Though the menu boasts south american empanadas, tropical-fruit marinades, and southern-style smoked brisket, co-owner Mike Jettner defines Dish Dine & Drink as a neighborhood joint above all. By at least one measure, it would have to be: he lives right around the corner, having moved there after a childhood spent only a few miles east in Rogers Park. His proximity lets him get to know the regulars and tempt new neighbors with promises of rich, comforting dishes such as the skillet mac 'n' cheese, a baked blend of cheeses and pasta topped with herbed breadcrumbs.
To help open a business in a place he knew well, Jettner gathered some of the people he knew best. His wife, Mary, is co-owner, and the menu of homemade crepes, creative sauces, and hearty sandwiches arose from a 30-year friendship with an instructor of culinary science. The space with the long, dark-wood bar still shows the sheen of Dish’s 2012 opening, but it too has Jettner’s sledgehammer’s handwriting all over it. The pub had been a dentist's office before Jettner, a former construction worker, broke it down and built it back up into a space where natural light streams onto paintings depicting streetscapes similar to those customers see from behind the huge windows.
From this outpost, Jettner hopes to watch the revitalization of the surrounding Norwood Park hub continue, as the new streetlights outside illuminate an ever greater number of just-opened storefronts and better-groomed sparrows. In the process, Dish plans to keep drawing in newcomers to explore this patch of the city with the strains of frequent live music and the aromas of its eclectic global cuisine.