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David Burke taps into the pork craze with launch of carry-out bacon bar

The Banh Mi Five-Spice duck handwiches will be featured menu Burke's BacBar which opens so610 N. Rush St. | Alex

The Banh Mi and Five-Spice duck handwiches will be featured on the menu of Burke's Bacon Bar which opens soon at 610 N. Rush St. | Alex Wroblewski/Sun-Times

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Hollywood has long had a love affair with all things bacon:

Katy Perry: “I unfortunately still crave chicken McNuggets and bacon, which is the meat candy of the world.”

Gwyneth Paltrow: “I don’t know how healthy bacon is in general, but I know it’s incredibly delicious.”

Tyra Banks tweeted “Lady eating bacon next to me. She just got up and left two pieces. Should I...???”Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane in “Frasier,” ordering coffee at the Cafe Nervosa: “Yes, I’ll have a non-fat, decaf latte, please. Oh, what the hell? Look, make it a full-fat mocha with extra whipped cream. What the hell, put a slice of bacon on it!”

Elvis Presley loved a toasted banana, bacon and peanut butter sandwich, which he sometimes requested “grilled in bacon fat.”

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Updated: August 21, 2013 12:58PM

For bacon lovers, there’s one hard-and-fast rule— if it isn’t pork, it isn’t bacon— beyond that it’s all gravy.

“When pork became the ‘other white meat,’ bacon became the meat of choice,” said celebrated chef and restaurateur David Burke.

“I believe everyone craves pork once in a while and I wanted to create a menu that satisfied the desire without being overwhelming,” Burke said.

To that end, Burke’s Bacon Bar opened Tuesday in The James Chicago, 610 N. Rush, in the shadow of David Burke’s Primehouse. The sandwich shop was designed by Thomas Schlesser, a three-time James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Restaurant Design (Avec, Blackbird and The Publican), who was given just 100 square-feet to turn the concept into reality. Highlights of the eatery brings a Himalayan salt wall behind the counter for dry-aged curing.

Burke, along with David Burke’s Primehouse Executive Chef Rick Gresh, had the task of creating a menu that reflected a “fun” concept. The creative duo came up with “handwiches” (petite sandwiches that fit in the palm of the hand) as their signature item ($4 each or 3 for $11).

“There’s nothing ordinary about our chef-driven creations,” Gresh said, “even the way they come wrapped was strategically designed.”

Varieties include five-spice duck (smoked Peking duck, Chinese bacon (pork belly), hoisin sauce, cucumber cilantro and scallions in a steamed bun; 50 cents extra); banh mi (chicken liver-bacon salad, bacon, pickled vegetables, herbs and lime on a baguette ) and the Big Kahuna Spamwich (barbecued spam, pineapple slaw, bacon crumbs, homemade pickles on a King’s Hawaiian roll). Soups, salads and sides are also available. Desserts include bacon chocolate chip cookies— “delish”— and bacon peanut brittle.

“Bacon could be the one legal drug, because once you taste it you’re hooked,” Gresh said.

Trending next at the bacon bar? Body products including lip balms and soaps, and there’s even talk of a bacon cake down the road.

Burke’s Bacon Bar is carry-out only. Delivery (within a limited range) is available. Visit


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