The Chicago Reader recently featured our famous Monkey Bread. Here is the article:
The way foods go in and out of fashion is a mysterious process, but I still can't fathom why monkey bread virtually disappeared after its glorious heyday in the 70s and 80s, when even Nancy Reagan (allegedly) had her own recipe. Unlike its contemporary, fondue, it doesn't require special equipment or a lot of cleaning. Or even much effort, really: you take a few cans of biscuit dough, pop them open, chop the innards into bite-sized pieces, roll them in butter and cinnamon sugar, drop them into a bundt pan, cover with more butter and cinnamon sugar, bake for a while, and voila! Happiness! I suppose if you're a restaurant chef, you'd probably want to forego the canned biscuit dough and make your own, but still.
So I was very pleased to see monkey bread on the brunch menu at Revival Social Club, a new restaurant in Edgewater. Revival is pretty much open whenever you might want food (except for when you're on your way home after a long night out), but the monkey bread decided it for me: brunch all the way.
There's not much that is clubby about Revival Social Club. In fact, its management seems determined to make as many people feel welcome as possible. In addition to being open 12 to 16 hours a day and serving every possible meal, it also has cocktail and coffee programs. The menu provides options for vegetarians, vegans, and small children. It's conveniently located near the Granville el stop and two bus lines, in the space formerly occupied by M. Henrietta. Unless you are on a severe budget, it's not ruinously expensive. Service is friendly. The bathrooms come in male, female, and unisex.
And it has monkey bread! Each order comes directly from the oven—although it appears to be an appetizer, our server warned us that we would have to wait ten minutes for it, which meant it arrived at the same time as the rest of our food—served up in its own little cast iron skillet. We immediately started grabbing at the nuggets of bread with our bare hands (like monkeys, I guess). It had the smooth texture of canned biscuit dough, but less spongy. There was a bit of a crust, but the interior was soft. It probably would have gotten hard and chewy as it cooled, but there was little chance of that happening. The bourbon caramel sauce was hot and sticky. It burned our hands. We didn't care. We just licked it off our fingers and grabbed more.
Such was its magnificence that the woman at the next table took one look, summoned a waiter, and announced, "I want one of those." When hers arrived, someone at another table took a look and demanded one, too.
I must admit that the rest of the meal could not compare to the monkey bread, particularly the "Elvis Lives" French toast, which came topped with peanut butter, bananas, and candied bacon but was still somehow dry. The quiche of the day (that day's contained leeks, cheddar, and sun-dried tomatoes) was better, but in this particular skirmish in the endless war that is waged every brunch, sweet scored a decisive victory over savory. The good news is, monkey bread and a cup of coffee (Revival serves Dark Matter) and maybe a side of the candied bacon, makes a perfectly satisfying meal for two.
Revival Social Club, 1133 W. Granville, 773-293-6435, revivalsocialclub.com