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Cindy Laskowski

Each Tuesday @Craft Urban

LUNCH $9.99

Please select one item from each category

Small Plates

Crispy Cheese Curds
tempura style with house pickles

French Onion Dip
crisp potatoes, local crudite

Smoked Salmon Spread
red onion, capers, horseradish, toasted rye

Harvest Risotto
only what is best of the season

Avocado Toast
peppers, cucumbers, radish and local greens

Large Plates

House Roasted Turkey Club
cranberry-mustard mayo, cracked wheat, avocado, cucumbers, tomato

Crisp Chicken Sammich
house pickles, craft hot sauce, our ranch

Short Rib Grilled Cheese
caramelized onions, tomato, 3 cheeses

Crisp Falafel
cucumber crab red wheat salad, local greens, flat bread

Crafts Chopped Salad
some of this a little of that, hard boiled farm egg, remoulade dressing

DINNER $19.99

Please select one item from each category

Small Plates

Crispy Cheese Curds
tempura style with house pickles

French Onion Dip
crisp potatoes, local crudite

Charred Carrots
ricotta, seeds, pesto and local greens

Harvest Risotto
only what is best of the season

Avocado Toast
peppers, cucumbers, radish and local greens

Large Plates

Slow Cooked Beef Short Rib
creamed corn, crispy kale, natural jus

Sticky Chicken
boneless chicken, citrus, pickled peppers, cilantro, sesame seeds

East Coast Sea Scallops
brussels sprouts, citrus, cauliflower puree, red wine jus

Thyme Roasted Pork Loin
apple butter, spaetzle, leeks

Lobstah Roll
celery, local greens remoulade

Crabby Cake
jonah crab, local apple-fennel salad, curry aioli

Local artisans partner with Craft Urban to share their experience as creators with the public.

New flavors.
New people.
New experiences around food & drink. 



Who: Craft Urban is sipping & learning with Becci West from Windy City Distributing
Becci will be educating you about the spirits we use from Windy City in our cocktails. She’ll be sipping and tasting with you while she shares the stories behind the flavors.
Friday, June 7th
Cost: The Gas it Takes to Get Here (and a dinner reservation)
Where: Craft Urban, 211 James St, Geneva, IL 60134
Time: 6pm-8pm


The Week Magazine's Food & Drink Section May 25,2018's Issue

Craft Urban Geneva, Ill.

“Urban” might be the last word any Chicagoan would associate with the town of Geneva, but the owner of Craft Urban is quite serious about his vision, said Phil Vettel in the Chicago Tribune. Bernie Laskowski was a notable Chicago chef before his push into the suburbs, and in Geneva, a bedroom community 45 miles from the Loop, he was determined to create a city vibe by combining a handsome bare brick dining room with a compact, upscale menu. How compact? You’ll find no appetizers here. Instead chef Andrew Sikkelerus offers a choice between bar snacks like tempura-fried cheese curds or various “breads and spreads.” Fish entrées are well sourced, and headlined by Rushing Waters rainbow trout in a lemon-caper sauce. The porchetta, served on a bed of cannellini, isa star among the meaty options, and desserts include such “classic indulgences” as a tall apple pie and excellent chocolate mousse. One truly urban touch: After 10 on Friday and Saturday nights, the kitchen spoons out ramen, and canned beers are half price. 211 James St., (331) 248-8161

WGN News Website Screen Shot of Page Featuring Craft Urban

Craft Urban located in Geneva, IL, 211 James Street

Brunch begins on March 24t

Our version of Chilaquiles:

Tostadas soaked briefly in salsa guajillo, layered with chorizo, queso fresco and topped with a sunny side egg, lime crema and a salad of cilantro, pickled onion, avocado and radish.

To start we need to make salsa, the most important part.

This simple salsa is made with guajillo chile, a mild dried chile with a complex fruity flavor. It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico for making salsa.  If you don’t like your salsa too hot this is a good one for you. It is full of flavor but with less burn. This is a versatile salsa that goes well with many dishes.

Equipment Needed

  • Cutting board
  • Sauce pan
  • Blender
  • Strainer
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Spoon

Guajillo Chile Salsa Recipe:
prep 15 mins
cook 50 mins
total 1 hour, 5 mins
yield 1 quart


  • 16 guajillo chiles
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • Salt to taste


  • Remove the stems, seeds, and veins from the chiles. Discard.
  • Peel the cloves of garlic.
  • Chop the cilantro. You can use the stems.
  • Put all the ingredients in a saucepan.
  • Add just enough water to cover the ingredients, about 4 cups.
  • Bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat to low.
  • Simmer for 1 minute then turn off the heat.
  • Allow the ingredients to soak for 15 minutes. The dried chiles will reconstitute in this time.
  • Pour all of the ingredients including the soaking water into the blender.  Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add a little water if needed to blend.
  • Strain the mixture back into a bowl. Discard the paste that remains in the strainer.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in your saucepan over medium heat then add the strained salsa.
  • Turn the heat to low.
  • Simmer the salsa for 30 minutes until it thickens. The salsa will darken in color during this time.

To assemble:

  • ¼ cup queso fresco crumbled
  • ¼ cup cooked chorizo
  • ¼ cup sour cream whipped with juice of ½ lime
  • ¼ cup picked cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup julienne red onion, marinated with salt sugar and lime juice
  • 2 tortillas fried crisp
  • 1 whole farm egg, cooked sunny side up
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • 1 ea radish, sliced thinly

Spoon the sauce onto plate with a bit of chorizo and queso fresco, add tostada and drench in salsa, repeat process with second tostada.  Top with the last of the chorizo, then the egg.  Toss cilantro with marinated onions, radish and avocado, place on top of egg.  Drizzle with lime cream for garnish.

Eater Chicago Web Page Screen Shot of Review Article Heading

Although it’s all the way out in Geneva, Craft Urban “would feel at home in any city neighborhood” according to Phil Vettel. There’s a selection of toasts to start, including a “very nice combination” of ricotta, grape mostarda, and prosciutto. Seafood also excels — rainbow trout in a lemon-caper sauce is “one of the nicest dishes on the menu” — while the meaty porchetta is a “classy” pork and beans that serves as “perfect winter-weather fare.” Desserts are “classic indulgences” and the best of the bunch is the chocolate mousse with toasted marshmallow, graham-cracker crumble, and sea salt. [Tribune]

Chicago Tribune Website Screen Shot of Page Featuring Craft Urban

  • Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.57.10 AM

    The porchetta is a classy pork and beans, placing rolled pork shoulder on a bed of slow-cooked cannellini beans with tomatoes, carrots and onions.

  • Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.57.21 AM

    Rainbow trout is served in a classic lemon-caper sauce.

  • Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.56.44 AM

    Gourmet toasts include one topped with ricotta, grape mostarda and La Quercia prosciutto.

  • Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.56.57 AM

    Bar snacks include fried cheese curds.

  • Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.57.31 AM

    Craft Urban owner Bernie Laskowski, left, and chef Andrew Sikkelerus, saw the need for innovative restaurants in Geneva.

  • Screen-Shot-2018-01-09-at-11.57.50-AM

    A colorful mural of Ava Grey by Caesar Perez takes up one wall of the dining room.

  • Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.58.02 AM

    A Wonder Woman icon signals which is the women’s restroom.

  • Screen-Shot-2018-01-09-at-11.58.15-AM

    Super heroes decorate the women’s restroom door at Craft Urban.

  • Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.58.35 AM

    All kinds of super heroes decorate a men’s restroom door at Craft Urban restaurant.

Craft Urban restaurant brings some of the city to suburban Geneva, with a compact menu of bar snacks, seafood, great porchetta and classic indulgent desserts. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune)

Phil Vettel Contact Reporter
Chicago Tribune

Craft Urban sounds like a whimsical name for a restaurant 44 miles west of Chicago, but owner Bernie Laskowski is quite serious about the name and its location.

“I wanted an urban feel, a city vibe,” he said. “I wanted to bring something unique to Geneva.”

Laskowski certainly understands city restaurants. He began his career at Everest and later put in time at Marche and mk. He was chef for the innovative Bin 36 in its original location and later opened Park Grill, the below-The-Bean restaurant in Millennium Park.

He’s no suburbanite-come-lately, having moved out west more than 15 years ago. And after leaving Park Grill in 2011, he opened a series of “shot-and-beer joints” in the south suburbs (which he later sold), and he and his wife, Cindy, created Cinderella Paleo, an upscale meal-service company based in Naperville.

“As time progressed,” he said, “I saw more and more demand for good, quality ingredients and innovative restaurants. Not as avant-garde as Alinea, but still.”

The economics appealed to Laskowski as well.

“When I looked at the cost structure, it only made sense,” he said. “The rents, relative to check averages, are very affordable.”

Thus was born Craft Urban, which opened in downtown Geneva in mid-November. With its brick walls, stylish lighting (a couple of arty chandeliers, horizontally mounted single-bulb lights), bare-wood tables and hammered-leather chairs, the restaurant would feel at home in any city neighborhood. The front lounge offers gleaming white subway tiles and matching tufted-leather bar seats; most of the space is given to the dining room, which has carpeting (that cuts down on ambient noise, though I wouldn’t call the place quiet), and a colorful mural by Caesar Perez of Ava Grey takes up the entire west wall. Another artist, Josh Shultz, designed the comic-book decoupaged restroom walls.

The compact menu, managed adroitly by executive chef Andrew Sikkelerus, skips appetizers in favor of bar snacks and a section of “breads and spreads.” Among the former are tempura-fried cheese curds, along with bread-and-butter pickles and a mildly spiced red-pepper dip; and a Gruyere-based, gratineed fondue with crisp apple slices and brioche toast. The latter category embraces the gourmet-toast fad without using the term; there is indeed an avocado version (with sunflower and pomegranate seeds), but also a “schmear” that combines chicken-liver mousse and pork rillettes with a nice spike of mustard, a creamed-spinach and mushroom combo with aged Parmesan, and a very nice combination of ricotta, grape mostarda and La Quercia prosciutto.

Sikkelerus offers a nice assortment of seafood options, bringing in wild striped bass, Rushing Waters rainbow trout, king salmon (recently added, enhanced with sesame and horseradish) and farm-raised Texas shrimp. The shrimp are the stars of the shrimp and grits, very prettily presented, and the rainbow trout, in a classic lemon-caper sauce, is one of the nicest dishes on the menu.

The star of the meaty options is the porchetta, a dish created by Laskowski’s son, Sebastian. It’s basically a classy pork and beans, placing rolled pork shoulder on a bed of slow-cooked cannellini beans with tomatoes, carrots and onions, and it’s perfect winter-weather fare. Brick-roasted chicken arrives with an appealingly crisp crust and a pile of chewy fregola, a pasta shaped like little beads.

Beef lovers can choose between the short ribs, sitting above sweet corn and topped with fried kale, and butcher’s beef, which consists of teres major (tender shoulder cut) sourced from Slagel Farms, arranged in wide medallions over potatoes and root vegetables.

Desserts are classic indulgences. Best of the bunch is the chocolate mousse, a sort of reconsidered s’more topped with toasted marshmallow, graham-cracker crumble and sea salt. Mom’s Pound Cake, which comes from Laskowski’s mother-in-law, is thick, toasted and smothered in berries and sweet yogurt cream. Tall apple pie, and the even taller hot-fudge sundae, are exactly how you’d want these desserts to be.

Friendly and unaffected service is a strength.

Beverage options include close to a dozen cocktails, mostly classics (such as a well-made Old-Fashioned) and one or two clever signatures, including a tasty, boozy eggnog that I imagine won’t remain on the list very long. Wines by the glass run $9 to $12; half the wines on the 24-bottle list are less than $75.

Craft Urban has a late-night ramen offering, beginning at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights, augmented by half-price canned beers. Though open to all, the late-night menu functions as de facto industry nights. Another advantage to suburban dining (besides proximity and free parking) is that the wee hours arrive early.

Twitter @philvettel

211 James St., Geneva


Tribune rating: Two stars

Open: Lunch and dinner daily

Prices: Main courses $19-$34

Noise: Conversation-friendly.

Ratings key: Four stars, outstanding; three stars, excellent; two stars, very good; one star, good; no stars, unsatisfactory. The reviewer makes every effort to remain anonymous. Meals are paid for by the Tribune.

Craft Urban Copyright 2018