Goodbye, Deleece. The restaurant will morph into a new concept in January.
After 20 years in business, Deleece Restaurant (3747 N. Southport Ave.) will morph into a casual restaurant called Grassroots in early January, with a focus on family-friendly dining and food sourced from local farmers. And there will be pizza, too.
Why the change?
“We feel like we have a perception that we’re sort of an upscale, expensive restaurant,” owner Lynne Wallack says. “Like a lot of restaurants, we want to bring it downscale a little bit, make it more approachable and more broadly appealing. Our neighborhood has a lot of families with young kids. We’re next door to the Mercury Theater and the Music Box and our audience changes so much depending on what’s showing.\”
Wallack plans to continuing growing her own vegetables and herbs for Grassroots, and will buy many other ingredients from Michigan farmers. The new menu will include chicken and dumplings, beef brisket, pork ribs with a cherry barbecue sauce, sandwiches and pizzas.
Bob Bagley, who has been at Deleece since October, will be Grassroot’s new executive chef. Bagley was formerly chef de cuisine at the now-closed Sola, which was owned for years by Wallack’s sister, Carol, until she sold it and retired.
Lynne Wallack says Deleece will close early in January; New Year’s Eve may be the last night for the restaurant. But she expects the space to reopen as Grassroots three or four days into January with a soft launch to work out the new menu.
“We’re really excited to bring the food back to basics,” she says, “and do simple foods executed very well.” Grassroots will keep Deleece’s telephone number: 773-325-1710. Visit the Deleece Web site for information.