After a short-lived run three years ago at the Revival Food Hall, two staff members from the mega-hit Honey Butter Fried Chicken finally have a permanent space for their new restaurant. The TriBecca Sandwich Shop will serve Becca Grothe’s signature Cubano, but that’s not all. The Honey Butter Fried Chicken sous chef is expanding his new restaurant menu with a take on Illinois state capital’s cult favorite sandwich, the Horseshoe. They are aiming for a late fall or early winter in Avondale.
TriBecca’s is a five-minute walk south of Grothe’s former workplace at HBFC. Another Honey Butter alumnus, Grothe’s husband – Cam Waron – will also share the new space for his own project. Tuber’s Donuts – check out their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-influenced website – will feature donuts that use potato starch rather than traditional flour. Waron is the Culinary Director of Honey Butter.
Grothe grew up in central Illinois and wants to introduce Chicagoans to sandwiches from his hometown area. This includes the Loose Meat Sandwich featured by the Iowa chain Maid Rite; Grothe calls TriBecca’s Loose Meat Sandwich “the MaidWrong”. Of course, there is the aforementioned horseshoe. Grothe’s version, “the pony shoe,” is an open-sided burger dipped in cheese sauce and topped with fries: “There’s too much healthy stuff here,” she says.
Honey Butter co-owners Josh Kulp and Christine Cikowski will help Grothe and Warone with bookkeeping, permits, and other business operations, leaving them free to focus on food. Honey Butter and now TriBecca’s were born out of the Sunday Dinner Club, the ongoing dinner series that Kulp and Cikowski started hosting in 2005.
Grothe is grateful for the support of her mentors. “They have built an extremely successful business,” she says. “I want to do the same.”
TriBecca’s will also serve seasonal specials, sides and desserts, prepared by Sunday Dinner Club sous chef Alex Skrzypczyk: Grothe particularly enjoys the peanut butter blossoms and animal crackers from Skrzypczyk. Meanwhile, Tuber’s donuts will feature “the most outrageous toppings”: sour cream, chives and bacon bits, along with a chocolate ganache and fried potato flakes called “Fries in Your Frosty”.
TriBecca’s will begin as pickup and delivery only. The space is tiny, around 800 square feet, and Cikowski says the team wanted to keep the operation small and manageable, at least initially, until it moved into the neighborhood.
Diners who want to get a taste of Grothe’s sandwiches can come to Honey Butter on Mondays, where TriBecca’s has a permanent pop-up, serving a different sandwich each week. Pre-orders are available through Tock. Tuber’s will also make an appearance in the city; Waron posts updates on Instagram.
Waron named most of his wife’s sandwiches and the restaurant itself, which is somewhat inspired by the New York neighborhood, but also with a sort of imperative: “Try Becca’s”.
TriBecca sandwich shop, 2949 W. Belmont Avenue, opening scheduled for late 2021.