This is not your father’s Wrigleyville.
Heck, it’s not even your older brother’s Wrigleyville.
Over the past few offseasons, both the iconic home of the Chicago Cubs and the neighborhood surrounding Wrigley Field have undergone makeovers perhaps even more drastic than the one the Cubs underwent themselves.
And, bear in mind, they turned into World Series champs after 108 years.
Yes, it’s a brand new world surrounding the corner of Clark & Addison on Chicago’s North Side. And as we approaching the Cubs’ 2018 home opener on Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates (1:20 p.m., ABC-Channel 7), this was the most dramatic offseason yet for Wrigleyville with the massive new Hotel Zachary rising across from the ballpark providing a plethora of new dining and drinking options.
If you’re headed up to Wrigley next week — or at some point later this season — here’s a primer about what you can expect with all the latest changes.
Named after Zachary Taylor Davis, the architect who designed Wrigley Field, the Hotel Zachary is a slick boutique building just steps across Clark Street. It’s filled with nods to baseball in terms of its decor, but features a vibe much trendier than your classic Bleacher Bums.
The hotel is likely to be a hot destination this summer for out-of-towners looking to experience upscale accommodations outside of the usual spots downtown. I’m curious to see exactly how its presence impacts the neighborhood, and whether it helps alleviate crowds or adds to them.
For more information and to see room options, visit hotelzachary.com.
The food and drinks
Inside the Hotel Zachary is a wide array of new eating and drinking options, ranging from the pedestrian in McDonald’s to the posh in Mordecai, a bar that’ a nod to early 20th-century Cubs pitcher Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown.
The 4,000-square-foot, bi-level spot bedecked in blonde oak and leather is the brainchild of Chicago chef and restaurateur Matthias Merges (Billy Sunday, Yusho) and claims to have the nation’s largest collection of Pappy Van Winkle whiskey. Interestingly, it will also offer a house-made take on Zima (yep, Zima.)
In addition to Mordecai – which will also feature a full menu – the Hotel Zachary’s ground-floor food options includes West Town Bakery and Tap, hawking all sorts of delectable cakes, Dark Matter coffee and quirky dessert-inspired cocktails. At Big Star, visitors will find a larger incarnation of the wildly popular Wicker Park taco joint, with space spread across two floors. And spawned from the original location on Division Street, Smoke Daddy brings to the Hotel Zachary its winning combination of BBQ, blues and beer and marries it with baseball. Important to know is that children 10 and under will eat free at Smoke Daddy from 11:30 am. to 6:30 p.m. daily — even on Cubs game days.
Also, inside the hotel is the private Alma Room (named after Zachary Taylor Davis’ wife), which is open daily to the public for breakfast.
One thing that hasn’t changed in Wrigleyville is the parking. There isn’t much – not of the inexpensive or free variety, at least. The Hotel Zachary includes a parking garage, but it’s for guests only. And while there are numerous private parking options in small lots and alleys off of Addison, your best affordable options remain the Green Lot, 1126 W. Grace St., or the Irving Lot, 1052 W. Irving Park Road. You also can park at the Remote Lot, 3900 N. Rockwell, and take the free shuttle service to Wrigley.
To take trains instead of driving, use the Regional Transit Authority trip planner at goroo.com for easy directions to Wrigley from anywhere.
DAVE WISCHNOWSKY can be reached by email at email@example.com, or follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/wischlist, on Twitter at twitter.com/wischlist or his blog, wischlist.com.