While more than 15 types of artisan cheese grace the menu of the highly anticipated new business Bar Pastoral, it’s the new items, like the duck leg confit and merguez stuffed apricots wrapped in bacon, that have owners Greg O’Neill and Ken Miller eager to open.
The partners of 20 years, both personally and professionally, are slated to open their latest North Broadway business venture on Nov. 12 next to their already famously successful cheese and wine shop, Pastoral. It’s one of three already thriving Chicago cheese shops owned by the Lake View residents.
After securing the space at 2947 N. Broadway in August, O’Neill says it’s been a long road to create a space that speaks as upscale yet comfortable.
“The big thing for us is that Bar Pastoral is going to be a logical extension of our base business,” O’Neill said. “We don’t want it to be some disjointed step-sister. There will be no attitude around the food… It’s meant to be cozy, comfortable.”
The two are taking their love and expertise of cheese and pouring it into a no-reservations, 50-seat restaurant focused on “grazing as dinner.” The menu features snacks, house-made charcuterie, cured meats, small and “not-so-small” sized plates, and a variety of cheeses.
All 16 available wines will be $10 a glass, and $5 for a half-glass. Cheese plates start at $6, and the average “not-so-small” plate runs about $12.
Backed by Top Chef Season 10 Chrissy Camba in the kitchen and a list of specialty cocktails, beer and wine behind the bar, the whole restaurant is aimed at a unique, artisan experience for customers.
“We’ll have three beers on tap, plus a sparkling wine from northern Michigan that’s made just for us,” O’Neill said. “We’ll have sparking and filtered water so we can do mocktails and other cool items. We’ll also have a very limited, edited selection of specially cocktails, but we’ll be featuring a different local distiller every quarter. When it’s open, it’ll be Koval Distillery. “
Bar Pastoral will be open seven days a week serving the evening crowd until midnight during the weekdays, and 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. O’Neill says in about a year, they’ll consider doing lunch or brunch service as well, but in the meantime, customers can buy a sandwich from Pastoral and take a seat in the new bar.
Massive chalkboards slated for installation on the walls will tell customers what wines and cheeses are being featured for a limited time, while the opposite wall will be home to an art exhibit.
In addition, a custom chandelier made from reclaimed butter churners hangs over a soapstone bar, while another made from a cow-milking contraption hangs over the room’s largest table.
And O’Neill already gave the space a nickname of its own.
“Want to go sit at the udder table?” he laughed.