spiagga and Tru for seven years, respectively, before taking the plunge and opening the seasonal pop-up two summers ago. With the pop-up, and now the dedicated restaurant, Bruns wants to serve fine dining-quality food at affordable prices in a casual environment.
“There’s lots of places you can get fancy burgers or high-level dishes, but you really don’t find anybody doing BBQ much past a paper-lined tray,” Bruns said.
“[We’ve had] a lot of dining experiences that cost [my wife and I] a lot of money, and we thought, ‘What can you cut out of this experience and still have a really good time?’ That’s what we’re trying to do: Figure out that balance between awesome dishes with local ingredients, and awesome beer and wine, but still making it really affordable.”
The menu will consist of six rotating dishes, available in both small and large potions. An individual small plate will set you back around $15. Folks can also opt for a tasting menu — small portions of everything on the menu — for $40.
Bruns is using a giant, custom-made smoker from FatStack Smokers, a company in L.A., to smoke different varieties of meat for 10 to 12 hours at a time. He prepares the meat, sourced from local farms, with a simple dry rub of salt and pepper — central Texas-style.
Bruns said he got into barbecue traveling to southern cities with his wife. Originally from suburban Burr Ridge, Bruns’ love of cooking stretches back to his childhood when his grandmother would allow him to tinker in the kitchen. At age 11, the budding chef landed an apprenticeship of sorts at Charlie Trotter’s. (His parents took him there for his birthday and, rather serendipitously, his mother made the arrangement, he said.)
Bruns went on to attend Purdue University and then the Culinary Institute of America before landing cooking jobs at Spiagga and Tru, where he learned both how to man a smoker and arrange a plate using a tweezer.
With Flat & Point, Bruns is marrying the two skill sets.
“I thought I should be able to take the wood fired capabilities mixed with classic modern techniques, and I should be able to produce something that people like,” he said.
Bruns is also passionate about running a no-waste restaurant. He plans to bring in whole and quarter animals for butchering to reduce waste.
“In fine dining, you end up with a lot of waste, like when you’re trimming a steak to be a perfect cube, there’s a lot of waste. I remember buying salmon that was flown in same-day from Alaska — super expensive,” he said. “That’s not what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to showcase what’s available here. And if I could have no garbage exit my restaurant, that’s my ultimate goal.”
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