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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Avondale’s Wherewithall Offering Ukrainian-Inspired Menu To Benefit Country Amid Russian Invasion

“I wanted to do anything, and the only thing I could do was cook the food in my restaurant and ... raise some awareness of what’s going on,” co-owner Johnny Clark said.

Diners at Wherewithall, 3472 N. Elston Ave.
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AVONDALE — Acclaimed restaurant Wherewithall is serving up a special menu of Ukrainian-inspired dishes this week to help people in Ukraine.

Wherewithall, 3472 N. Elston Ave., is known for its rotating menu; every week, the restaurant — owned by husband and wife Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark — debuts a mix of seasonal dishes.

This week, its menu will have a Ukrainian flair, and a portion of sales will benefit Razom for Ukraine, a nonprofit helping Ukrainians amid the Russian invasion.

The details are still being worked out, but Clark said to expect head cheese, borscht and other takes on classic Ukrainian dishes, like a Kyiv cake, a meringue-style cake with hazelnuts.

Clark, a James Beard Award-winning chef, is drawing inspiration from his Ukrainian grandmother.

“One of her favorite foods was head cheese — out of necessity. They didn’t have a kitchen in their apartment. A lot of communities in the Soviet Union, they didn’t build kitchens … so all they had was a wood-fired stove in their apartment,” Clark said.

“She would tell me that once in a great while they were able to come across a pig’s head and then boil [it], put it in a can, and because the floor was so cold, they’d put it on the floor and it would gelatinize. She had fond memories of that … .”

Clark said he’s always felt connected to Ukraine because of his grandmother, who would often tell stories about her home country. He even got a tattoo of the Ukrainian national symbol was he turned 18, he said.

The Russian attack on Ukraine has left Clark feeling “very disturbed.”

“It’s hard to even focus right now. … It’s just deeply personal to me and to my story,” he said.

With the benefit menu, Clark hopes to help Ukrainians on the ground and spread appreciation of Ukrainian food at the same time, he said.

“I wanted to do anything, and the only thing I could do was cook the food in my restaurant and hope that more people would come and try Ukrainian food to raise some awareness of what’s going on,” Clark said.

The special menu will be available Wednesday-Sunday. Reservations can be made online.

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