What would happen if you brought some of the country's best street food indoors? That was one of the questions that led to the creation of Unforked Eats & Sweets (7337 W. 119th St.), the new restaurant concept from local custard magnate Jim Sheridan, which will likely open at the end of April.
The other question: Could you use conscientious sourcing to create a menu so customers knew exactly where every ingredient came from? To achieve both ends, Sheridan brought on restaurant consultant and chef Rob Corliss, and the duo traveled across the country for the better part of a year to find inspiration for transforming the former Sheridan's custard site.
The great breakfast joints of San Diego helped shape the breakfast service. The menu features breakfast tacos and burgers. Corliss, who runs ATE -- All Things Epicurean, explained that half the tacos will have eggs, with the choice of scrambled or whites, while the others will be packed with items such as refried beans and thick crispy bacon or fresh avocado and queso fresco.
"It's about flavor. People need to crave our food," Corliss says.
Lunch takes its cue from the Shake Shack in New York City and the taco trucks of Austin, Texas. There will be burgers, tortas and tacos. The tacos will come with everything, from Kansas City barbecue to the Pink Lady (pickled red onions, queso fresco and steak).
"We want to do honest, delicious food and be transparent about it," Corliss says.
To that end, Unforked won't have a freezer in the restaurant, and a list of its vendors will be available online and at the restaurant. Unforked has already contracted with several local shops. The tortillas (and chips) will be from La Superior, either white corn or whole wheat, and the hamburger buns will be made by Bloom Bakery in the City Market.
"You'll see us keep evolving and looking at our menu, like our pico de gallo will feature heirloom tomatoes when they're in season. We're really trying to create something special," Corliss says.
A lot of thought has also gone into the drink menu. There will be two varieties of Harney & Sons iced tea on the menu, and Unforked will be making its own aguas frescas (pureed fruit, water and a bit of sugar). Smoothies made with custard will also be available, and the restaurant will serve beer and wine, including Boulevard, Kronenbourg 1664 and O'Fallon Hemp Hop Rye.
Unforked seats 90 people in the dining room and patio.
There will also be a drive-through. The 4,000-square-foot space was designed by 360 Architecture; this included enclosing the patio and adding the
indoor seating. Unforked will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
[Images courtesy of Unforked]