EAST UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — We all need a little comfort food right now, and the neighborhood is getting just that this week.
Flour Power, a family-owned homemade pasta shop, opens Thursday at 1642 W. Chicago Ave.
The restaurant was crowdfunded earlier this year with a Kickstarter campaign in which neighbors and supporters raised more than $19,000 to support award-winning chef Wilson Bauer and his wife Alice Richter, who met working at Schwa.
The culinary duo said they’re excited to finally open and feed the neighborhood.
“We’re ready to start cooking again,” Bauer said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many new restaurant owners to reinvent their business model or rethink their approach to menus. Flour Power is no different.
Bauer and Richter originally planned to be open most days of the week, but they’ll start by opening just Thursday-Saturday. And instead of dine-in service, the restaurant will be take-out only.
In addition to offering a handful of fresh pasta options for carryout, Bauer also introduced meal kit options. He plans to have a few vegetarian options each day.
For the foreseeable future, Bauer and Richter will be the only employees.
In order to run the restaurant themselves, the couple do have help from family. Between sessions on his Nintendo Switch, Bauer’s 9-year-old son, Logan, feeds the sourdough starter and taste-tests pasta. Logan named the sourdough starter: “Bready Mercury.”
Richter’s parents help by watching Logan and the couple’s 2-year-old son.
One thing that hasn’t changed due to coronavirus is Bauer’s approach to pasta. Noodles will be made fresh each day and bowls will cost $12. Sauces will be made from scratch using seasonal produce from local farmers.
Bauer said he doesn’t want to offer too much variety too soon. With only six burners, he can boil three pots of water while cooking three pans of sauces.
While they’re excited to open, Bauer and Richter said they look forward to the day customers can safely gather inside the 16-person restaurant.
“It’s gonna be one hell of a party,” Bauer said.
Bauer and Richter met while working at Schwa, the storied and award-winning restaurant at 1466 N. Ashland Ave. in Wicker Park.
During Bauer’s time at Schwa, the restaurant earned a Michelin star. Bauer himself was honored as Chef de Cuisine of the Year in the Jean Banchet Awards.
The duo launched an underground dinner club in 2018 after spending much of their careers in Michelin-starred kitchens, but the couple wanted to create a true “mom-and-pop” shop for their family and their neighborhood. Richter grew up in East Ukrainian Village.
“We would love to have this restaurant be an awesome family non-corporate chain option,” Richter has said.
Flour Power’s hours of operation for takeout will be 5-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Meal kit pick up will be 11 a.m.-3 p.m. All orders must be placed online via Tock.
You can follow the restaurant on Instagram.
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