Tom Madrecki is known for fine dining-caliber food from his Chez Le Commis supper club. But the part-time chef is now getting into something a little greasier with the launch of Vin & Vic's, a Chicago-style pizza pop-up that will make its first appearance at Capitol Lounge on Jan. 8.
Madrecki, a Chicago native, bemoans the lack of deep dish pizza in D.C. But lesser recognized is Chicago's thin-crust pizza, which is baked longer than your average pie and has a cracker-like crust. Vin & Vic's will serve both styles.
One of Madrecki's admittedly "crack-pot" ideas is a whole "Chicago-style" octopus. Think Chicago-style hot dogs topped with mustard, relish, and the works—but with octopus tentacles in the place of sausages. He explains the textures can be very similar. A platter for groups of six or more will go for $90 and must be ordered in advance by email. There will also be a few pastas, salads, and meats. For dessert, Vin & Vic's will serve popcorn ice cream with cheddar and caramel. The kitchen will be open from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m.
Madrecki is better known for his wine expertise, but the pop-up will also offer $4 drafts of Goose Island beers and $2 shots of Jeppson's Malört, a bitter spirit that simultaneously disgusts and delights Chicagoans.
Unlike most pop-ups, where chefs have a concept and try to find a space for it, Madrecki says Capitol Lounge's space inspired the idea for Vin & Vic's. Madrecki had been talking to Capitol Lounge owner Joe Englert about doing something, but he didn't know what until he saw the old gas pizza ovens in the kitchen. "That's a thing you see all over in Chicago, but you don't see it in D.C.," Madrecki says.
The pop-up is named after Madrecki's grandfather, Victor Madrecki, who was a cook in the Marines and later a Chicago police officer, providing security to Russian fur importers on the side. He drank a lot and had ice cream at the end of every day.
"He was every blue collar guy's dream of Chicago," Madrecki says.
If the Jan. 8 pop-up goes well, Vin & Vic's will likely return weekly or biweekly.
Photo by Tom Madrecki