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Carriage House Takes a Stab at Southern

From the start of it, the concept of Wicker Park’s Carriage Houses sounded like somewhat of an oxymoron: Southern small plates. Anyone who’s into the cuisine knows that “small” really isn’t part of the dialect. But alas, the latest creation from The Bedford Team is playing for keeps.


Nestled across from its sister property The Bedford, a haven for fancy-burger-loving hipsters, the Carriage House stems its service from something else entirely: true Southern hospitality and charm. Do they hit the mark? Not quite.  Despite high ceilings, refurbished everything, and waiters in aprons, it still lacks the warmth you’d expect from a Southern spot and strays a little too heavily from the feel of a joint that serves wet-naps before dessert.Floor-to-ceiling windows envelope the dining room, which includes communal seating, an open kitchen, and a well-stocked bar as part of the bargain.
The bar is led by job-jumper, albeit acclaimed, beverage director Michael Simon. True-to-form, Simon has split his drink menu into re-imagined and traditional cocktails, and also offers a special rum punch as a tertiary option. The Chartreuse Elixir is a force to be reckoned with, as is his take on a Sazerac.
The food menu is also separated out much like its liquid counterpart: traditional, re-imagined, and supper. The trifecta is flanked by sides and sweets, as well. Standouts included the Shrimp & Grits, which were head-on prawns in a rich bath of grits.


Also enjoyable was the Skillet Cornbread which was smeared with a glob of foie gras butter. After that, things just starting tasting the same. The Pork and Beans were surprisingly lackluster, as was a sure-to-like side dish entitled, “My Favorite Slaw.” Forgettable were the rice balls and pork belly salad. However, despite the alarming wait time (30+) between small plates and supper, the Carolina Grouper, when it came, was a total win.

Missing from their menu is any take on barbecue, which are – for most – an integral part of Southern cooking. Ribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken all take a back seat to trendier items like fried chicken legs and Lowcountry boils.



Aside from the peaks and valleys of the night, Carriage House isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Night after night, the place gets busy and loud; fast. As such, reservations are recommended, however, how well they will honor them when in this quick-to-become-chaotic hotspot is another question. Currently, the Carriage House is open for dinner service only. They plan on opening for lunch and brunch soon, but dates have not been confirmed.    

Photo Credit:  Jamco Creative.

Emily Belden

Emily Belden

everyone's favorite no-one | nerd trapped in a cool kid's body | writer, blogger | cooler online than in real life | doesn't come home to stuffed animals |

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