Wicker Park’s Takito Kitchen plans to open Bar Takito in the West Loop, where Kabocha once lived. Look for it --- and a line-up of ceviche and arepas --- sometime in August. Bar Takito, 201 N. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607, 773-531-2120.
The name clues you in at Tête Charcuterie, a spot from Thomas Rice and Kurt Guzowski, set within a neighborhood where meatpackers once thrived. Peruse the cases lining the dining room to glean house-made head cheese and pâté en croute, made with heritage pork, wild boar and foie gras. Tête Charcuterie, 1114 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60607, 312-733-1178.
For casual, ultra-tasty grub, head to Blue Door Farm Stand, a spot dishing up cold-pressed juices, salads from just-plucked ingredients and sandwiches. Blue Door Farm Stand, 843 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60614, 773-935-2583.
Brendan Sodikoff (Gilt Bar, Maude’s Liquor Bar, et al.), who just opened High Five Ramen, has been busy. He also launched trattoria Cocello in the East Bank Club. So, you know, you can load up on carbs after a good workout. Cocello, 354 W. Hubbard St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-888-9195.
Brendan Sodikoff (Gilt Bar, Maude’s Liquor Bar, et al.) has opened High Five Ramen, a spot with insidiously spicy noodle bowls and slushy cocktails. Don’t worry, there are milder versions, too. High Five Ramen, 112 N. Green St., Chicago, IL 60607, 312-754-0431.
The Portage’s owner plans to open French-tinged American spot Community Tavern in Portage Park later this summer. The gussied up gastropub will serve house-made sausages, charcuterie, steaks and roast chicken. Matt Saccaro (Tizi Melloul, Autre Monde Cafe & Spirits) will be the chef. Community Tavern, 4038 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60641, no phone.
White Oak Tavern & Inn will soon open in the space that housed the former John’s Place address in Lincoln Park. The longtime family restaurant is giving way to more grown-up, Midwestern-bent fare from Alinea alum John Asbaty, meaning dishes like a fried duck leg with cornbread pudding. The Roscoe Village location of John’s Place will remain open. White Oak Tavern & Inn, 1200 W. Webster Ave., Chicago, IL 60614, 773-525-6670.
Mexican wrestling-inspired food truck The Tamale Spaceship has opened up a brick-and-mortar restaurant called Tamale Station, which serves street food-esque Mexican fare. Tamale Station, 1341 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60622, 312-909-7009.
Fig & Olive, the Mediterranean restaurant with locations in New York, West Hollywood and Newport Beach, has opened a branch in Chicago. Executive chef Pascal Lorange's menu features shareable small plates (e.g. fig-Gorgonzola tartlet, zucchini carpaccio) and dinner entrées such as Provence rosemary grilled lamb chops served with goat cheese gnocchi and eggplant roasted with thyme and honey. Fig & Olive, 104 E. Oak St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-445-0060.
Riotously colorful, Barbakoa, a Jerry Kleiner venture, is a perennially packed hub for Nuevo Latin fare that’s meant to be shared, such as platters of tacos and guacamole, salsa and ceviche trios. There’s paella, too, plus a tasting menu for parties of four or more. The creative cocktails are of note as well. Barbakoa, 1341 Butterfield Rd., Downers Grove, IL 60515, 630-852-2333.
Counter-service and casual, Honey Butter Fried Chicken is the go-to from Sunday Dinner’s Joshua Kulp and Christine Cikowski (Blackbird, Milk & Honey), only here it’s all about namesake poultry, served with honey butter. Expect more-interesting-than-average sides, too, like beans in heirloom tomato sauce. Honey Butter Fried Chicken, 3361 N. Elston Ave., Chicago, IL 60618, 773-478-4000.
Modern Mexican makes its way to the far west ‘burbs at Puebla, which is set within the old Wild Monk and Prasino location in St. Charles. Michael Tsonton (Courtright’s, Copperblue) was the consulting chef, and there’s a tequila line-up 50 strong. Choose between six salsa and six guac styles, moving on to grilled mahi mahi with mango salsa or lamb barbacoa tacos, and finishing with vanilla and chocolate-filled churros. Puebla, 51 S. First St., St. Charles, IL 60174, 630-945-3408.
Old Crow Smokehouse offers a familiar, if Asian-tinged, formula of baby-backs, honky-tonk and bourbon, in a setting honed from reclaimed wood. It’s backed by the crew behind John Barleycorn and Moe’s Cantina, and the grub --- pulled pork egg rolls, Chinese lamb with sticky rice, brined, smoked chicken --- comes from MasterChef alum Tony Scruggs. On weekends, there’s live music and an all-you-can-eat deal. Old Crow Smokehouse , 3506 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60657, 773-537-4452.
There is much to like about The Dawson, a venture from Billy Lawless (The Gage, Henri) and Branko Palikuca (Topaz Cafe, Amber Cafe). The kitchen preps buttermilk-fried Prime rib-eye with horseradish mashed potatoes, country gravy and buttermilk biscuits. The Dawson, 730 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60642, 312-243-8955.
The Hot Woks Cool Sushi owners are behind Asian Outpost, a spot for rustic-modern Asian fusion inspired by family recipes. That means dishes like garlic-ginger fried chicken and Grandma Lee's “famous steak,” sliced, Hong Kong-style New York strip with garlic and oyster sauce. Asian Outpost, 1315 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60605, 312-662-1100.
Azzurra comes courtesy of Marty Fosse (Anteprima, Acre, Bar Ombra), who knows his way around Italian fare. Here, it plays out simply, in an unpretentious setting in Wicker Park. A shareable spirit pervades, so expect the likes of crostini, stuffed farro arancini and pork loin wrapped in pancetta. Azzurra, 1467 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60622, 773-278-5959.
Jeff Mahin and Lettuce Entertain You opened Stella Barra Pizzeria, an industrial-feeling sister spot to Cali-style Summer House Santa Monica. The edited menu offers California-style red or white-sauced pizzas, meatballs and pastas, plus a list of boutique wines, craft (and draft) cocktails and microbrews. Stella Barra Pizzeria, 1954 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60614, 773-634-4101.
Matthias Merges’ Italian/French A10 offers up the likes of roasted garlic soup inflected with poppy seeds and green onions; wood-fired snails with rosemary oil; and a smoked Berkshire pork chop with Honeycrisp caponata and sage. Finish with a chocolate beignet, accented by toasted meringue and hazelnuts. A10, 1462 E. 53rd St., Chicago, IL 60615, 773-288-1010.
Built in 1892 by John Dusek as a public hall, Thalia Hall has been re-established as Dusek’s, where Jared Wentworth (Longman & Eagle) joins Bruce Finkelman and Craig Golden in offering a spot where American, Southern and Asian flavors shine. Expect dishes like fresh-shucked oysters; luxurious, butter-poached Maine lobster with smoked carrot purée, a trio of beans and black trumpet mushrooms in ramen broth, with Wittekerke; or a deviled pigtail rillette, plated with sweet, carrot-cucumber relish, fried potatoes and a paprika-cured egg yolk, then finished with celery foam. Be sure to get the seasonal ice cream sundae for dessert. If it’s caramelized honey ice cream with confit quince, warm quince syrup, lemon cream, maple praline walnuts and a shower of pomegranate seeds, you’re in luck. Dusek’s, 1227 W. 18th St., Chicago, IL 60608, 312-526-3851.
Dan Rosenthal (Trattoria No. 10) is behind Venetian newcomer Cicchetti, where veteran chef Michael Sheerin (Blackbird, Trenchermen) is in the kitchen, creating buzz-worthy Italian/Mediterranean plates. Not to be overlooked in this dream team is Phil Rubino (Acadia and Spiaggia) as sous chef and Sarah Jordan (Blackbird, Boka), who is whipping up desserts. The focus is on Venetian tapas, and that means Fontina-topped flatbreads with portobellos and crispy garlic; duck liver bruschetta with cocoa nibs; and ravioli filled with braised short ribs. Cicchetti, 671 N. Saint Clair St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-642-1800.
Paul Kahan has opened a rustic, seafood-centric Italian spot, Nico Osteria, in the Thompson Chicago. Good luck finding a table. If you do, however, you’ll be rewarded with Erling Wu-Bower’s Maine mussels in almond butter broth, whole-roasted fish and quail al'tonnato (quail in creamy tuna sauce), followed by pastry chef Amanda Rockman’s grapefruit meringata, rosewater-infused grapefruit with meringue and white chocolate Chantilly. Nico Osteria, Thompson Chicago, 1015 N. Rush St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-994-7100.
Webster’s Wine Bar Relocates
With the closing of bustling Telegraph, the new, improved Webster’s Wine Bar has made the move to its space. The shakeup included the departure of Telegraph chef Johnny Anderes. Webster's Wine Bar, 2601 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60647, 773-292-9463.
James Beard Awards to the Windy City
The 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards will be held in Chicago. For the first time since the awards began in 1990, the event will not take place in New York City.
What’s Next at Next
Chef Grant Achatz has announced the upcoming menus for Next Restaurant. A modern Chinese menu was introduced in early May 2014, and it will be followed by "Trio 2004" in September. It revisits a menu chef Achatz served in January 2004 that helped lead to the creation of Alinea. Next Restaurant, 953 W. Fulton St., Chicago, IL 60607, http://www.nextrestaurant.com.
Jimmy Bannos, Jr. Honored at the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards
Jimmy Bannos, Jr. of The Purple Pig was named Rising Star Chef of the Year (along with Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn in Lummi Island, WA) at the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards. Read GAYOT's coverage of the annual awards ceremony. The Purple Pig, 500 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-464-1744.
Alinea to Pop Up in the Big Apple
Alinea, that august eatery in Chicago, is coming to the Big Apple, at least for a short time. Details are scant but it appears the restaurant will open up for a month in October 2014 somewhere in Midtown. Stay tuned. Alinea, 1723 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60614, 312-867-0110.
Mindy Segal stepped back from her role as pastry chef at her longtime hotspot HotChocolate. Replacing her is Kymberli DeLost. Segal will open a new bakery in Logan Square. HotChocolate, 1747 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60647, 773-489-1747.
Rick Gresh has left David Burke’s Primehouse after seven years as its executive chef. He’s moving on to head the kitchen at Virgin Hotel Chicago. David Burke’s Primehouse, The JAMES, 616 N. Rush St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-660-6000.
Chef David Posey is leaving Blackbird to open his own restaurant by the end of July. Avec chef Perry Hendrix will step in to oversee both kitchens. Blackbird, 619 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60661, 312-715-0708.
The Ritz-Carlton Chicago - A Four Seasons Hotel has a new executive chef, Germany-born Martin Knaubert, which means he’s taken over the kitchen from Mark Payne. The Ritz-Carlton Chicago - A Four Seasons Hotel, Water Tower Place, 160 E. Pearson St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-266-1000.
Buzz-generating The Dawson has a new chef, Anthony DiRienzo (L2O), who replaces opening sous chef Patrick Russ, who replaced opening chef Rene Deleon. The Dawson, 730 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-243-8955.
Evan Percoco has been replaced by Kevin Atkinson as executive chef at theWit - A DoubleTree by Hilton, which houses ROOF and State and Lake. State and Lake, theWit - A DoubleTree by Hilton, 201 N. State St., Chicago, IL 60601, 312-239-9400.
Lee Wolen is now the executive chef at Boka, replacing Giuseppe Tentori (GT Fish & Oyster). Boka, 1729 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60614, 312-337-6070.
Patrick Fahy left Sixteen and has re-emerged at Thomas Keller's The French Laundry. Aya Fukai has replaced him at Sixteen. Sixteen, Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, 401 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-588-8030.
Chris Curren is no longer running the Fifty/50 Group’s restaurants (Homestead, The Berkshire Room, West Town Bakery and Diner). Chris Davies (Acadia and Henri) is taking over at Homestead and The Berkshire Room. He will also oversee West Town Bakery and Diner with pastry chef Chris Teixeira. Davies previously worked with Curren at Blue 13. The Berkshire Room, ACME Hotel Company, 15 E. Ohio St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-894-0800.
William Johnson vacated his position at Filini. He’s now at Dine in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Chicago Metro. Filini, Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago, 221 N. Columbus Dr., Chicago, IL 60601, 312-477-0234.
The Bluebird Wine Bar & Bistro has shuttered on the coattails of the closing of sib Telegraph and the moving of Webster’s Wine Bar. The owners are focusing solely on Webster’s Wine Bar for now. The Bluebird Wine Bar & Bistro, 1749 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60647, no phone.
Hot Doug's, one of GAYOT's Top 10 Hot Dog Stands in the U.S., will close its doors on October 4, 2014. Hot Doug's, 3324 N. California St., Chicago, IL 60618, 773-279-9550.
Chickpea’s casual Middle Eastern fare is a thing of the past. The family-run business, helmed by Jerry Suqi, did not renew its lease. Chickpea, 2018 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60622, no phone.
Shin Thompson’s (Bonsoirée) Japanese brasserie Kabocha closed up shop after less than a year in business. Kabocha, 952 W. Lake St., Chicago, IL 60607, no phone.
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