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BBQ Spot Porkchop Opens In Former Hamilton’s Space Near Loyola With Plans To Add A Speakeasy

The restaurant will host live music, drag shows and burlesque performances. Its speakeasy, Meet and Whiskey, could open in early 2023.

Porkchop opened at 6341 N. Broadway in November.
Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
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EDGEWATER — A restaurant named Porkchop has opened in the former Hamilton’s location on Broadway, bringing barbecue, live entertainment and eventually a speakeasy near Loyola’s campus.

The restaurant opened in late November at 6341 N. Broadway, owner Jovanis Bouargoub said. It is the third location for the Porkchop brand, which debuted in the West Loop in 2011. Other locations include 1132 W. Grand Ave. and at Midway Airport. The business also had locations in Hyde Park and South Loop that have closed.

Known for its barbecue and bar offerings, Porkchop takes over a space that housed Hamilton’s bar, which closed in 2012 after 80 years in business.

Bouargoub said the Loyola area could use another restaurant and hangout spot and his concept would work well for the neighborhood.

“We’ve been looking north and the opportunity presented itself,” he said. “There’s not many barbecue places and bars in the area.”

Like Hamilton’s before it, Porkchop will seek to be a hangout for college kids and neighbors. That includes a new feature for a Porkchop location: a speakeasy.

To be called Meet And Whiskey, the speakeasy will help Porkchop take advantage of the large space it inhabits, and it pays homage to the fact that the building has housed a bar since the ’30s, Bouargoub said. It will reside behind a secret door and have its own cocktail menu, he said.

Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
The storefront at 6341 N. Broadway was painted in Loyola colors from its days as Hamilton’s bar.

The speakeasy is still being built and is slated to debut early next year, Bouargoub said.

“It’s a beautiful space,” he said. “It’s vintage. I thought it could make a great speakeasy.”

The restaurant will host live music, drag shows and burlesque performances, which are also a staple of Porkchop’s flagship location on Grand Avenue.

Porkchop’s opening breathes new life into a storefront that has struggled to attract a longtime tenant since Hamilton’s closed.

The dive bar closed after the Loyola bought the building in 2012. In 2013, 63 Bar and Grill moved into the storefront. That closed in 2018 after its business license was revoked due to tax issues, the Loyola Phoenix reported.

Two North Side bar owners announced plans in 2019 to open Cochran’s Tavern in the Broadway space. That business was put on hold months before the coronavirus pandemic began, and the plan never came to fruition.

Porkchop is open 11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Sunday. Brunch service will be held on weekends.

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