Special Series: Dinner and Theatre Pairings Part 2

Sat. April 12, 2008 12:00 AM
by Feature Column

Wild on Wilde!
By Michael J. Roberts

"After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives." -OSCAR WILDE

As my second pairing in pairing restaurants with currently running theatres and shows, I am so excited to feature one of Lakeview's newest and most exceptionally beautiful restaurants, Wilde Bar and Restaurant, 3130 N. Broadway, named after the famed Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde. With its welcoming library equipped with a cozy fireplace, exquisite handmade Victorian bar and gorgeous stained glass dome accents, this is an upscale Irish pub that is accessible to every cross section of patron. Owners Martin Cournane and Paul Sheahan, have painstakingly poured their soul into this establishment and it shows, from the amazingly friendly and competent staff to their choice of picking Alan Katz as their executive chef who as put his own twist on pub food, making it downright mouthwatering.

General Manager, Patrick Rodgers, took me on a guided tour of the restaurant and gave me an overview of the history of the space, which was a former hardware store. Patrick pointed out the amount of intricate craftsmanship and architectural detail that when into constructing Wilde's, creating this warm and inviting treasure.

For my visit, Chef Katz prepared a lightly breaded and flavorful Jumbo Lump Crab Cake; Katz' classic Fish & Chips (flakey Atlantic cod), which is quickly becoming known as the best throughout the city; Sheppard David's Pie, which I was glad to see this dish come back to its classic roots as I use to get when I lived in London; Wilde Macaroni & Cheese baked with cheddar, that I actually craved the whole next day, as well as an array of desserts. Throw into this a fantastic and dense beer catalogue and extensive wine list and you are in for one of the best restaurant experiences you will encounter in the city.

One must spend some time at Wilde's to truly appreciate the quality, warmth and since of community that is a throwback and an homage to the tradition of Irish pubs which is meant to be a gathering place for friends and neighbors.

For more information on Wilde's, please visit their website www.wildechicago.com

"I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being." -OSCAR WILDE ,

So as this is a pairing, pair I shall! This city is honored to have for over the past 25 years the groundbreaking Bailiwick Repertory Theatre, 1229 W. Belmont, headed by Founder and Artistic Director, David Zak who has brought to his theatre a musical adaptation of the 1994 Albert Finney film, A Man Of No Importance. The show's description from the press release states that the musical explores the life of a bus conductor in Dublin who enchants his passengers with poetry readings by day and spends his evenings directing the local community theatre in plays by his idol Oscar Wilde. Through the course of tumultuous rehearsals for a production of Wilde's Salome he learns much about life and art, and begins to come to terms with his own true nature.

This Jeff recommended show is from the creative genius of playwright Terrence McNally, lyricist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime & My Favorite Year) while under the masterful direction of Scott Ferguson (co-Founder- Theatrebam Chicago).

A Man of No Importance was initially part of the Lincoln Center Theater 2002-3 season, and ran from Sept. 12-Dec. 29, 2002 were it was awarded the 2003 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical. Bailiwick has put their own stamp on this production and the critics have hailed it has one of the must see shows of the season. This production stars one of the brightest and up and coming musical theatre actors in Chicago, Ryan Lanning, who won a Jeff for his work in Kiss of the Spiderwoman last year.

So for an evening out of your ‘Wildest' dreams, take in Wilde's for brunch or dinner, then head over to the Bailiwick and take in A Man of No Importance. Then you will truly know how this one poet has effected not only his generation, but many generations to come with his poignant philosophy on life and how to life it.

For more information on A Man of No Importance, please visit www.bailiwick.org

Photo: Ryan Lanning (front left) in A Man of No Importance at the Bailiwick. Photo by: David Zac