EDGEWATER — Two weeks before Illinois’ stay at home order, the owner of a popular former Edgewater restaurant announced plans for a new eatery and cafe in the neighborhood.
Those plans have been slightly altered by the pandemic, but the crisis has also given restaurateur Brad Newman the opportunity to get creative.
Instead of opening the restaurant, Newman and business partner Christina Lee will host a farmers market pop-up with regional produce sellers and will give customers a sneak preview of the restaurant, Brasserie By C&C.
The market will run 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday at 5938-40 N. Broadway, the dual storefronts where Newman and Lee are working to open Brasserie By C&C.
“There’s a little bit of silver lining in our timing,” Newman said. “If we opened a few months ago, we would absolutely never be able to reopen. It allows us to rethink our concept. It lets us prepare if this happens again.”
The new restaurant is an extension of the Cookies & Carnitas brand, which Newman has previously operated as a vendor at Green City Market and as an Edgewater restaurant-and-cafe that closed in 2017.
Brasserie By C&C is the group’s take on a neighborhood French bistro “with a tiny bit of Mexican flare,” Newman told Edgewater neighbors at a meeting in early March. One side will have the sit-down restaurant while the other will have a cafe and small seating area.
The restauranteurs still aim to open in August and have offered a limited menu through Grubhub. In the interim, the restaurant space will be used for the social-distancing friendly market.
The market will feature meat products from Avrom Farms, produce from area farms, artisan cheeses from Regalis Chicago and pasta from chef Ryan Poli. Brasserie by C&C will have pizza and cookies, plus a few other items, Newman said. He also is planning to offer soup and a specially prepared seasonal mushroom dish.
The event will take place inside the Brasserie By C&C space, which is still under construction. The space spans two storefronts, allowing the market to have a dedicated entrance and exit.
There will be a maximum of eight shoppers at a time. Shoppers will be required to wear masks, and payments will only be taken on Venmo to avoid hand-to-hand transactions, Newman said. Registration will be required and costs $5, which will be donated to a hospitality employee relief fund.
“We’re following tough protocols because we want the practice,” Newman said.
As for Brasserie By C&C, Newman and Lee are about a month behind schedule because some contractors were not working during the stay at home order, Newman said. The business partners also lost an investor, who pulled out after the outbreak severely damaged Chicago’s hospitality industry.
“We’re not mad. They’re in the same situation as everyone else,” Newman said. “We just moved forward.”
Brasserie By C&C will first open its cafe side and expand its takeout operation, Newman said. Then it will open its dine-in side, though it is still unclear what that might look like in Chicago.
Like other restaurants grappling with the outbreak, the Brasserie team is eager to experiment with its business plan and find ways to offer new products and experiences.
“We want to see if we can run a market, profitably, and see if we can give neighbors a good time,” Newman said. “It will be an experiment.”
Brasserie By C&C’s market will take place 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday at 5938-40 N. Broadway. For information on how to register, click here.
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