Andersonville's Hopleaf gastropub expands menu
May 24, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- More than a hundred Belgian beers are yours for the asking at Hopleaf.
But a beer selection that spans the globe apparently isn't enough. Just a few months ago, they completed a much-needed renovation and expansion, bringing this beloved gastropub into the 21st century.
On any given night at Hopleaf - the Andersonville bar that caters to beer geeks - every table is covered with mussels and large baskets of frites. But the food options have more than doubled now, since they completed their renovation.
"I think we finished the place. We've been here 21 years, and I don't think we ever completely had what we needed to have to finish my original vision," said Michael Roper, the owner of Hopleaf.
Two buildings are now linked, offering patrons several different rooms, each with a different vibe.
"It is a labyrinth, but one of the cool things about a labyrinth is that you can choose your own space," Roper said. "Now it's all these little rooms and it's kinda cool that way."
Roper has 68 draft lines at his disposal, along with 8 draft lines dedicated to wine. There's also an enormous kitchen, cranking out homemade charcuterie boards laden with pate and duck liver mousse. Springtime asparagus and goat cheese are formed into arancini balls, plated with honshimeji mushrooms and preserved lemon jam. Lamb is grilled, then served over tender baby eggplant and carrot puree, plus a pea spaetzle with spring onions.
"We can take in whole animals, which we could never do, we didn't have any place to break them down, so we buy whole hogs. We can make our own hams, we can make our own bacon," Roper said.
And they're still smoking their brisket to make a tasty sandwich, which goes oh-so-well with any number of beers that the well-informed staff can recommend.
"We vastly upgraded the technology that we're using to serve our beer on tap. A lot of the stuff we were doing before was in a system that was 20 years old. Now we are state-of-the-art," said Roper.
5148 N. Clark St.
restaurants, steve dolinsky
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