Pastoral Is Opening A Wine And Cheese Paradise In Andersonville [UPDATED]

By Anthony Todd in Food on Oct 28, 2015 2:20PM

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A tiny bit of the voluminous cheese selection at Pastoral. Photo by Grant Kessler.
Wine and cheese lovers in Andersonville are about to have a pretty great weekend, as the new location of Pastoral is set to open in the next few days. The latest outpost of the gourmet shop (which has four other locations around the city) has a ton of new treats, including a full service restaurant, Appellation, a huge retail selection and a few other special secrets.

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The dining room at Appellation/Pastoral. Photo by Grant Kessler.

According to owner Greg O'Neill, Pastoral has been looking at Andersonville for years, but when the current location (a prime spot on Clark street) came available, the stars aligned. Rather than just open another retail location, however, O'Neill wanted to open a restaurant, using what he had learned from the opening of Bar Pastoral in Lakeview. "The one thing we learned from having Bar Pastoral next door to our original store was that the synergies between retail and restaurant are quite big," explains O'Neill. "There is no wall between them in this space because we thought that was really important."

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Dill ricotta gnudi at Appellation. Photo by Grant Kessler.

Here, the dining room bleeds right into to the retail space, allowing you to check out the delicacies that (conveniently) you could buy after dinner. The restaurant, Appellation, is helmed by Chef Jesse Williams, formerly of Lula and Birchwood Kitchen. She actually spent time as a cheesemonger at Pastoral, so the fit seems perfect. According to Williams, the Pastoral brand is devoted to "really fine quality ingredients with a rustic feel," and she's developed a menu that matches that feeling.

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Cresenza (cow) Toasts with Olives, Parsley, and Pomegranate. Photo by Grant Kessler.

There's a big cheese and charcuterie selection, of course, but also dishes like braised Gunthorp Farms pork ragout cooked in milk with hand cut egg noodles, dill ricotta gnudi with preserved lemon, beets and hazelnuts, and chicken soup with SarVecchio cheese dumplings. You can even grab a bar snack while you shop. As we head into the cold, rainy mess that is November, you're going to find us spending a lot of time at Appellation.

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Part of Pastoral's wine selection. Photo by Grant Kessler.

What, aside from Appellation, separates this location of Pastoral from the others? Well, O'Neill believes that the key to Pastoral is "food and wine with a sense of place," and while that includes classic european gourmet products like Parmigiano-Reggiano (from parma) and Manchego (from Spain), he also wanted to reflect the Swedish culture of Andersonville.

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The retail space at Pastoral. Photo by Grant Kessler.

"The neighborhood has lost most of the Swedish spots over the last several years," says O'Neill. "We felt it was important to offer some of the Swedish products, but products of high quality we could put our name on." They've paired up with Marie Wikstrom, daughter of the owner of the dear, departed delicatessen, who imports Swedish goodies like pickled herring, lingonberry jam and Swedish cheese, all of which you'll only find at this outpost of Pastoral.

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Mustard on tap! Photo by Grant Kessler.

They've also got mustard on tap. Yes, you read that right—mustard on tap. Only three spots in the U.S. offer this mustard system from Maille, the fancy french mustard company, which allows guests to fill earthenware pots with a rotating variety of mustards. You'll even get a discount on refills.

There are also some exciting developments coming down the pike. In mid-November, Pastoral will bring in Hewn pastries from Evanston and start opening for breakfast, serving up Counter Culture coffee and espresso, quiche and granola.

Pastoral/Appellation is located at 5212 N. Clark St.


Updated 9:00, 10/29 - The official opening date is... tonight! From a representative of Pastoral: "I wanted to let you know that Pastoral will officially open the Andersonville retail location, tomorrow, October 29th, beginning at 4:00pm. This includes the retail space and wine bar. Appellation will begin serving dinner tomorrow at 5:00pm, but, please note it is for walk-ins only."