The Perch is now open in Wicker Park. Credit: Hannah Alani / Block Club Chicago

WICKER PARK — The owners of Smoke Daddy in Wicker Park have opened a nearby wood-fire grill restaurant featuring on-site brewing from Finch Beer Co.

The Perch opened this weekend at 1932 W. Division St. in the former home of sports bar The Boundary, which closed last year after 12 years.

The 4 STAR Restaurant Group had long dreamed of using The Boundary space, said co-founder Doug Dunlay.

“We’ve been on Division Street for 20 years now with Smoke Daddy,” Dunlay said. “I’ve always hung out in this neighborhood, always loved it. … It’s an area that really holds its core values and is a great melting pot, but it also continues to evolve.”

The Perch’s fare will be American-focused with wood-fired grills for cooking vegetables, chicken, fish, steak and burgers. Meats like chicken, tenderloin and pork loin will be cooked on a hickory and cherry wood-fired rotisserie.

In addition to giving The Boundary a fresh coat of white paint, Dunlay said 4 STAR added four skylights to brighten up the interior.

“It’s just a beautiful space … a naturally beautiful building,” he said. “We kept all the wood, left the brick natural … added a lot of natural light … put in some really nice booths, a real pretty lounge … brewing equipment. We’re excited.”

West Town’s Finch Beer Co. will brew on-site. Perch’s bar will always have 11 beers on draft as well as a local cider, Dunlay said.

The partnership was a natural one. Dunlay and Finch’s Jamie Lisac, both Missouri natives, met decades ago as students at the University of Missouri. They moved to Chicago in the mid-’90s.

The 4 STAR Restaurant Group expects to initially hire between 50-60 at The Perch, Dunlay said.

The Perch will have an outdoor patio capacity of 52-70 people. Inside, the restaurant can seat 34 patrons.

Finch Beer Co. is expanding within The Perch, a new restaurant in Wicker Park. Credit: Instagram / Provided

The coronavirus pandemic didn’t force the closure of any 4 STAR restaurants, but Dunlay said he worries about what will happen when temperatures drop and patios go away.

“I’m not gonna lie, it’s been really difficult, extremely difficult on our staff, from our hourlies to managers to corporate,” he said. “It’s terrifying in many ways because we don’t know what’s gonna happen in the fall. … We’re in survival mode.”

In opening this summer, The Perch has already defied the odds. Industry experts have predicted more than a thousand independently-owned Chicago restaurants could close due to the pandemic. 

Dunlay lives in Bucktown but spent many years living in the Ukrainian Village area. He said he wants neighbors to know The Perch is “family-friendly,” as kids will eat free and dogs are welcome.

“Even though it’s a brewery, we want you to bring your family,” he said. “We’re excited to have everyone.”

The Perch will be open 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. Brunch will be served Saturday and Sunday.

You can place a takeout order by calling ‭773-486-2738‬ and reserve a table on Tock.

Fried cheese curds are on the menu at The Perch, a new restaurant in Wicker Park. Credit: Instagram / Provided

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