Beatnik Owners Launch New All-Day Cafe With Smoked Pastrami and Coffee Cocktails

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Chicago

A blue table with a bunch of food.
Breakfast burritos, house-smoked pastrami, and coffee cocktails are available at Expat.
Bonhomme Hospitality Group

Expat brings breakfast burritos and more to the West Loop

by Samantha Nelson

Photography by Bonhomme Hospitality Group

Bonhomme Hospitality Group is turning an underutilized private party space in their Silk Road-inspired restaurant Bambola into an all-day cafe and bar serving American comfort food, natural wine, and coffee cocktails. Expat opens Friday, April 12 at 165 N. Ogden Ave.

“In the corner of the West Loop we’re at, there’s a higher density of residents living by the day and there’s not a lot of options for breakfast and lunch,” Bonhomme founder and creative director Daniel Alonso tells Eater. “We were intrigued by doing our first all-day concept and the creative juices started flowing in terms of aesthetically what kind of story do we want to tell and what kind of flavors do we want to share with Chicago?”

Bonhomme is known for its luxuriously appointed venues like Michelin-starred Portuguese restaurant Porto and Wicker Park tapas spot Mama Delia, which aim to transport diners to popular vacation destinations. Expat will feature tiles, rugs, and other handcrafted pieces from cooperatives in Morocco along with Italian furniture and lighting but the menu is inspired by the bars that would cater to homesick Americans living abroad in Havana, Ibiza, and Marrakech in the 1950s.

“You’re open to many more things when you’re dining out, but breakfast and lunch seem to be more habitual and ritualistic,” Alonso says. “I think you miss home more in the morning and the afternoon when you’re living and working abroad.”

Expat’s daytime menu will feature staples like French toast with strawberry compote and candied hazelnuts, a breakfast burrito, and avocado toast alongside a rotating menu of coffee from local roasters, starting with Hexe and Metropolis. The 2,000-square-foot space is outfitted with plenty of outlets to welcome locals and workers and also boasts a large outdoor patio.

The evening menu keeps the focus on comfort food with wood-fired pizza, house-smoked pastrami sandwiches, and fish tacos. A jazz pianist will perform during the week, with vinyl DJs playing most nights.

Bonhomme Group partner and director of beverage programs Brian Sturgulewski turned to expat bars from around the world for the cocktail menu, which includes the Papa Doble (rum, maraschino, grapefruit, lime) from Havana’s El Floridita and the Suffering Bastard (bourbon, gin, ginger, lime, bitters, mint) from Shepheard’s Hotel, a haven for Westerners in Cairo.

“This is a project that was very near and dear to his creative spirit and personal passion for all these great watering holes who are pioneers in the world of drink crafting,” Alonso says.

The drink menu will also include coffee cocktails and a selection of natural wines priced at $50 or less for a bottle, building off the passion for the beverage that led Bonhomme to open GoodFunk natural wine bars in the Loop and West Town.

Bambola already neighbors Bonhomme’s French restaurant Coquette and sits across the street from their opulent cocktail bar Kashmir. Alonso says he hopes locals will spend the day at Expat, have dinner at Bambola or Coquette, relax with the entertainment back at Expat, and then head to Kashmir for late-night drinks. Bonhomme created a similar cluster of venues in West Town with Beatnik, Porto, and GoodFunk.

After opening Expat, Bonhomme will turn its attention to reopening Porto, which closed in August. Partner and executive chef Marcos Campos and culinary directors Shannah Primiano and Erwin Mallet have been working in Bonhomme’s new Casa Beatnik hotel in Galicia in northwest Spain and building relationships with suppliers in the area.

“We’re all very eager to reopen Porto with all the things that we’ve learned and all the new ingredients that we want to work with,” Alonso says.

Expat, 165 W. Ogden Ave., scheduled to open on Friday, April 12; open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.; 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturday; Sunday hours coming soon.

Expat

118 North Green St, Chicago, IL (312) 432-0500

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