The Levy Restaurants group (Jake Melnicks, Spiaggia) have a hit on their hands with the tag team of Chefs John Hogan and Tony Matuano at their riverfront ode to British comfort food – River Roast. It’s been 3 years since it’s rebranding from Fulton’s on the River and 2017 is their most successful year to date.
After Levy decided that an overhaul was on the horizon, the chefs, who have been friends for over two decades traveled to Europe and were inspired by roast houses in London. A conversation began about bringing back the age of shared family style dining where camaraderie and team building are more of a focal point than instagraming your food.
When speaking with GM Jay Schuster the team is now complete after the addition of Beverage Manager Ken Pritz. Prior to this role Ken made stops at The Winchester and Chicago Athletic Association. His bar program features an impressive collection of 21 Chicagoland breweries. Currently Penrose is their brewery of the month.
8 local drafts, carved wooden tap handles, soft lighting, riverfront views and one of the worlds oldest techniques; oven roasted meats carved tableside. It’s the type of place that the formal crowd goes when they are in the mood for a slightly casual outing. I for one can drink to that, we’ve seen our share of venues lose their way by going too casual. Levy’s nationwide strategy includes curating the concessions experiences at stadiums across the country. Many times when a visiting sports team is in town, Spiaggia and River Roast come as recommended destinations.
A weekly Live Blues Brunch with a new live act every week is also part of the new philosophy here. The bands are some of Chef Hogan’s personal faves and can play on the patio or in the main dining hall. Aside from their well known roasted whole chicken you can book private events in one of their rooms or the 800 person event space at the east end of the restaurant. This space is inviting and warm yet also built for a celebration.
Here’s the current lineup of Chicago brews available at River Roast.
Rev Brew Bottom Up Wit (Logan Sq, Chicago)
Off Color Troublesome and Apex Predator (Logan Sq, Chicago)
Solemn Oath LÜ (Naperville)
Metropolitan Magnetron (Avondale, Chicago)
5 Rabbit Golden Ale (Bedford Park, IL)
Whiner Rubrique-A-Brack and Miaou (Back of The Yards, Chicago)
Temperance Smittytown ESB and Gatecrasher (Evanston)
3 Floyds Yum Yum (Munster, IN)
Pipeworks Lizard King and Mango Guppy (Logan Sq, Chicago)
Baderbraü Chicago Pilsener (South Loop, Chicago)
Lagunitas A Little Sumpin Sumpin (Douglas Park, Chicago)
Burnt City Balloon Boy (Pullman, Chicago)
Half Acre Daisy Cutter (Bowmanville, Chicago)
Around The Bend Puffing Billy (Pullman, Chicago)
Maplewood Fat Pug (Logan Sq, Chicago)
Moody Tongue Chocolate Churro Porter (Pilsen, Chicago)
Penrose Taproom IPA (Geneva, IL)
-Upcoming Roast of the Month include Venison Loin, Huckleberry Jus in Novenber. The Whole Duck in December.
-Penrose is Brewery of the Month for October
-Levy design team specializes in curiology, creating everything from tap handles to uniforms at their locations.
-River Roast is booked for weddings every Saturday May – September in 2018.
-Prime Rib Sundays will debut Sunday nights this fall.
-In 3 years River Roast has served over 33,000 roasted chickens. That doesn’t include private events. This bird is the genuine article, A 7-day brine stuffed with spices then smoked and cooked for 28 mins at 495 degrees.
-All 21 draft/can options at River Roast feature Chicagoland breweries
-Their Oktoberfest (last 2 weeks of September) featured glass boots filled with Metropolitan’s Afterburner
-Beverage Manager Ken Pritz is currently working on building a private label sprits program with distilleries.