Monday, February 19, 2018

Red Barrel Opens This Week; High-End, Destination Restaurant on Archer Ave.

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

It's been quite some time since a top-shelf, destination
The iconic Red Barrel exterior.
restaurant opened on the Southwest Side.

This Thursday, one will open in Archer Heights, in the old Red Barrel space just west of Archer and Kostner.

The owners, respected local businessmen (and brothers) Luis and Carlos Vazquez decided to revive the Red Barrel name--in part as a nod to the old Red Barrel restaurant that was there decades ago.

The old Red Barrel was a genial neighborhood place known for its casual and affordable eats, cozy atmosphere that included peanut shells on the floor and rabbits in a hutch just outside the north windows.

After the first Red Barrel closed, it was briefly Szalas, a Polish-style restaurant, for several years; but it has sat vacant for too long.

The Red Barrel of 2018 brings that dining experience to whole new level.

At an invitation-only sneak peek on Monday, February 19, the Vazquez brothers and staff wowed dozens of community leaders: fellow business owners, clergy, school principals and teachers, civic association officials and many more.

Swift and friendly wait staff served tantalizing appetizers like grilled calamari, baked cheese chorizo, popcorn shrimp, spinach artichoke dip and more.

Sumptuous main courses included broiled cedar-plank salmon, baked rigatoni, almond-crusted Mahi, Polish meatballs, braised short ribs, four different cuts of steak, pan-seared scallops, thick pork chop with honey mustard glaze and more.

Top-shelf liquors, wine and craft beers helped the evening flow nicely.

All served in a beautiful setting that keeps much of the charming, hunting-lodge feel of the place, but with extensive renovations and improvement.

What the Vazquez brothers have put into their new venture is impressive.

Everyone on the Southwest Side who appreciates dining that is a cut above most other restaurants, really should give Red Barrel a try, and soon.

If Red Barrel succeeds--and we certainly hope it does--it will be as a classy, destination restaurant that draws customers from well beyond the neighborhood--diners from the Loop and North Side, as well as the west and southwest suburbs.

A real feather in the cap for Archer Heights, already one of the better neighborhoods in Chicago.

Red Barrel's menu is both diverse and creative. Please check it out at

Many thanks to Luis and Carlos Vazquez. May your reign on Archer Avenue be long and prosperous.

Here are a few photos we shot at Monday night's sneak peek. See you soon at Red Barrel?

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  1. Loved it the first time around, let's hope for same great success this time.

  2. Got reservations for tonight , can not wait, I proposed to my wife here in the fall of 1985, 33 years ago. We loved it then, sad when it closed, but happy it's back.

  3. I was conceived there! , along with the rabbits! Some 40 years ago. Good times in the Barrel.