Less than a year after chef Sevan Abdessian opened Recess Eatery in Highland Park on York Boulevard, he has rebranded Recess and transformed it into 51 Tavern. The new concept is a gastropub style restaurant specializing in shareable menu items. 51 Tavern Highland Park
The transformation is mostly in concept and name only. The décor hasn’t changed much, but they’ve added booth seating in the restaurant and made the front patio more lounge-y. The back patio is still as lovely as it was as Recess, complete with fireplace and heaters, which is important this time of year. Even though the décor is the same, the vibe does seem a bit more welcoming. Maybe it’s the new front patio’s feng shui.
Abdessian remains at the helm with his modern Middle Eastern flair. The 51 Tavern menu is simple and straightforward, and made for sharing. The prices are very reasonable, allowing guests to order and share several dishes for their table.
If you have eaten at Recess Eatery, then you might recognize some of the menu items. There are a few dishes at 51 Tavern that are strikingly similar to or the same as some of the food on Recess Eatery’s old menu. With a Middle Eastern take on classic gastropub food, 51 Tavern’s new shareable menu is more suited to the neighborhood than its predecessor. Menu items include beer battered cod, sliders, fried cauliflower, shawarma tacos, and plenty more tapas style plates.
The drinks at 51 Tavern should not be overlooked. The bartenders here are actually mixologists crafting creative cocktails. The duchess of York is a must-have. It’s an invigorating mix of tequila, cucumber, lemon, and habanero lime foam.
The ambience is more relaxed as 51 Tavern. And with their new everyday daytime hours, they welcome guests of all ages now.