NORTH CENTER — The founder of the acclaimed-but-now-closed Bohemian House in River North has taken over The Northman cider bar in North Center and has renamed it Cobblestone.
Markus Chwajol plans to keep intact the general concept of The Northman, which recently closed, but says he will refine it and build upon it.
Chwajol is the co-founder of Bohemian House at 11 W. Illinois St. The Bib Gourmand-honored restaurant served a mix of Czech, German, Hungarian and Austrian cuisine with a contemporary American twist from 2014 until it closed in 2018.
Now Chwajol is championing The Northman rebranding at 4337 N. Lincoln Ave. Cobblestone opened to the public on Thursday.
“Cobblestone is a place where people can relax and enjoy great food, drink and conversation,” Chwajol said. “Our goal is to bring back that element of community, one which is often lost on people in a fast-paced city like Chicago.”
The Northman’s current staff was retained and a small number of additional employees will be hired now that the business is under new management, he said.
Cobblestone’s menu will shift to serve contemporary European cuisine but will retain a focus on offering over 50 ciders from around the world, he said.
And while menu favorites from The Northman will remain initially, Chwajol says over time between 20 and 30 new menu items will be added.
A full menu and chef announcement details will be made available soon, he said.
In addition to the new name, Chwajol will install a cobblestone doorstep, updated signage, custom crafted historic doors, reworked sconces and other changes to the business’s internal décor.
Once the renovations are complete, the restaurant will be able to accommodate 86 seated guests and include a sidewalk café and rear patio.
The Northman’s owners announced earlier this month that Chicago’s first cider bar was closing its doors for good Feb. 23.
“After much deliberation, last year we decided to sell the building and business that houses The Northman,” owners said in the Facebook post. “New ownership will be taking over the space in late February.”
After a few false starts, The Northman officially opened in 2016 with a wide selection of ciders and a menu by Chef Sean Sanders.
The closing of the North Center location did not impact its Chicago Riverwalk location.
Cobblestone hours are 5 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It will served weekend brunch.
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