6501 N. Cedar
As legend goes, Rube Waddell wrestled alligators in the circus during baseball's off-season.
Hence the newly opened Waddell's Brewpub & Grille logo: a sketch featuring the turn-of-the-century ballplayer with a gator casually slung over his shoulders, a wooden bat between the beast's sharp teeth.
Building on the success of the six-year-old South Hill food and beer hub, Waddell's Neighborhood Pub & Grille, owner Michael Noble opened the doors of the North Side counterpart just before Christmas.
The pub's namesake — known for his eccentric personality and famously successful pitching career during the early days of professional baseball — is also the inspiration for many of the new brewery's beer monikers: the South Paw Pale Ale (he was left-handed); the Fireman's Amber Ale (he was known for saving people from burning buildings); and the Alligator Stout (the aforementioned gator wrestling).
When plans for a second location began taking shape in 2008, Noble knew he wanted it to be different than the flagship restaurant. He jumped on the opportunity to build a brewery inside the restaurant in the new Cedar Crossing commercial development at Five Mile, hiring former Northern Lights assistant brewer Bryan Utigard to head up brewing operations.
With a current brewing capacity of 16 kegs — soon to double with the addition of three new fermenters — Waddell's currently features six house beers on tap, an impressive number for a just-debuting brewery.
Food offerings at the spacious pub — which features a window into the brewing area behind the bar — are almost identical to the South Hill restaurant: burgers, gourmet hot dogs, the typical pub grub. But a few additions are casually slipped in between Waddell's menu favorites, including "Rube's Gator Wings." There's no play on words here: they're made from real gator meat.
1248 W. Summit Parkway
On the first weekend morning at the Yards Bruncheon, every booth and chrome-edged table is filled. Servers hustle around with coffee and warm plates, then stop in front to put more names on the wait list. A few people leave after hearing the wait time could be 45 minutes; they wait at the door to exit as more people stream inside from the cold, stamping off snow at the threshold.
"It's busier than expected, so that's good," says Adam Hegsted, the owner and chef, briefly stepping away from the bustling open kitchen.
The new Kendall Yards restaurant serves up breakfast and lunch seven days a week inside a cozy building next door to Hegsted's other project, the Wandering Table, which is set to open later this spring for the dinner and evening crowd. The Yards is built for daytime, with a tall bank of windows at the front welcoming light into the pale teal interior. It has the booths, chrome-edged tables and checkerboard floor of a classic diner, but other details — mismatched vintage silverware, geometric globe lighting, jazz music in the background — make it a charming pastiche of old and new.
The menu reflects the same mix of creativity and comfort, with breakfast options like ricotta-apple pancakes topped with cinnamon syrup ($6) or chorizo and egg tacos ($9). Lunch options include a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers, like the Tur+duc+ken sliders ($11). The menu includes both chicken and waffles ($13) and Fish n' Chips ($12). Vegetarian options like the Beet Burger ($8) and Roasted Squash Omelet ($8) were popular the first few days, Hegsted says. The menu is designed to change based on the season and what's available from local producers — as warmer weather brings more greens and other produce, the menu will reflect that.
The Yards exclusively serves Roast House coffee, with an extensive list for those who want to get pour-over coffee and choose the beans, too. Those looking for different breakfast buzz may want to peruse the list of drinks for a mimosa, Irish coffee or Brass Monkey instead.