Dove’s Luncheonette: Music, Mezcal, and a Mix of Flavors
Step inside Dove’s Luncheonette in Chicago and you know you’re in for a great time. Greg chats with Dove’s chef de cuisine Tom Carlin and bartender Courtland Green to find out how the retro 42-seat diner dishes out big taste and modern experiences.
Dove’s has a serious pedigree. As a member of One Off Hospitality Group, everything about the little diner under the elevated tracks, or “L”, has been thoughtfully considered by the same team whose award-winning concepts include Blackbird, Avec, Violet Hour, and The Publican, among others.
Even the name has a diner-era lineage. “It’s pulled out of a Nelson Algren novel A Walk on the Wild Side which takes place kind of along the border of Texas and Mexico,” Chef Tom explains. And those border flavors inspire the restaurant’s menu. “The location of Dove, where he lived, kind of brought that Tex-Mex thing.”
But Dove’s prides itself on not sticking to standard Tex-Mex fare. The classic enchilada gets an update to appeal clients from one of Chicago’s most eclectic neighborhoods. “I try to keep the enchiladas vegetarian to surprise people,” he says. “It’s tofu guisado. That’s the Wicker Park swing to it. I think I’m going to do yucca for the next one.”