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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Ørkenoy, Humboldt Park’s First Brewery, Aiming To Open In Late Summer

The Ørkenoy crew said they want the brewery to be a hub for local artists and community gatherings once it's safe.

The team behind Ørkenoy, the new brewery and taproom opening in the Kimball Arts Center.
Courtesy of Jim Vondruska
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HUMBOLDT PARK — Humboldt Park’s first brewery and taproom is almost ready for its public debut.

Ørkenoy, situated in the Kimball Arts Center at 1757 N. Kimball Ave. off The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail, is expected to open sometime in late July or early August.

What kind of opening it will be depends on what phase of reopening Chicago is in later this summer. The Ørkenoy team is preparing for carryout and dine-in service, and will adjust accordingly, company representatives said.

But after more than a year of planning, pop-ups and construction, the Ørkenoy crew is ready to share their new business with the neighborhood however they can.

“It’s been a really great journey so far,” operations manager Briana Hestad said. “We’re all looking forward to see what we can do once the doors are open.”

A sneak peek inside the brewery and taproom, which is still under construction. Courtesy of August Everette

The brewery and taproom was founded by Ryan Sanders and Jonny Ifergan. The two met at Lagunitas Brewing’s taproom where they both worked — Sanders in the kitchen and Ifergan waiting tables.

In addition to Hestad, the founders brought in Madison Burns, formerly of Forbidden Root and Band of Bohemia, to help them achieve their vision of a brewery and taproom with a “Oslo meets Miami” vibe.

Ørkenoy is a Norwegian translation for “desert island,” according to the founders. Ifergan said he sees The 606 trail, situated right next to the brewery and taproom, as “the current” that runs through the neighborhoods.

Ifergan, a longtime home brewer, is making the beer for Ørkenoy. Ifergan is focusing mostly on lagers and farmhouse ales to pay tribute to beer made in Norway, Estonia and other nearby countries.

Ørkenoy also will serve beer from other brewers around the world. Depending on what phase of reopening Chicago is in at the time of opening, folks will either be able to enjoy a cold glass of Ørkenoy beer in the taproom or get it to go via 16-oz. crowlers.

The team behind Ørkenoy. Courtesy of Jim Vondruska

They also will serve cocktails, some made with Norwegian ingredients, and shared dishes including twists on smørbrød, or Scandinavian open-faced sandwiches. One sandwich Sanders is planning is “spam-brød” made with King’s Hawaiian bread, kimchi and a poached egg.

Ifergan’s brother, Tohm, founder of Dayglow Coffee in Los Angeles, is opening a second shop next to Ørkenoy to operate in tandem with the brewery.

Ifergan said they want the brewery to be a hub for local artists and community gatherings when it’s safe to do so.

“Our goal is to build a community of artists and fans by providing a shared space for others to connect — all the while delivering a new hospitality experience through our atmosphere, food, beer and the people we collaborate with to create experiences,” Ifergan said in a statement.

The Ørkenoy crew was initially aiming to open the brewery by the end of 2019, but delays related to construction and timing pushed back their timeline.

The pandemic has brought on a slew of new challenges. But Ifergan said thanks to the flexibility of their contractor, Formed Space, and designer, Range Design, things are finally starting to come together.

“You really have to learn to roll with the punches. … it’s a lot of reconfiguring,” Sanders said.

For opening updates, check Ørkenoy’s website and Instagram.

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