Basic brunch-and-burger joints are woven so tightly along the central stretch of Lincoln Square that you could trip over a stroller and land in a beef patty–Bloody Mary combo. So how was Fiddlehead Café—which opened in 2005 with an emphasis on wine—to stand out? Owner David Byers found his answer by upping his focus on beer, amassing a bigger beverage program than everyone on the block combined, and reopening in February under the new name of Fork.
A better name might have been Glass: With nearly 200 beers and about 300 wines, Fork’s epic booze book loudly calls out “shotgun” while relegating the food menu to riding bitch. Novices and geeks alike can run through the drafts, sampling a little here and there as flights or half-pours; ditto for the well-rounded wine lineup. Sampling through Belgian quadrupels, German bocks and Midwestern IPAs could take you from 0 to 60 in a matter of minutes, so it’s convenient to have food like a solid burger around (not to mention the garlicky, greasy fries that double as hangover prevention, in case you don’t make it to Big Star for that michelada nightcap). Still, despite a lengthy menu, the food will do little to make Fork a destination. Which is why you’re better off treating it as a low-key stop for a few sessions of Beer Styles 101 instead.
By Heather Shouse