Behind the Scenes of Presidio

The Behind the Scenes series entails insight from behind the chef’s counter and a restaurant’s outlook of its past, present, and future. 

After months and months of nailing down a date to try out this new hot-spot, the hubs-to-be and I found some time to hop on the blue line to Bucktown. Although easy to miss from the outside, Presidio‘s  menu is anything but forgettable.

Calling its home in the old Bluebird space on Damen, Presidio’s concept is inspired by the trendy (San Fran) Bay Area and its ingredients rotating around the history of its name (see below). With a heavy emphasis on West Coast-American fare, Presidio’s menu is fresh, bright, and flavorful-including its long list of carefully crafted libations. If you’re up in the air of when to visit, its brunch menu can quickly change your mind.

The Quick List of “Shoulds”

What time of the day should you visit? Brunch

Can you make a reservation? Yes, go to Open Table 

What should you order for brunch? The spicy and crunchy Huevo Rancheros, the rich and flavorful Thai Shrimp & Grits, or the trendy buzz menu item-the Breakfast Royale.

What should you order to drink? Irish Coffee or Pisco Punch

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Huevos Rancheros


(BTS Questions answered by owner, Patrick Cullen)

Where did the concept originate from?

Most of my family is from the San Francisco Bay Area. Many of them have worked in the hospitality industry there since I was a kid. Visiting their bars and restaurants was hugely influential to me and my career. The name “Presidio” comes from a former military outpost and large park that overlooks the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.

How has Presidio been received by the neighborhood?

Amazingly well. That is something that we are most proud of. We have seem a tremendous number of neighborhood regulars who really appreciate what we offer. Before we opened, that was one of our primary goals and we have been happy with the reputation that we have built with our neighbors.

Thai Shrimp & Grits


What has been the biggest struggle since opening?

We’ve been extremely fortunate to have avoided any opening year horror stories or significant obstacles. We still have a majority of our opening team in place-including our chef and management team. That has allowed us to build a culture and create consistency-which is important.

Is there something you would have done differently?

There’s nothing we would have done differently-everything has worked out well. The only change we wish we could make is adding more space, particulary for large private events.

Breakfast Royale

How often are the menus rotated?

We offer food and drink specials every night based on what is fresh and available that day. Our larger menus are updated every couple of weeks with major updates coming with the changes in seasons.

Is there a menu item that has been a crowd favorite so far?

There are several food and drink items that have remained on the menu since we opened, including: the Burrata, Cavatelli, and Polenta. Those three dishes are huge fan favorites. Two originaly cocktails have also earned regular spots on the drink menu: The “Flash in the Pan” (made with gin, black pepper, syrup, grapefruit juice, and fresh mint) and the “Pisco Punch #1” (made with thai chili infused pisco and fresh mango.


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