O CT OB E R - N O VE MB E R 2 0 1 0
In Wrigleyville, Rockit’s Right at Home
A second outpost o the RiverNorth Rockit Ranch restauranthas carved out a comortableneighborhood niche just acrossthe street rom Wrigley Field.
By Paige Worthy
The sunlight was softer than usu-al on a warm, late-summer after-noon in early September, shad-ows of No Parking signs andbeautiful old trees lengthenedon the sidewalks near Clark and
Waveland. The rst signs of fall
crept in.The Cubs had the day off, sothere were no bagged-peanutvendors, no scam photogra-phers, no homemadesigns advertisingimpromptubackyardparking lots, no men hocking T-shirts on sticks.
No cheers from ung-open bar windows, no
honking taxis. Wrigley Field stood emptybut for a few tourists snapping picturesby the statues outside.Just across the street, at 3700 N.Clark St., the bartenders, serversand busboys — all clad in plainblack shirts emblazoned with theword Rockit in white gothic letter-ing — were prepping for another busy Friday night at Rockit Wrig-leyville, the second location of Bil-ly Dec and Rockit Ranch Produc-tion’s River North mainstay.More Than a FeelingEven completely devoid of custom-ers, the restaurant was dark but stillinviting, with exposed brick and worn
wood oors. The sound system warmed
up for post-work revelry with a hand-cu-rated playlist of classic rock and offbeat al-ternative: the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up,”the Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right,” DaveMatthews Band’s “I Did It,” Joan Jett’s cover of “Crim-son and Clover.”The bartender, John, stood behind the bar practicing fancy Cocktail-esque pours — he worked at T.G.I. Friday’s while he was in college— and mixed up a shaker full of the evening’s drink special, Red Bulland vodka, for a pair of middle-aged men who walked in at 4:58 p.m.,
ready to start the evening two minutes before the restaurant ofcially
was.The men, who had been friends since they went music school togeth-er in New Mexico, seemed just as home at Rockit as they might havein a dive bar, despite the stylish environment and lingering sheen onthe relatively new restaurant. By the time the men were two drinks in,John knew their names, is in on their conversation and has pouredthem samples of a new drink, on the house. It’s one of the perks of coming in before the rush — “We’re busier after the sun goes down,”John said — or maybe this is just the kind of place Rockit has becomefor Wrigleyville.