“A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs.” Mark Twain
Chef Tim Graham and Beverage Director and Sommelier Rebekah Graham are hoping to bring much more of a good thing to Logan Square with their new restaurant, Twain (2445 N. Milwaukee) which opened this weekend. The Twain team celebrated the opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the new space on August 16, 2018.
The husband and wife duo have deep roots in the Chicago restaurant community. He was previously the chef at Travelle and she was the beverage director at Publican. They have partnered with restauranteur Branko Palikuca, co-owner of The Dawson, Topaz Café and Citrine Café.
The restaurant, named for the Midwest’s most famous author, Mark Twain, has a Midwestern theme, influenced by the couple’s extensive collection of spiral-bound women’s club cookbooks from the 1940s to the present and Tim’s upbringing in central Missouri. Comfort food abounds, as do comfort cocktails but with modern twists and fun presentations. Appetizers include Ants on a Log (celery, duck liver peanut butter mousse, bourbon cherries) and Sloppy Marrow (roasted bone marrow, sloppy Joe, mustard relish, slice of white). The Beer Cheese Soup comes with rye croutons and a mini High Life back. Main courses include Great Lakes Perch and Pigs in a Blanquette (braised pork cheek, dry aged chop and sauce blanquette). A proper Midwestern dinner should end with ice cream, of course, and Twain does not disappoint: homemade ice cream is hand churned in the dining room, featuring a rotation of seasonal flavors, including a Graham family recipe for Scotch whiskey honey flavor.
Not to be outdone, Rebekah’s beverage program is equally as clever. The signature cocktail is the Jelly Jar, a simple fruit-forward cocktail that changes seasonally based on the hundreds of recipes for jams and jellies found in the vintage spiral cookbooks, everything from blueberry to pepper to Queen Anne’s lace. The drink menu also includes a Wisconsin old fashioned and rum punch, as well as an extensive wine list.
In its first life, the building that houses Twain was a garage built in the early part of the last century with an art deco façade. The design team has completely refurbished the dining room. It is modern with homey touches: hammered copper relief behind the bar; burlap fixtures; dreamy lighting and a gorgeous felt mural of animals. All of the details are designed to feature the abstracted aesthetics of the Mississippi River in all its romance and abundance. The ceilings are 12’ high and the exact height of two fathom—or in riverboat parlance: a twain.
Should I eat here? Yes, if you enjoy comfort food…and if you can get a reservation.
Twain, 2445 N. Milwaukee Ave, 773-697-8463