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News for Restaurants in Chicago
August 2010 Archive

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Read about the openings, closings, chef shuffle, and special events in Chicago here. Gayot's Restaurant News has the information you want on the local restaurants in Chicago.  

CHICAGO RESTAURANT NEWS

Openings

No, Chicago isn't wanting for barbecue. But it has yet another newcomer. Rub BBQ Company is now serving its brand of slow-and-low meats, dry-rubbed and smoked for 24 hours. Rub BBQ Company, 2407 W. Lunt Ave., Chicago, IL 60645, 773-675-1410.
 
Sono Wood Fired opened next door to Urban Burger Bar, both of which are owned by former Levy Restaurants vet John McLean. The emphasis is on wood-fired pizzas, and they're topped with everything from mascarpone to soppressata and caramelized fennel. Sono Wood Fired, 1582 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago, IL 60642, 312-255-1122.
 
Four Corners Tavern Group has expanded its repertoire with the opening of Benchmark, its second-floor beer garden as appealing as its Merkts-topped burger. Benchmark, 1510 N. Wells St. , Chicago, IL 60610, 312-649-9640.
 
Focusing on modern Vietnamese fare, Sawtooth---a restau-lounge along Restaurant Row---serves small plates, like lotus stem salad, in swanky surroundings. There's a serious wine and craft beer list available, too. Sawtooth, 1350 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60607, 312-526-3320.
 
Stacks of pancakes are the shtick at Stax Café, a breakfast through lunch spot offering ten varieties, including a pineapple upside-down version. In the kitchen is Chris Barron (Park 52, Opera, Red Light, Market). Stax Café, 1401 W. Taylor St., Chicago, IL 60607, 312-733-9871.
 
The barbecue scene in Chicago continues to be white-hot. Another joint on the cusp of opening is Chicago Q, which comes from Lee Ann Whippen (Wood Chick's BBQ in Chesapeake, Virginia, and a competitor in TLC's "BBQ Pitmasters"). Her itineration is dry-rubbed, with a choice of sauces. Chicago Q, 1160 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60610, 312-642-1160.
 
Craving Korean tacos? Wish the trend would make its way to Chicago? You're in luck---or at least you will be soon. Del Seoul, which will offer up versions like soy-soju-marinated kalbi, also will turn out dumplings and bánh mì in Lincoln Park. Del Seoul, 2568 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614, 773-248-4227.
 
Keep watching for Mastro's Steakhouse, an offshoot of the grown-up Scottsdale original, which has locations in Nevada and California, too. It'll open in late October. Mastro’s Steakhouse, 520 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-521-5100.
 
Arun Sampanthavivat (Arun's) is, in part, behind the upcoming Thai Town Center, a community center where he'll serve regional Thai cuisine in small-plate fashion about a year from now. Thai Town Center, 4461 N. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL 60630, no phone available yet.
 
Billy Lawless (The Gage) made good on his promise to open the upscale, Louis Henri Sullivan-inspired French dining room, Henri. Dirk Flanigan is overseeing the kitchen here, too, emphasizing locally sourced products and serving the likes of rabbit agnolotti with summer squash and slow-roasted Illinois lamb for two. Henri, 18 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60603, 312-578-0763.
 
A second location of M Burger has opened in River North. Expect the same burger and shake formula that drives the crowds. M Burger, 5 W. Ontario St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-428-3548.
 
Yet another place to score smoky 'cue is quick-serve Smokey Bears BBQ House in the North Center neighborhood. Early faves include brisket and pork butt---not to mention ribs, which are a steal at $16.75 for a full slab and sides. Smokey Bears BBQ House, 3314 W. Foster Ave., Chicago, IL 60625, 773-583-2327.
 
Hoping to grab a bench at Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard's Girl & The Goat? Good luck, since reservations are hard to come by. Keep trying, though, and be rewarded with dishes like ham frites with smoked tomato aïoli and smoked Swiss sauce. Girl & The Goat, 809 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60607, 312-492-6262.
 
Pork Shoppe---from the Tizi Melloul set---is officially on the scene in Avondale, proffering an organic-leaning menu of barbecue faves as well as brews and bourbon. Pork Shoppe, 2755 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL 60618, 773-961-7654.
 
Keep an eye out for Bangers & Lace, a beer-minded venture from Matt Eisler (Bar DeVille) and Jason Freiman and Nick Podesta (Lumen, Duchamp). Sausage, not surprisingly, will be featured prominently. Bangers & Lace, 1670 W. Division St., Chicago, IL 60622, No phone yet.
 
A duo from Japonais is behind Joey's Shrimp House, a casual seafood joint serving by-the-pound, fried fare with Caribbean, Puerto Rican and Louisianan touches. That means everything from ceviche to jerk and Creole shrimp. Joey’s Shrimp House, 1432 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL 60622, 773-772-1400.
 
Two Spiaggia vets---husband-wife team John and Christine Tully Aranza---plan to open Autre Monde Café & Spirits in October, a restaurant serving farm-centric fare. Autre Monde Café & Spirits, 6727 W. Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn, IL 60304, No phone yet.
 
A former Tizi Melloul chef, John Boudouvas, has opened Mia Figlia in the Edgebrook neighborhood. On the menu is eggplant Parm, as well as some lesser-knowns. Mia Figlia, 5304 W. Devon Ave., Chicago, IL 60646, 773-792-8300.
 
City Provisions Deli is slotted to open in early August, its space full of reclaimed wood and sustainable materials. Sound familiar? You're right---it's an extension of the catering company, which also hosts farm-to-table dinners. City Provisions Deli, 1818 W. Wilson Ave., Chicago, IL 60640, 773-293-2489.
 
Sprinkles---the Los Angeles cupcake phenomenon---opened a Gold Coast location in Chicago, where it offers flavors like red velvet and chai tea, slathered with chai-vanilla frosting. Soon to follow is Sprinklesmobile, an ideal way to soothe your sweet tooth when going from point A to B. Sprinkles, 50 E. Walton St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-573-1600.
 


News Bytes
Rick Tramonto on the Move
Rick Tramonto (ex-TRU, Tramonto's Steak & Seafood) is leaving Chicago for New Orleans, where he'll oversee Restaurant R'evolution on Bourbon Street with John Folse, Louisiana chef and cookbook author, next summer. The food will be Creole and Cajun-influenced---but modernized.
 
It Comes and Goes
Bill Kim (Urbanbelly, Belly Shack) is testing the waters by launching periodic pop-up concepts, including a recent endeavor at the Logan Square Kitchen in July, where bites included a curry-inflected Asian version of elotes and citrus-salted watermelon. Joining Kim---who was busy testing out grub for his tentative next project---was Jason Hammel (Lula Café, Nightwood). Urbanbelly, 3053 N. California Ave., Chicago, IL 60618, 773-583-0500.
 
More of More
Much like peers Flirty Cupcakes and The Cupcake Gallery (and, soon, Sprinkles), More Cupcakes is hitting the streets. More Mobile will dish up a dozen flavors at once. Look for it in the next few weeks. More Cupcakes, 1 E. Delaware Pl., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-951-0001.
 
Sepia's Seeing Stars
Perhaps you've heard? Sepia closed for a few days to accommodate the filming of a Ron Howard flick. Sepia, 123 N. Jefferson St., Chicago, IL 60661, 312-441-1920.
 
Cost-conscious Eats at Carlos'
Head to Carlos' this summer to try its new al fresco menu, which is loaded with cost-conscious eats, from a martini-inspired blue cheese and olive-topped Kobe burger to a salad with prosciutto and grilled peaches. Best of all, dishes are priced under $20. Carlos', 429 Temple Ave., Highland Park, IL 60035, 847-432-0770.
 

Chef Shuffle

Although he still consults on the menu at Sunda, Rodelio Aglibot---along with Christophe Bellanca---will now oversee New York-based BLT Restaurant Group's 18 restaurants, including Chicago debut, The Florentine, which will open in the JW Marriot in October. Aglibot has moved to New York, though he'll keep the menu at Sunda intact. Sunda, 110 W. Illinois St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-644-0500.
 
Christophe David has left his post at NoMI and is moving to Switzerland. NoMI, Park Hyatt Chicago, 800 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-239-4030.
 
Alinea's chef de cuisine Dave Beran will run the kitchen at Grant Achatz's upcoming venture, Next Restaurant, while chef de tournant Craig Schoettler will oversee Aviary, a molecular-minded cocktail lounge. Alinea, 1723 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60614, 312-867-0110.
 
TRU's pastry chef Meg Galus has left to handle sweets at Café des Architectes. This news comes not long after Anthony Martin took over on the savory side at TRU for Rick Tramonto. Café des Architectes, Sofitel Chicago Water Tower, 20 E. Chestnut St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-324-4000.
 
Molly Harrison, who has been at the restaurant since 2008, has left her post as chef de cuisine at Green Zebra. Green Zebra, 1460 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60622, 312-243-7100.
 
Chef Phillip Foss left Lockwood, where he made culinary waves and, apparently, ruffled feathers. No word yet on who his replacement will be. Lockwood, Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe St., Lobby level, Chicago, IL 60603, 312-917-3404.
 
Chad Starling (formerly of Saltaus and Le Lan) is heading the kitchen at Aria Restaurant & Bar, where the menu has shifted to new Asian, adding up to dishes like Swan Creek Peking duck breast with Anson Mills coconut polenta, yu choy and mango-chile jam. At tables, iPads detail dish specifics, while including info about farms where the ingredients have been procured. Aria Restaurant & Bar, The Fairmont Chicago, 200 N. Columbus Dr., Chicago, IL 60601, 312-444-9494.
 


Closings

CLOSED FOR GOOD
Take your taste buds on a walk down memory lane! Check out our exclusive closed restaurant database for Chicago to virtually visit your favorite dining spots from yesteryear. The Dining Room, R.I.P.

Shikago is no more. In its place is Ara On, an upscale Japanese-Korean restaurant with a massive sushi bar and James Okuno, Shikago's former chef, in the kitchen. Shikago, 160 W. Adams St., Chicago, IL 60603, no phone.
 
For 44 years, Edna's served soul food in East Garfield Park. Two months after its namesake, Edna Stewart, passed away, it closed its doors. Edna’s, 3175 W. Madison St., Chicago, IL 60612, no phone.
 
Singha Thai Restaurant served its last meal on August 31. Singha Thai Restaurant, 350 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610, no phone.
 
Dean Zanella has already given up ship, closing Aldino's. Co-owner Scott Harris (Mia Francesca, et al.) plans to reopen it as The CooKoo Room, a cost-conscious bar, with Joe Farina (Café Bionda) and Jimmy Bannos (Heaven on Seven, The Purple Pig) in its place. Aldino’s, 626 S. Racine Ave., Chicago, IL 60607, 312-226-9300.
 
The patio of Brasserie Jo At the end of August, venerable Frenchie Brasserie Jo closed its doors, but will reopen in October as an extra-affordable French restaurant. Heading the kitchen will be Tim Graham (formerly of TRU) and Walter Manzke (previously of Church & State in Los Angeles). Chef Jean Joho will remain involved. Brasserie Jo, 59 W. Hubbard St., Chicago, IL 60610, 312-595-0800.
 

CULINARY EVENTS
Want to
learn to cook? Try new dishes? Meet a foodie friend for fun? Check out our compilation of culinary events in your area.

View our calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in Chicago

 

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