Mary Jane Chef’s Cafe returns to Chicago with a pop-up

For fans of Cafe Marie-Jeanne, there is now some good news. The former chef of the restaurant, who goes by Bunny (they co-owned the café with Val Szafranski) holds a pop-up at the popular Lakeview bar.

The pop-up is called Uncle Bunny’s on Sunday, July 17 and Monday, July 18 in the Long Room. Bunny Eater tells that they will cook a classic CMJ burger and Italian beef (in both beef and veggie types). They’ll also offer a filtered milk punch that “tastes like the hottest, sexiest neon cream ever.”

It’s been nearly two years since Café Mary Jane, a casual all-day French-style restaurant, in Humboldt Park closed, but Chicago hasn’t forgotten it. On any given day while strolling a local farmers market or having a drink in a bar, it is not an unusual sight for a visitor to discover a shepherd wearing a CMJ shirt, showing his love for the five-year-old restaurant. It sat in the northeast corner of California and Augusta. The restaurant’s last day drew long queues in the street and was a particular favorite among chefs and chefs. After CMJ closed in November 2020, a new tenant redesigned the venue and opened an Italian restaurant, Segnatore, in its place.

Bunny hopes CMJ fans will support this endeavor so they can have another popup this August. After the Mary Jane Café closed, Bunny left Chicago and moved to Missouri to live with their mother. But gardening at Show Me State can only hold one’s attention for so long. Rabbit now hopes to be back in Chicago by fall.

The line outside the Mary Jane Café on November 21, 2020, the restaurant’s last day of service.
Ashok Selvam / The Chicago Eater

The kitchen at Mary Jane Café pleased Chicagoans with delicacies such as burgers and “Chicago-style” lobster rolls inspired by the classic Vienna beef hot dog. But it also tested the locals, luring them to French delicacies like calf brains and goose liver. Duck frites were also a popular item. The Long Room’s pop-up won’t offer that, but ribs and chicken are available.

Does this popup mean that fans should expect a new restaurant? This is in the air.

“I still really enjoy the life that not having a restaurant gives me,” says Bani. “But I suppose I should never say never. Right now, I just want to find a job and go back in time and go to all the nice, fun, and delicious restaurants that Chicago has to offer.”

Take a look at the popup below.

Uncle Bunny’s Pop-Up, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday, July 17 and Monday, July 18 in the Long Room, 1612 W. Irving Park road.

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