St. Charles home to newest Wild Monk gastropub
|Wild Monk launched this summer along the Fox River in St. Charles. The concept is a celebration of craft beers from around the world, paired with gastropub edibles prepared with a devotion to freshly sourced ingredients. (Staff photo by Renee Tomell)|
Named for Belgium’s Trappist friars famous for crafting fine ales, Wild Monk is a destination not only for small-batch beers but for its gastropub fare. Pairing libations and dining with a lively ambiance, Wild Monk opened this summer along the Fox River in downtown St. Charles.
General Manager Stratos Dimitrakakos explains his concept.
“Gastropub technically means an establishment for higher-quality food and beer,” he says. “All of our products are made from scratch — sauces, dressings, mayonnaise. All our meats are natural, grass-fed. Our fish and our chicken also are naturally fed, and no hormones — (to) try to eat as healthy as possible.”
Signature dishes include the unusual appetizer of roasted Brussels sprouts dressed with bacon jam. Dimitrakakos says other popular items range from the brisket sandwich to crab cakes, salmon, fish tacos and calamari.
“All of our food is really good,” he says, noting nothing is frozen. “The pork chop is phenomenal. Our chefs take a lot of pride in everything they present.”
Wild Monk’s owner is Theodore Maglaris, whose family was behind the prasino restaurant previously at the location.
Dimitrakakos says families are welcome, and brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, in addition to the regular menu. Brunch offerings include pancakes, French toast, eggs Benedict and the omelet of the day.
Starting this month, Wild Monk now opens an hour earlier at 4 p.m. on weekdays.
“I just wanted to create a friendly atmosphere where you don’t have to feel you have to dress up to come have an excellent meal,” he says. “I want to make every customer feel like they’re at home.”
The winter menu includes gluten-free items, as well as vegan and vegetarian options, and the bar offers a gluten-free beer.
Dimitrakakos, who originally built out the prasino setting, completely reinvented the interior for Wild Monk.
“We kept the same concept of the food, (but) tried to make it a more fun atmosphere,” he says, noting there are 19 TVs, where patrons can catch sporting events.
He designed a sleekly contemporary space, inventively decorated with recycled wood and artistically repurposed bottles and bottlecaps. It reflects the menu’s devotion to sustainable, locally sourced food.
A live band will perform every other Friday, and the gastropub plans a series of tastings paired with a multi-course meal, celebrating beers by local craft breweries, along with wine and scotch events.
The bar offers 30 beers on tap and more than 50 bottled selections.
Making their first visit recently were Dave Ven Horst of St. Charles and Bryan Barus of Batavia, ordering Rogue Dead Guy Ale from Oregon.
“I like something a little different,” Ven Horst says, noting they tried the cornbread with jalapeño, cheddar and onions.
“I loved it,” Barus says. “And great service.”
Wild Monk also has a La Grange location.
ADDRESS 51 S. First St., St. Charles
CONTACT (630) 549-6657, www.wildmonkbar.com