Endgrain is more than doughnuts, fried chicken

July 24, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Clearly, no dress code in a place where a buck's head is mounted over the bar and the customers can dine all day long in a space practically built by hand. At Endgrain, in the North Center neighborhood, the name can be seen, literally, in the resulting handiwork on the bar and in the tables.

"It's very casual, it's very approachable, but there's a lot of the integrity and attention to detail that would come from more of a fine-dining background," said Enoch Simpson.

There are plenty of biscuit sandwiches. Some, like this open-faced version begin with tarragon and chive-packed butter, plus pickled seasonal vegetables and a perfectly-cooked, soft-boiled egg on top.

A warm salad featuring farro grains and softened eggplant is about as healthy as you can go, and yet you don't sacrifice flavor, thanks to a garnish of cilantro and peanuts. But if you dine here with someone else, be sure one of you gets the fried chicken; sidecar of gravy no extra charge.

"We get whole birds, we butcher them down, they're brined, marinated, fried and then there's actually a glaze once it comes out of the fryer that it gets tossed in," Simpson said.

A green salad is mounded over the top, and as good as the chicken is, the biscuit is a thing of beauty; mastered after watching a lot of YouTube videos featuring grandmas and their techniques.

"A lot of it is how you mix the butter with the flour; there's little tricks too, like if you freeze the butter first, before you add the buttermilk," said Simpson.

The restaurant is open all day long and while they offer different lunch and dinner menus, they also have a limited "all day" menu.

1851 W. Addison

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