We visited Tryzub and its infused vodka Ferris wheel

Introducing Know Your Corner Restaurant, our occasional tasting series of menus (and potato dishes and infused vodkas) from the restaurants that make Chicago Chicago. Here, a great evening at the Tryzub in Ukrainian Village.

I think the town hall should require all restaurants to have at least one little a bit of a theme. While they don’t have to go as far as Rainforest Cafe (although I’m calling dibs on the giant tree frog from Ohio and Clark’s closed location), there’s something to be said for the restaurants that transport you away from the dim lighting and chrome accents we’ve come to associate with hip restaurants.

Tryzub (2201 W Chicago Ave., right in the heart of Ukrainian Village) is a perfect example, combining delicious Ukrainian cuisine with a welcoming ambiance and house-infused vodkas (because your weekend isn’t complete without a few shots of Dragon Fruit Habanero).

The story: Founder Myron Lewyckyj opened Tryzub not just as a restaurant but also as a place to make Ukraine’s history, art, and culture more accessible to Chicagoans.

On my Saturday afternoon trip there, Myron’s love for Ukraine was evident in every inch of the restaurant, from the bright mosaics and family photos to the Ukrainian memes printed in the bathroom. It’s kind of like a museum, except it’s better in every way, as there’s a full bar and a TV in the corner that shows women’s gymnastics on ESPN. (You can view Tryzub’s comprehensive guide to the restaurant’s art and artifacts here. It includes information on general Ukrainian themes and motifs, such as Tryzub’s titular trident: “Millions of Ukrainians have died over the centuries for the freedom that this symbol signifies.”)

History isn’t just on the walls, it’s also on your bill. All prices reflect an important year in Ukraine, which means that if you can walk away from your plate of varenyky ($12.56, the year King Danylo founded Lviv) long enough, you’ll come out of Tryzub with a better understanding of the thousands of Ukraine. years of history.

The atmosphere: Tryzub is awesome. The only problem is that the rest of Chicago also knows it’s great, which means if you show up without a reservation on a Saturday afternoon, be prepared to wait. (Learn from my mistakes.)

On the plus side, that means you’ll spend time in the Tryzub’s cozy bar, complete with couches, wood paneling, and easy access to the bar’s house vodkas. I even spotted a brave guy ordering the Wheel of Fun ($45), a veritable mini Ferris wheel of flavored vodka shots. (And honestly, what better way to spend 45 minutes waiting?)

From the dining room, surrounded by the restaurant’s chandeliers and gallery walls, I was struck by the number of Chicagoans from all walks of life accompanying me. A large family was crammed into a booth, celebrating a birthday. A first date happened next to me, with an impassioned man in a tracksuit trying to convince the woman in front of him that “Succession definitely worth trying again. A group of friends at the end of the aisle listened intently to one of them practicing her bridesmaid speech for an upcoming wedding.

“Becca, I’m so proud to be by your side as you marry Kevin,” she read, as her friends interrupted to give notes. (Becca and Kevin, I wish you all the best.)

The food: I had never eaten Ukrainian food in my life before, and after asking the waitress what she would recommend (“Everything”, she replied), my boyfriend and I ended up ordering three dishes distinct potato-related – which I’d order again.

We started the meal with an order of crispy potato pancakes ($14.90) and a plate of potato and cheese varenyky ($12.56), which are homemade daily.

“And can we get an order of curly fries too?” I blurted as our waitress closed her notebook. (Really, I’m so Midwestern it didn’t even occur to me that our entire order so far was potato.)

The varenyky are known to be the best in the country, at least according to the woman waiting at the bar next to me, and they lived up to the hype, with a fluffy batter and delicious filling. And it turns out my panic order of curly fries ($8.00) was the right decision – they come with a peppery red sauce that I’d buy by the gallon.

For the main course we shared the chicken paprikash ($17.08) and the stuffed cabbage ($16.48), I’m sure to impress everyone around us by not having even more potatoes earth.

Both were phenomenal, but the chicken paprikash was the highlight of the whole meal, and possibly my whole week. Part soup, part chicken dish, the dish was cutting edge comfort food, with a tangy and sweet paprika sauce, tender chicken and roasted vegetables.

And don’t miss Tryzub’s 15 house-infused vodka flavors, ranging from chai to coconut to sour cherry. The restaurant also serves cocktails, if vodka isn’t your thing. I would recommend the Bloody Mariyka, their take on a Bloody Mary – made with horseradish vodka, it’s one of the best I’ve had in town.

The Nitty Gritty:

Location: 2201 W Chicago Ave, Chicago IL, 60622

Hours: Tuesday-Thursday: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Saturday – 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. (brunch served from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.); Sunday – 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. (brunch served from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

Nothing else? It’s important to note that Chicago has one of the largest Ukrainian populations in the country, with a wide array of Ukrainian-owned businesses that could benefit from your support during the ongoing Russian invasion. Learn more here.