Katana from Innovative Dining Group is scheduled to open late summer 2016 in Chicago’s River North. The West Hollywood location of the Japanese/sushi restaurant features dishes like robata skewers of chicken liver and rockfish, and a dry-aged steak cooked over binchotan charcoal. Now-relocated Bin 36 formerly occupied this Dearborn Street space. Katana, 339 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60654, No phone.
Wine Not Hospitality opened Kinfork at Woodfield Mall. The inventive American menu includes many wood-fired and house-smoked dishes. Kinfork, Woodfield Mall, 5 Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, IL 60173, 847-610-3958.
Lettuce Entertain You’s seafood shack called Oyster Bah --- yes, that’s spelled Bah --- has opened in Lincoln Square. Look for maritime décor and a fish and shellfish forward menu. The Crab Cellar downstairs offers a separate seafood diner menu with Maryland-style crab cakes. Oyster Bah, 1962 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60614, 773-248-3000.
Punch Bowl Social has opened in Schaumburg. The entertainment complex includes a bowling alley and games alongside the restaurant that serves gastropub dishes, street tacos and bar bites. Punch Bowl Social, Woodfield Mall, 1100 American Lane, Schaumburg, IL 60173, 224-836-9080.
Carriage House was reconcepted and has opened as Buck's, with a comfort food menu by chef Mike Galen. Expect fried chicken and biscuits. Buck's, 1700 W. Division St., Chicago, IL 60622, 773-384-9700.
Four Corners Tavern Group opened Fremont in the former American Junkie space in the heart of River North. It features a retractable roof and an upscale bar food menu, as well as brunch on weekends. Fremont, 15 W. Illinois St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-874-7270.
Food Network star Jeff Mauro plans to open Pork & Mindy’s in Bucktown, which will offer a menu of slow-cooked meats and huge, creative sandwiches. Pork & Mindy's, 1623 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60647, 844-573-6737.
DMK Restaurants owners reconcepted the former DMK Burger & Fish in Evanston as Arlen’s Chicken, a fried chicken haven on the North Shore. Arlen's Chicken, 815 Noyes St., Evanston, IL 60201, 847-424-8226.
Hearth opened in Evanston’s Homestead Hotel, the former home of Quince and previously the legendary Trio, with a menu focused on simple, seasonal dishes. Hearth, Homestead Hotel, 1625 Hinman Ave., Evanston, IL 60201, 847-570-8400.
Two Highland Park natives opened Ballaro in nearby Highwood, with a menu of Italian-inspired fare, including pastas and pizza. Ballaro, 214 Green Bay Rd., Highwood, IL 60040, 847-780-3396.
The Farmheads Group (Farmhouse Chicago and Farmhouse Evanston) opened little sister concept Farm Bar in Lakeview. The newcomer offers a menu focused on Midwestern tavern favorites utilizing local ingredients, including food from the business’ Brown Dog Farm in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Farm Bar, 1300 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago, IL 60657, 773-281-2599.
Pastry chef Sarah Jordan opened Johnny’s Grill in a dual space in Logan Square with the adjoining Flower Shop Bar offering brunch, lunch, dinner and late-night drinks inspired by her Irish roots. Johnny's Grill, 2545 N. Kedzie Blvd., Chicago, IL 60647, 773-278-2215.
Clodagh and Amy Lawless, siblings of restaurateur Billy Lawless Jr. (The Gage, The Dawson), plan to open The Dearborn at the expanding Block 37 in summer 2016. The 8,000-square-foot American tavern will take up the corner of Randolph and Dearborn Streets with 225 seats. The Dearborn, Randolph & Dearborn Streets, Chicago, IL 60601, no phone.
Celebrity chef Stephanie Izard plans to open Duck Duck Goat with a menu of Peking duck, dumplings and noodles. Duck Duck Goat, 857 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607, 312-492-6262.
Chris Pandel of Balena will helm the kitchen at the new Swift & Sons, a modern steakhouse by the Boka Restaurant Group opening soon in the West Loop. Swift & Sons, 1000 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607, no phone.
Cruz Blanca will be the latest project from chef Rick Bayless (Topolobampo, XOCO, Frontera Grill). This brewery will include a tasting room, a growler program and food service. Cruz Blanca, 900 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60607, no phone.
Chef Grant Achatz (Alinea, Next Restaurant) will open a new restaurant called Roister in the former iNG space adjacent to Next. Roister, 951 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607, no phone.
The Alinea Group Acquires Moto
Chef Grant Achatz, Nick Kokonas and The Alinea Group have made an agreement to purchase Moto. The trailblazing restaurant was created by chef-restaurateur Homaro Cantu, who died in April 2015. Moto's last night of service will be February 14, 2016. For more information, visit Moto's website. Moto, 945 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607, 312-491-0058.
Julian Cox Headed to the Windy City
Mixologist Julian Cox has moved to Chicago to work with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (Everest, Tru, etc.) He has crafted cocktails for many Los Angeles restaurants, including Sprout LA’s Bestia, Redbird, Rose Café-Restaurant, etc.
Happy Hour Special at La Sirena Clandestina
La Sirena Clandestina debuted its first-ever happy hour special. The team will offer a limited quantity (10 servings daily) of Brazilian fried chicken with malagueta hot sauce for $10, Monday through Friday from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Additionally the Latin-local spot will have drink specials including the restaurant’s signature caipirinha for $8 and $3 cans of Tecate. La Sirena Clandestina, 954 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607, 312-226-5300.
What’s Next at Next
Chef Grant Achatz has announced the 2016 menus for Next Restaurant. "The Alps" will be featured from January through April, "Tour of South America" from May through August, and "The French Laundry" from September through December. Next Restaurant, 953 W. Fulton St., Chicago, IL 60607, 312-226-0858.
ZED451 Debuts Happy Hour Menu
ZED451 debuted an all-new happy hour menu Monday-Friday from 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Highlights include flatbreads, Moroccan chicken, tacos and more. ZED451, 739 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-266-6691.
Dolce Italian Launches Brunch and Weekday Lunch Prix-Fixe
Dolce Italian in The Godfrey Hotel recently launched a weekend brunch service and an endless Bloody Mary/champagne Bubbles Package ($19), Saturdays and Sundays, from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., along with an Expresso prix-fixe lunch for budget-minded, quick workweek lunches. Dolce Italian, The Godfrey Hotel Chicago, 127 W. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-754-0700.
Intro announced Jessica Largey as its fifth Chef-in-Residence beginning in February 2016. Largey says she will offer an innovative California-inspired menu with many vegetable-centric dishes. Intro, The Belden Stratford, 2300 N. Lincoln Park W., Chicago, IL 60614, 773-868-0002.
Chef Bill Montagne at C Chicago has been replaced by veteran Dean Zanella, the consulting corporate chef on the project. C Chicago, 20 W. Kinzie St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-280-8882.
Alinea is temporarily closed for renovations from January to March 2016. During that period, chef Grant Achatz and his team will host Alinea pop-up experiences in Madrid, Spain, and Miami. Alinea, 1723 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60614, 312-867-0110.
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