The Bedford knocked my socks off – it’s that simple. Backstory – we happened to be visiting some friends in the neighborhood who mentioned this place was nearby and worth checking out. It was getting late on a Tuesday evening and we were hungry. We had already heard great things about it, and since it wasn’t close to the weekend, we decided to give it a try.
Unassuming from the outside, we had to know exactly where it was, or we probably would have missed it. But as unassuming as it is from the outside, it’s quite the opposite on the inside. The website itself is worth checking out for the images alone (much better than my crappy, amateur shots) – The Bedford is a place you can bank on!
Housed in a renovated bank vault, The Bedford boasts a spacious contemporary interior, complete with the old deposit boxes and even the original vault itself, repurposed into a lounge/party room. I honestly had not heard of the place before that night and had no idea what to expect. I thought we were just going to another small, urban cafe, typical of the area. So what a fun, accidental surprise the place turned out to be!
Since it was a Tuesday, their oysters and champagne were half off – they were already out of oysters, but not the champagne, thank you very much! One of the managers happened to stop by as we were discussing the drink menu. There were several liquers we weren’t familiar with – after grilling the poor guy with several questions, he showed back up at our table with a flight of the liquors we had just asked about! Now how’s that for service?! I also now know all about the following, as well as how they taste:
- Cynar – an Italian liqueur infused with artichokes
- Aperol – an Italian orange liqueur, similar to Campari
- Pisco – bitter Peruvian herbal liqueur
After this impromptu tasting, we treated ourselves to the shell bean crostini and corn fritters; along with a deviled egg, for starters.
This was followed by a burger and the rainbow trout.
All in all, the food was delicious – upscale, yet still on the comfort/casual side, with exceptional quality and an understated Southern flair. Even though I think they play things safe, you can tell a lot of thought went into designing and putting together both the food and bar menus. Our server was very personable and attentive – and the attention from the manager was almost generous to a ‘vault’ (hey-o!). I’m not sure if we would have received the same attention on a weekend night – but, then again, we might not be looking for that same level, either. Here’s what I know for sure – discovering The Bedford was a great surprise and the food was great.
Even though the star of the show might be the space itself, there’s still a lot to check out – both in the restaurant and on the menu itself. I know my interest is at an all-time high (I’m here all week, folks!) and I can’t wait to go back!
- Name – The Bedford
- Neighborhood – Wicker Park
- Where – 1612 West Division (at Ashland)
- Phone – (773) 235-8800
- Meals – Dinner
- Hours – Mon-Fri 5pm – 2am, Sat 5pm – 3am
- Attire – Hipster-Casual