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New Brewery Coming To Kimball Arts Center Alongside 606 Will Focus On Lagers, Shared Plates And Good Vibes

We wanted to make it about the experience, the vibe and the community, a founder of Ørkenoy said.

A new taproom is coming to the Kimball Arts Center building at 1757 N. Kimball Ave.
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HUMBOLDT PARK — A new brewery and taproom, called Ørkenoy, is coming to the Kimball Arts Center next to The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail and it’s expected to open by the end of the year.

The brewery and taproom will serve house-made beer, other beverages and shareable food in the industrial arts center at 1757 N. Kimball Ave. and will have a “Norway by way of Florida” vibe, according to founders Ryan Sanders and Jonny Ifergan. Eater was first to report on the opening.

Ørkenoy is loosely named after a deserted island just north of Scotland’s mainland, said Ifergan, who sees The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail, which sits directly next to the arts center, as “the current” that runs through the neighborhoods.

The two founders met at Lagunitas Brewing’s taproom where they both worked — Sanders in the kitchen and Ifergan waiting tables.

“When I met Ryan I said I really want to [open] something,” said Ifergan, a musician who spent about seven years touring with his band The Kickback.

“We really wanted to take more of a hospitality approach and make it more about the experience, the vibe and the community.”

At Ørkenoy, Sanders will handle the food menu, while Ifergan, a longtime home brewer, will be the one making the beer.

Food-wise, patrons can expect shareable street food like open-face sandwiches and ceviche. It’s for folks who subscribe to the “plop down and everyone has a bite” mentality, Sanders said.

“I’m not trying to set up a menu that’s entree heavy. Everything’s meant to be shared amongst friends,” he said.

With beer, Ifergan is focusing on lagers, a style of beer he said doesn’t always get the love it deserves. He envisions a menu made up of farmhouse ales, raw ales (including those infused with herbs and vegetables) and smoked lagers.

“I really want to go more crazy with lagers. It’s something that hasn’t really been explored yet,” Ifergan said. “I’m a malt person. It’s really about going back to the basics. … [Beer] doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to taste like a milkshake. It just has to be a really well-made beer you wanna drink with your friends.”

Ifergan and Sanders are putting a lot of thought into the decor and the overall vibe. Sanders, who is originally from California, said he’s inspired by the mid-century, Danish and Norwegian design he saw growing up in Palm Springs — but with pops of color and plants. With Ørkenoy, Sanders said to expect “Norway by way of Florida” or “Miami by way of Oslo.”

In terms of the overall vibe, Ifergan, who was born in Mexico but grew up in the Chicago suburbs, said he’s drawing inspiration from breweries like Brewery Bhavana in Raleigh, N.C., which is part brewery and part flower shop, book store and dim sum restaurant.

“The house-made beer is important. We’re obviously in a very competitive market,” Ifergan said. “I want there to be more of an emphasis on the vibes.”

In addition to beer, cocktails and wine, the taproom will serve coffee from California. Ifergan’s brother, Tohm, founder of Dayglow Coffee in Los Angeles, will open his second shop inside the taproom.

The new business partners want Ørkenoy to be a place where people of all ages and backgrounds can come together around well-made beer and food before or after hopping on the trail. They also want the taproom to serve as a hub for local artists.

“[We’re] taking a page from all of these existing breweries we really like that we want to incorporate, but focusing on hospitality more than anything,” Ifergan said.

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