If you've ever wanted to play cornhole at the foot of an 18-foot-tall art installation, the courtyard between Wheelhouse and Sassetta is your kind of hang spot.
If you've ever wanted to play cornhole at the foot of an 18-foot-tall art installation, the courtyard between Wheelhouse and Sassetta is your kind of hang spot.
Beth Rankin

At Wheelhouse, a Simple, Tasty Brunch in an Airy, Art-Filled Courtyard

An 18-foot-tall art installation? Check. Cornhole? Check. Avocado toast? Check, of course.

Wheelhouse is one of three Design District eateries recently opened by Headington Concepts, the restaurant group behind CBD Provisions, The Rustic, Midnight Rambler and The Porch, to name a few. It shares a courtyard with one of its sister restaurants, Sassetta, along with a forthcoming grab-and-go spot called Go Go, and together these restaurants endcap a shopping complex where bathtubs are so fancy, they get their own showrooms.

Wheelhouse is pretty fancy, too. There’s that 18-foot-tall Daniel Arsham sculpture bearing down on diners like an albino vision of Gumby’s great fall, for one. And then there are the diners: beautiful people swathed in natural fibers and natural, relaxed smiles that betray their low deductibles and Juicero machines.

The menu is an abbreviated affair with fruit and yogurt ($6), avocado toast ($8), caramelized banana bread ($9), a short rib hash ($13), tacos and quiche. But not just any tacos. Pork belly tacos ($12). Wheelhouse packages these cute-as-can-be tacos in miniature flour tortillas to make you feel like a giant.

Inside, a bit of softly scrambled egg is layered with a fresh, peppery kimchi slaw and hunks of fatty, unctuous pork belly. The tacos’ individual components complement one another, combining soft, chewy, crunchy, spicy, fatty and savory in one neat bundle. Perhaps the only thing missing was something saucy to tie everything together and provide a bit of extra moisture.

The quiche is a deep-dish beauty, sitting as tall as an 8-inch layer cake in a diner case.
The quiche is a deep-dish beauty, sitting as tall as an 8-inch layer cake in a diner case.
Kathryn DeBruler

If it’s a good egg dish you’re really after, opt for the bacon and leek quiche ($14.) This quiche is a deep-dish beauty, sitting as tall as an 8-inch layer cake in a diner case. What at first glance appears to be a substantial undertaking gives way to an egg custard filling with a silky, soufflé-like profile and flaky, butter-kissed pastry. It’s a sexy quiche made even better by a generous hand of bacon and sautéed leeks coursing throughout.

The cocktail menu, meanwhile, echoes the food menu in terms of brevity. A briny bloody mary gets its kicks from a house-made mix of pickle juice, smoked tomatoes and Mexican oregano ($10.) The other adults-only beverages consist of salty dogs and micheladas ($10), and a couple of nonalcoholic juice options ($7) sound equally virtuous and delicious, combining ingredients like turmeric, hibiscus and ginger.

So as it turns out, yes, brunch is within Wheelhouse’s wheelhouse. It’s a stunning backdrop to let sunny weekends unfold and bellies get full. Just don’t stare too hard at the albino Gumby.

Wheelhouse, 1617 Hi Line Dr. Brunch served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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