Han 202

 

Browntrout

8 unexpected BYOBs that rock in the culinary dept.

Mention BYOB in Chicago and you’re likely to stir up visions of mom-and-pop holes-in-the-wall. But sometimes you want to spruce it up a bit, yet not pay restaurant wine list prices. Luckily, Chicago has a broad selection of BYO’s for the picking, from steakhouse and French cuisine, to sustainable, local American—including these eight delicious gems.

Han 202
This local Bridgeport restaurant has been earning Michelin Bib Gourmand status since 2011 yet still offers a BYOB policy, along with a very affordable four-course (read: $35) tasting menu. With “fusion” items like lobster tail with beetroot and an elevated General Tso’s chicken, to masterly cut sushi and hand pulled ramen, the deal is so good you’ll wonder if someone spiked your BYOB wine.
Where: 605 W. 31st St., Chicago, IL
Telephone: 312-949-1314


Chez Simo Bistro
Channel Julia Child at this Ravenswood restaurant that serves classic French food without the classic pretense. If the BYOB policy and menu items like ragoût, braised lamb shank, and coq au vin aren’t enough to make your mouth water, the $25 early menu option, available from 5 PM. to 6:30 PM every Tuesday through Thursday, might just have you singing to the tune of “La Mer.”
Where: 1968 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, IL 60640
Telephone: 773-334-7466


Home Bistro
From Buffalo sweetbreads to braised pork shoulder ramen, this Boystown hotspot has the comfort food you didn’t know you were missing. Grab a bottle of champagne and do your best impersonation of the many quotes lining the walls. Pro tip: Get there on Wednesday for the $33 fixed priced night, delivering your choice of three courses from the regular menu.
Where: 3404 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60657
Telephone: 773-661-0299


Browntrout
At this North Center spot known for its sustainable, local driven menu, you’ll only find BYOB on Thursday’s, but that also magically happens to coincide with their $1.50 oyster special (served daily) from 5 PM to 7 PM. Grab your bottle from neighboring Bottles and Cans who—wait for it—also conveniently holds wine tastings on the same night.
Where: 4111 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60618
Telephone: 773-472-4111


Mixteco Grill
Raul Arreola, a veteran of the Rick Bayless empire—from the Frontera Grill to Topolobampo—has been serving up fresh, authentic, and delicious regional Oaxacan Mexican fare at this unassuming corner joint since 2008. Grab a dry Riesling or rose to compliment the spice and bold flavors.
Where: 1601 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago, IL 60613
Telephone: 773-868-1601


Briciola
The name means breadcrumbs, but that’s likely all you’ll have left on your plate at this popular Italian BYOB. And nothing shouts “let’s grab a bottle of wine and feast” than an evening of classic Italian food. Work your way from the antipasti menu’s house-made mozzarella stuffed with prosciutto, basil, and roasted bell peppers to a classic tiramisu, all made by native Italian chef, Mario Maggi. When the weather warms up, you’ll also want to head back for one of Chicago’s coziest backyard patios.
Where: 937 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60622
Telephone: 773-772-0889


Bite Cafe
Located next to the popular Empty Bottle, this funky and cozy Ukrainian joint transports you back to childhood with Taco Night (Monday), Steak Night (Tuesday), and Fish Fry Fridays while also boasting the Midwest favorite, Tater Tot Casserole. Pretend that you’re Miles Raymond from Sideways sipping your prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc (just don’t bring Merlot, okay). Vegetarians and “refined palates” are welcome, too, as the menu offers options for basically your whole extended family—in which case, bring more than one bottle.
Where: 1039 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL 60622
Telephone: 773-395-2483


Tango Sur
You like red meat and red wine, but you don’t like the hefty end of night bill at most traditional Chicago steak houses. Solution: Tango Sur, the Argentine steak house in Lakeview that has long been a favorite date night and group spot for bring your own. Stop by the nearby Que Syrah wine shop beforehand to peruse their curated South American selection.
Where: 3763 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, IL 60613
Telephone: 773-477-5466
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