Ditching an original plan to start anew can yield phenomenal results, as evidenced by Mark Wahlberg, who abandoned his Funky Bunch to get even funkier with Reese Witherspoon on a roller coaster. Hitting the comestible reset button, Park Ave.
A new concept grand opening Friday from the owners of Risque Cafe that replaces adjacent sister spot Purgatory Pizza, PA has gone for more of a pub feel with deep purple walls, dark wood tables and a menu that focuses on burgers dressed up in quirky and interesting ways, like your cousin Tony, the street puppeteer. Many of the half-pound (double up if you feel crazy) ground steak burgers take their names from recognizable Chi parks, such as the edgy Wicker Park (American cheese, bacon, fried egg, grilled apple slice), the upscale Lincoln Park (foie gras butter, Jack Daniel's caramelized onions, grilled peach, Gruyere), and the clever HAMilton Park, covered in cheddar, fried pickles, cole slaw, and ham that's smoked, then spends the rest of the day browsing the Net for esoteric mailorder candy. Non-local but nonetheless intriguing combos come in the form of Peanut Park (creamy peanut butter, pickles, raw onion, American), Pulled Park (pulled pork!!, cheddar, BBQ, onion rings, jalapeno), and, in similar topping style, The Jerk, which replaces onion rings with grilled pineapple, and BBQ with jerk sauce, which'll totally stain your shirt, you goddam fat idiot!
Because the stress that comes with eating unusually topped burgers often drives one to drink, they're serving up beer in a non-threatening selection of about 15 bottles and domestic drafts (Brooklyn Brown, 312, Trumer Pilsner), thwarting the Funky Bunch's plan to bring you a show with no intoxication.