Marcin Cymmer

JoJo's Milk Bar to open in March in River North, with chef Christine McCabe's creations

Phil Vettel
Marcin Cymmer

Tuesday, we reported that Christina Tosi was eyeing Chicago as a likely destination for her acclaimed Milk Bar in New York. Another group plans to beat Tosi to the punch. Or milkshake, as the case may be.

JoJo’s Milk Bar, described as a “next-generation milk bar,” plans to open next month at 23 W. Hubbard St., a narrow, two-story space (and former home of Coco Champagne Lounge) in River North. (See our First Look story here.)

The concept is owned by Castle Hospitality Group, which also owns Shore Club. Christine McCabe, who also operates Interurban Boathouse, is executive chef and partner.

The Milk Bar Bakery in New York focuses on sweets and baked goods. JoJo’s Milk Bar will do the same, but also will include a full savory menu.

On the sweet side, McCabe will offer “playful desserts” that will include gourmet cookies, creative pastries, ice-cream frozen pop “milk bars” (McCabe is big on her lavender-blueberry version), baked hot chocolate and “over the top” milkshakes, including a few boozy shakes.

The savory side will feature a menu of “fun diner food,” according to McCabe. “It’ll be our twist, modernizing vintage-diner classics,” she said. “Instead of jalapeno poppers, we’ll have shishito-pepper poppers with pimento cheese.”

Also on the menu: JoJo’s fries, which are waffle fries with baked-potato toppings (sour cream, chives, bacon); overstuffed New York deli-style sandwiches; chicken-pot pie with chicken-beer gravy; and a double-burger on house-made brioche buns.

A walk-up window will serve the grab-and-go crowd. In the morning, the window will dispense coffee, hot chocolate and flavored milks, along with bagels, bialys and a refined version of McCabe’s take on Pop-Tarts. Lunch service will include milkshakes, each with a matched cookie. Late-night (midnight-4 a.m) offerings will include walking tacos, burgers and shakes.

The space has been decorated in black, white and aqua tones; focal points will include a wall of retro graffiti art, a “Lite Brite” wall, a milk mustache wall and a cascading milk-bottle display.

Healthy eating? Not a lot.

As McCabe said, “This is more about indulgence than diet.”

23 W. Hubbard St.,

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