Young American Opens Friday with CBD-Infused Cocktails

Chicago’s first big restaurant/bar opening of 2019 happens on Friday when Young American begins its campaign to bring Logan Square trendy CBD-infused cocktails and food that showcases a Chicagoan’s view of seasonality. Chef Nick Jirasek and head bartender Julia McKinley are trying to inject some energy into a block that includes Logan Square favorites Billy Sunday and Lula Cafe.


While Californians frolic in the sunshine, Chicagoans avoid snow plows and street salt. On the food front, chef Nick Jirasek (Old Habits at Ludlow Liquors) "channels America's radically diverse food cultures without the restraint of regional authenticity," resulting in dishes like the goth bread, with activated charcoal, leek ash, cheese, "nighttime sauce," smudge butter and egg yolk. Other highlights include the lamb tartare with black cardamom, the pickled okra with popcorn grits and Brussels sprouts, which are gussied up with juicy grapefruit wedges. Jirasek’s challenging how brighter colors are perceived as a measure of freshness. He’s also trolling out-of-state visitors and writers who continue to chide how Midwesterners use seasonal ingredients. These critics compare the region to places like California, which don’t endure brutal winters or experience all four seasons. Things are different in Chicago considering the impending polar vortex.


Beverage director Julia McKinley's (Lost Lake, Milk Room) drink menu offers some exciting options: In addition to wine and beer, there are eight boozy cocktails and three spirit-free sippers that guests can opt to add CBD to for an extra cost. (For the uninitiated, CBD is a calming, non-psychoactive concentrate extracted from cannabis plants. It's legal, and it won't get you high.) The alcohol-less Honey Do sounds particularly appealing, with Schizandra berry tea, star anise, lemon, bee pollen and honey.


The space itself is brimming with thoughtful touches and works from local artists. Take a spin around your barstool to spot photography from Paul Octavious, ceramics from Leah Ball and fabric panels from Alyx Harch. Have a look for yourself on Friday, when Young American opens in Logan Square at 2545 N. Kedzie Avenue. To learn more, visit their food and drinks menu here and here respectively.