Beard nets are totally fashionable, right?

Michael Roper, owner of the bar Hopleaf in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, said facial hair “is the fashion of the time, and I’m sure the health department is not happy about this fashion.” Over half of the men in the kitchen at Hopleaf have beards, and Michael seems to be questioning whether or not this is going to turn into a problem. “At this point, they haven’t come down real hard on the beard issue, but I have a feeling we have to soon because it’s just become so ubiquitous.”

The city’s health code does in fact have something to say on the matter. Anybody preparing food in the kitchen has to use “effective hair restraints to confine hair.” Not only the hair on your head, but your facial hair as well, and if you do not follow this rule, you will have committed a minor violation.

“I always keep a beard, but it’s a short beard. I don’t know where the line is drawn,” said an employee at a popular Logan Square brewery who did not want to talk on the record.

“All the things that I think are critical, that’s what inspectors go after,” said Matthias Merges, the bearded chef and owner of Yusho, A10 and Billy Sunday.

Apparently, health inspectors aren’t writing more tickets for beard violations, nor have they seen a spike in customer complaints related to beards or hair in their food. They may in fact have bigger concerns, like checking for rodents and roaches, cross-contamination of food and equipment and inadequate hand-washing to name a few, all of which can shut a restaurant down.