EDGEWATER — The owners of a beloved Edgewater restaurant are seeking to relaunch in the neighborhood — with a new name, new concept and in a different location.
Cookies & Carnitas, which for years has been a popular vendor at Green City Market, opened a restaurant in Edgewater in 2013. The following year, owner Brad Newman and his partners debuted a cafe in the storefront next door to the restaurant, 5757 N. Broadway.
Those ventures shuttered in 2017, though Cookies & Carnitas still operated its delivery and catering businesses out of the former restaurant’s kitchen.
Now, Newman and partner Christine Lee are working to open a new take on the Cookies & Carnitas brand. The duo is planning to open Brasserie By C&C at 5938-40 N. Broadway, in the former home of celebrated restaurant Growling Rabbit.
Brasserie By C&C will be Newman and Lee’s take on a classic French restaurant, “with a tiny bit of Mexican flare,” Newman said.
Newman said he enjoys the welcoming and warm feeling of neighborhood brasseries like Bucktown’s Le Bouchon, and that he wanted his new restaurant to reflect the importance and influence of Mexican eateries in Chicago.
Dishes at Brasserie By C&C will be more formal than some of the fare at the original restaurant, but Newman said he doesn’t want the new place to be pretentious. Instead, diners can expect hearty, slow-cooked dishes in large portions.
“It won’t be fancy,” Newman said. “We want to have a comfortable space.”
Like Cookies & Carnitas, Brasserie By C&C will run a dual restaurant and cafe in adjacent storefronts. In the 5940 N. Broadway storefront, a cafe will serve locally roasted coffee and C&C’s homemade baked goods including cookies, bagels and scones.
At 5938 N. Broadway, the dining room would accommodate 40-50 patrons and include a wrap-around bar, which would serve beer, wine and include a cocktail menu.
Cookies & Carnitas, a casual eatery serving dishes like pizza, tacos and cookies, closed in 2017 at 5757 N. Broadway because the space had become “dilapidated,” Newman said. Owners didn’t want customers in the space, so the business transitioned to delivery and catering services, making lunches for schools like Edgewater’s Sacred Heart.
In October, Newman and Lee signed a lease at 5938 N. Broadway, the former home of The Growling Rabbit. That restaurant closed in late 2018, but not before making significant improvements to the space, including a new heating-and-cooling system and kitchen equipment.
Newman said he wanted to stay in Edgewater, and was drawn to the improvements made to the Growling Rabbit space.
“We love this neighborhood,” said Newman, a longtime resident of Uptown. “We’re going to do some fun things in this area.”
Newman and Lee are seeking a rezoning request to allow for a restaurant and bar to open in the space, and they are also seeking a liquor license. Ald. Harry Osterman’s office held a meeting on the rezoning Tuesday, where 14 residents voted unanimously in favor of the new business. Osterman will later announce his decision on the rezoning request.
If approved, Newman and Lee hope to get the restaurant opened in August. There will likely be a soft launch as the management works on training staff and expanding operations. The restaurant might also open before the cafe, the owners said.
The owners want to take their time to make sure this version of Cookies & Carnitas sticks around Edgewater for many years to come.
“The brand is already known,” Lee said. “We want to make sure we get it right.”
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