Spotlight on Crust Brewing: This modern, inviting hotspot in the heart of Rosemont’s entertainment district is known for its handcrafted food, cocktails and German-inspired beer
By Trent Modglin
5500 Park Place in the Parkway Bank Park entertainment district
Rosemont, IL 60018
Sunday-Wednesday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Thursday: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m.-midnight
Saturday: 11 a.m.-1 a.m.
History in short: While the Hofbrauhaus had been a staple in Rosemont’s Parkway Bank Park since 2013, ownership decided in 2021 that they couldn’t pass on the opportunity to buy the building, modernize technology and operate without the franchise fees associated with the famous Munich-based brand. Major renovations took nearly a year, and Crust Brewing opened on 2/2/22.
“We wanted to take advantage of the space, downsize a bit and focus more on this business-driven, tourist-focused area of Rosemont,” says general manager Bradley Cool. “We wanted a place where our menu and our beer could shine, and we could create a concept that would make it easy to hang out during a convention or have a great family dinner.”
The space: Crust boasts 14,000 square feet of modern, industrial, visually striking space. Stylishly sleek yet casual, it’s the kind of place where you can feel comfortable in everything from shorts and a t-shirt to a designer suit.
During the renovation process, contractors cut down and repurposed the long, communal tables from Hofbrauhaus to use in Crust, which also has plenty of booths. The big, rectangular bar is the centerpiece of the room and creates quite a presence with its 40 seats and TVs above.
Stylishly sleek yet casual, Crust is the kind of place where you can feel comfortable in everything from shorts and a t-shirt to a designer suit.
The massive windows in front allow for a lot of natural light, and patio seating for 104 makes Crust quite the destination during Rosemont’s Thursday concert series and fireworks shows in the summer. An open-kitchen concept is an eye-catcher in back, and two private party rooms with near floor-to-ceiling windows can hold 50 and 25 guests, with food and drink options that are completely customizable.
Interesting notes: The pizza bar in the back is a big hit, especially with the kids who are often mesmerized by the pizza-making process. Crust uses its own beer in the dough and had to build the new restaurant around their Neapolitan pizza ovens. Understandable when you consider they weigh 8,000 pounds apiece. … The 2,000-liter Kaspar-Schulz brewery was designed, engineered and built by hand in Bamberg, Germany. … With its proximity to O’Hare, Crust gets a fair amount of business from layovers and people looking to kill time while waiting to pick up loved ones, as well as plenty of shoppers from the nearby Fashion Outlets of Chicago.
What we’re eating and drinking: First and foremost, it needs to be mentioned that the food here is phenomenal, and the menu, which was tweaked at the beginning of October, caters to every palate with offerings ranging from the aforementioned Neopolitan-style pizzas (try the red wine fennel sausage) to shareables (beer-steamed mussels, sesame ginger tuna nachos, chili lime wings, etc.) and entrees like pistachio gnocchi, short ribs with whipped potatoes, or a Tuscan chicken sandwich on homemade focaccia.
New additions that figure to draw some attention: homemade cinnamon rolls made out of pizza dough, new cocktails served in a cooler with multiple straws, and a beer mule.
The brewery, being the former Hofbrauhaus, was designed to make German-style beers, primarily lagers, and head brewer Rob Hunter has no problem with that. Favorites of ours include the Pacific Standard golden American pale ale, which carries a solid malt presence balanced by hints of citrus and pine from classic American hops, and the Dough Roller, a slightly sweet Vienna amber lager.
“At least in the brewery, I feel like I have my feet on the ground now,” Hunter tells us. “I’ve been able to make the beers a few times and find out what works and what doesn’t. I’m a brewery geek, and it’s been a delightful struggle to make some new beers and vastly different beers that we think people want.”
We like to say we’re experts in all things craft — from handcrafted pizza, to great beer and cocktails. … You get the quality food and service you expect in downtown Chicago right here in Rosemont. Only with free parking.” — GM Bradley Cool
On the horizon: Hunter’s barrel-aging program is underway, and ownership has plans for a second location in an effort to duplicate the aesthetic they’ve created on a smaller scale.
From the brewery: “We like to say we’re experts in all things craft — from handcrafted pizza, to great beer and cocktails. You can see where the pizzas and beer are made right from your table, and you get the quality food and service you expect in downtown Chicago right here in Rosemont. Only with free parking.” — Crust general manager Bradley Cool