The Refinery: The Spirit of Old Town in a Restaurant

By Sarah Freeman  |  August 20, 2013

Welcoming earth tones, rustic charm, casual American cuisine, strong cocktails and sweetly satisfying desserts - the components of The Refinery are everything that encompasses the Old Town neighborhood. The massive restaurant is now open to offer, as the name suggests, a refined drinking and dining option to locals.

Food: The culinary team of executive chef Lawrence Letrero and pastry chef Hetty Arts designed a menu modern American cuisine to fit the casual Old Town neighborhood. This means items such as deviled eggs with truffle and bacon as well as grilled baby octopus with wood ear mushrooms and Japanese sweet potato. Dessert options include a chocolate pretzel bar with pretzel ice cream and chocolate cassava cake with marshmallow ice cream. The food is polished yet approachable, much like the drinks and space.

Drink: A 30 Under 30 honoree is shaking up cocktails behind the bar. Although he is still managing and bartending at Evanston’s Ward Eight, Cody Mooder assembled a cocktail program overflowing with classic cocktails on tap. With partner Enoch Cruz, of the W Hotel, the duo put a Manhattan and Paddy Bauler on tap. The cocktail menu also contains classics such as Moscow Mule (Refinery vodka, lime, ginger beer, Angostura bitters and mint) as well as house drinks such as the Old Town Punch (Appleton V/X rum, cognac, peach brandy, lemon and nutmeg).

Decor: The open space with its brick pillars and arced ceiling along with exposed ventilation creates an interesting combination of rustic and industrial. Deep stained wood tables fill the dining room that also features a large bar and fire feature. An LCD screen fills the back bar and addition televisions are almost be hidden well above tables thanks to the high ceiling.

1209 N. Wells St.; 312-854-2970