The reason: to avoid further legal wrangling with the team behind Paul Kahan’s restaurant the Publican in Chicago. Owner Matt Bonney called the whole situation “an unfortunate mess” and said the establishment had already spent more money on lawyers than made him comfortable.
While the name’s connotation as a major wine region might seem a puzzling fit for a beer bar, Bonney gave me a quick-hit European history lesson that made it all make sense: The region between present-day Belgium and France long ago “became known as a place for good food and good drink, and people from there were considered to be people of leisure and drink and food,” says Bonney. In Europe especially, the term “Burgundian” has a bon vivant-ish connotation of “fine drink and fine good and good times and perhaps a little excess.” Which, coincidentally, is what Bonney and his ilk offer at their new establishment (by way of proof, check out the Former Publican’s glorious fried chicken and waffles in this month’s breakfast issue).
Nothing has changed besides the name, says Bonney. “We might carry one bottle of French wine. That’s it.”