HIGHLAND PARK – The dispute between Ravinia Festival and Ravinia Brewing Company has been resolved. The brew pub plans to open temporarily just steps away from its permanent home at 594 Roger Williams Avenue in the Ravinia Business District while construction resumes on that space, which formerly housed Ravinia BBQ & Grill.
“We’re excited to move forward, but we’re anxious to open this summer. So we’ve signed a lease at (the former) Madame ZuZu’s and are trying to open as quickly as possible,” said Kris Walker, managing partner. David Place and Brian Taylor are co-owners and all three have ties to Highland Park.
Madame ZuZu’s Teahouse was located at 582 Roger Williams Avenue and was owned by Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins. After more than five-years, Madame ZuZu’s closed on March 18.
Walker explained that once the temporary space is up and running, it will serve as a temporary home for Ravinia Brewing Company, as there’s still a lot of construction that needs to be done on the new facility. He estimated that it will be a minimum of four months before the 594 Roger Williams Avenue site is ready for business.
Ravinina Brewing Company was originally slated to open last spring, but the project was halted when a dispute with Ravinia Festival began in March.
DailyNorthShore previously reported that Ravinia Festival challenged Ravinia Brewing Company’s use of the name Ravinia, and a disagreement ensued about Ravinia Festival owning the Ravinia trademark. (See Ravinia Challenges Ravinia Brewing Company .)
DailyNorthShore: How has the dispute been resolved?
“The details about the agreement with Ravinia Festival is a private matter, but both entities are moving forward and we’re hoping to start a new, positive relationship to build for the community together,” said Walker.
The brewery comprises one business with two concepts, said Walker: Ravinia Brewing Company, which will brew beer on site and include a full menu with wine and spirits, and Witty’s Refresher, an “old-school diner concept” complete with a soda fountain. The Witty’s menu will feature coal-fired oven creations including pizzas and wings, along with “pub grub.”
DNS: Will Witty’s Refresher be included at the temporary location?
“There are so many things that we have to figure out based on space requirements and what we can do quickly,” said Walker. “There has to be a food element in Highland Park, so there will be food, but we’re still working on that.”
Walker added that Ravinia Brewing Company is working hard to come up with the best solution for a limited space under timing constraints.
“What I can say is this will be the first home of Ravinia Brewing products and we’re excited to have it,” said Walker.
Witty’s Refresher will have a presence at Ravinia District Food Truck Thursdays.
“We’re happy to be at Food Truck Thursdays, and a food truck Pilsner launches this week along with Belgian White Ale, which is our first collaboration with Roots,” said Walker.
Ravinia District Food Truck Thursdays began Thursday, June 7 and will run through September 13 at 4:30 p.m. at Roger Williams and St. Johns.
Walker added that Ravinia Brewing Company’s beers will be served on Wednesdays at the Highwood Evening Gourmet Markets by one of the brewery’s customers, and on Fridays Ravinia beers will be available at the Bitter Jester Music Festival in Port Clinton.
Ravinia Brewing Company will continue to be featured at Highland Park restaurants including Abigail’s, Viaggio, Beelow’s, as well as Sunset Foods, some Mariano’s locations and about 100 different establishments around Chicago.
“We’re excited that Highland Park will be our first home, and we’re excited to give the community a place to enjoy our beers and hang out as soon as possible,” said Walker.