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New Arctic Wolf Ale House strives to bring a little bit of Alaska to West Dundee – Chicago Tribune

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As you might expect by its name and decor, the newly opened Arctic Wolf Ale House in West Dundee has ties to Alaska.

Located at Huntley Road and Tartans Glen Drive, it’s owned and operated by three people who hail from the country’s 49th state.

Dilan Pinjolli was born in Wisconsin but grew up in Anchorage when his parents decided to head north during a boom in Alaska’s oil-driven economy.

“We’re Albanian-American and there is an Albanian-American community in Anchorage,” Pinjolli said.

His parents opened a diner named the Southside Grill, and Pinjolli wound up working there in his teens and serving as its manager during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After that, I felt like I needed a change,” he said.

Dilan Pinjolli, co-owner of the newly opened Arctic Wolf Ale House in West Dundee, stands below a stuffed gray wolf that helps conjure up a feeling of Alaska, the state he and the other two owners recently left. (Mike Danahey/The Courier-News)
Dilan Pinjolli, co-owner of the newly opened Arctic Wolf Ale House in West Dundee, stands below a stuffed gray wolf that helps conjure up a feeling of Alaska, the state he and the other two owners recently left. (Mike Danahey/The Courier-News)

Last year he sold his home and returned to the Midwest, where he had family and friends. His sister, Tina, and her husband, Andy Poshka, decided to do the same.

“I’m originally from Connecticut,” Poshka said. “I met Tina on an extended trip to Alaska, and the rest is history. … I knew the Chicago area from visiting here with her. I like the people here and that you are closer to everything than we were in Anchorage.”

The trio settled in the Oswego area while looking for a restaurant to buy. Through a friend, they found a strip mall location at 1959 Huntley Road and spent six months making it their own.

Coincidences might have helped seal the deal. Pinjolli noted that Arctic Wolf Ale House is not far from West Dundee’s Huffman Park while the Southside Grill is in Anchorage’s Huffman-O’Malley neighborhood. Beyond that, the 1959 address is the same as the year in which Alaska became a state, he said.

The Arctic Wolf Ale House has opened in the Huntley Road location in West Dundee that was last home to the Chunky Dog Bar & Grill. (Arctic Wolf Ale House)
The Arctic Wolf Ale House has opened in the Huntley Road location in West Dundee last occupied by the Chunky Dog Bar & Grill. (Arctic Wolf Ale House)

As for the name, Pinjolli said, “This location started as the Chubby Bullfrog, then it was the Chunky Dog. There are a lot of restaurants named after dogs around here. So I thought, what’s the top-tiered dog? It’s a wolf.”

Among the Alaskan touches are a hand-painted mural depicting a wolf, bear and salmon, Mount Denali and the Northern Lights, framed images of deer, bears, wolves and the Alaskan wilderness and a taxidermy gray wolf above the bar and bear in the party rental room.

The restaurant is family oriented, and their menu features an array off appetizers, sandwiches, wraps and “smashburgers,” including the “The OG,” made with two fresh 4-ounce beef patties topped with with housemade “Wolf Sauce” and American cheese on a brioche bun. (The four-patty version is called the “Apex Predator.”)

Every Friday they hold a fish fry featuring a beer-battered Altanic cod.

Providing a taste of The Last Frontier state, the beer offerings include Alaskan Amber and Husky Dog IPA. Pinjolli said they hope to add Alaskan favorites too, such as salmon, halibut and crab.

Cheese curds served with mixed berry and marinara sauces are one of the appetizers available at the Arctic Wolf Ale House in West Dundee. (Arctic Wolf Ale House)
Cheese curds served with mixed berry and marinara sauces are one of the appetizers available at the Arctic Wolf Ale House in West Dundee. (Arctic Wolf Ale House)

“Upgrades will come. Right now our focus has been on getting open and having everything running well,” he said.

“This is a place where we work to have the best prices and big portions. We want everyone to go home with takeout bags,” Pinjolli said.

Arctic Wolf Ale House is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Mike Danahey is a freelance reporter for The Courier-News.

Dilan Pinjolli, seen here, owns and operates Arctic Wolf Ale House with his sister, Tina, and brother-in-law Andy Poshka. All three moved to the Midwest from Alaska and decided to start the new venture in West Dundee. (Mike Danahey/The Courier-News)
Dilan Pinjolli, seen here, owns and operates Arctic Wolf Ale House with his sister, Tina, and brother-in-law Andy Poshka. All three moved to the Midwest from Alaska and decided to start the new venture in West Dundee. (Mike Danahey/The Courier-News)

 



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