Before Wicker Park was nationally recognized as one of America’s coolest neighborhoods, the tile-laden landmark that houses the elegant Trenchermen Restaurant and Bar was once home of The North Avenue Turkish and Russian Baths, built in 1921. The privately run bathhouse usually catered to immigrant Jewish men and women from Eastern Europe, where the nostalgic patrons came to spill vodka with traditional borscht, rye bread and a hardboiled egg, and take a sweat, or “schvitz,” as it was properly known.
The venue ultimately attracted men of organized crime, and in the 1970s, undercover cops became regulars. Within a decade, the building was turned over and given a new life when purchased, converted into apartments on its upper floors with restaurant space beneath.
Today, Trenchermen stands as one of Chicago’s most recognizable names, where Chef Pat Sheerin uses his talents to conduct a skilled line of cooks—some specializing in meats, others in pastries, but all inspiring one another to bring their best.
For only the second time in two years, Chef Pat invited outside culinary talents to produce an incredible four-course dinner. Known as the Dinner Upriver Series, Pat teamed up with Food & Wine Best New Chef award winners Chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman of Hog & Hominy, and Chef Kelly English of Restaurant Iris, bringing Memphis flair to Chicago.
The dinner was nothing short of a performance, with each chef directing one of the courses, and accompanying it to the dining room for a brief presentation.
First, Chef Kelly English introduced the yellow jack and gulf shrimp “Cafe au Lait,” followed by Chef Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman’s pasta Francobolli with smoked tomatoes and chicken livers. The third course belonged to Chef Pat, consisting of wagyu top round, charred eggplant, garlic fried rice and buttermilk loukoumades with creme fraiche sherbet for dessert.
The proceeds from this dinner would benefit Growing Power—a Chicago/Milwaukee-based national nonprofit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities.