The last time I was at the Stretch, I was in pursuit of their award-winning Cortland Street Burger and walked away with a very happy stomach. I made a return trip to the Wrigleyville sports bar and grille to sample their new spring menu—launching March 12—created by Chef Jim August and try out a few of their drinks.

Mason Jar Cocktails

Next to a selection of the usual domestics and some solid craft beers, the Stretch stands out for an assortment of cocktails served in fun mason jars. The first drink I imbibed was the “Evers to Chance,” which I’m told is one of their best sellers. Flavored vodka initially sounds fun and later ends in deep regret, but I enjoyed the root beer vodka, amaretto, cola, and cream soda creation. The “Evers to Chance” tastes exactly like a root beer float minus the ice cream. Stay away if it’s not your cup of tea, but dessert drink enthusiasts will enjoy it.

The “Bleacher Blend” has Maker’s Mark, Southern Comfort, and Captain Morgan, though the real standout is the pineapple juice. Drinking this made me feel like I should be on a tropical beach and will likely be a summer highlight.

The standout for me was the “Squeeze Play:” Hendricks’s gin, fresh strawberry chunks, basil, and lemonade. The wonderful, heavy strawberry flavor dominating this drink will make you think you’re staying healthy while the gin does the trick. This one is going to be another great summer pick.

Sampling the New Menu

Chef Jim August and the Stretch serve bar food, but it’s a major step above the reheated, frozen wings you can struggle to digest at your typical neighborhood sports bar. From the way they prepare their food to the adventurous ingredients they use, it’s clear the Stretch deserves a spot in your Wrigleyville/Roscoe Village restaurant rotation.

While old favorites like the Cortland Street Burger have stayed, there are some new menus items to look out for:

The Babe: This traditional-styled brat comes to life thanks to the sweet, caramelized onions and bold mustard flavor. I particularly enjoyed that the sausage came wrapped in a pretzel hot dog bun. Put anything between a pretzel bun, and I’m sold.

Clark Street Burger: You know what you’ve been missing from your life? Mac n’ cheese on a burger. A bite of this huge burger rewards the taste buds with a double hit of flavorful and creamy macaroni noodles and savory bacon.

Wings: Wings are an essential bar staple and these did not disappoint. I tried wings topped in their Chipotle hot sauce as well as the Jameson barbecue, which also had a bit of a kick. The chicken was tender and came right off the bone while both sauces had lots of flavor.

Short Rib Chili Nachos: Though deceptively simple, the chili is prepared for two days before reaching peak enjoyment levels. Packed with tons of toppings and lots of flavor, one of the real show stoppers was the Chihuahua cheese—a real game changer compared to the yellow goo you usually expect to see on nachos. It’s easy to see why these nachos were featured on WGN’s Chicago’s Best.

 

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