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News for Restaurants in Chicago
May 2008 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

Fans of Boka and Landmark Bar & Grill now have Perennial, a long-awaited spot from Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz in the Park View Hotel in Lincoln Park. Giuseppe Tentori is handling the kitchen (here and at Boka), so expect seasonal dishes to pepper the American bistro menu. Perennial, 1800 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60614, 312-981-7070.
 
Check out the much-anticipated modern seafood restaurant L2O (pronounced "el-two-oh") from chef Laurent Gras and Richard Melman, which is housed in the former Ambria space. It's where you'll score the likes of lobster with Tahitian vanilla, chanterelles and watermelon radishes; hirame from the Hokkaido and Kinki prefectures in Japan; Spanish octopus from the Galicia region of Spain; and codfish from Maine. Dishes are served in a four-course ($110) and 12-course tasting ($165) format. L2O, 2300 N. Lincoln Park W., Chicago, IL 60614, 773-868-0002.
 
Early feedback from Topaz Café, a newcomer with Giuseppe Scurato (ex-Boka) at the helm, is positive. Maybe it's the allure of Hudson Valley foie gras with parsnip purée, rabbit confit, dried apricots, sour cherries and Armagnac sauce. Topaz CafĂ©, 780 Village Center Dr., Burr Ridge, IL 60521, 630-654-1616.
 
Jason Paskewitz's (JP Chicago, SushiSamba Rio, Wave) anticipated 621 Diner---an homage to roadside eateries of yore---has opened. Meanwhile, the opening of his highly anticipated River North venture, Jackson Park Bar and Grill, at 444 N. Wabash Ave. has been pushed back to winter 2008. 621 Diner, 621 E. Roosevelt Rd., Lombard, IL 60148, 630-620-0060.
 
Graham Elliot Bowles Graham Elliot, the eponymous (and intentionally approachable) restaurant from Graham Elliot Bowles (ex-Avenues), has opened for dinner, with plans to add lunch and brunch service soon. Meanwhile, "edible drinks" like the "deconstructed bloody Mary" (tomato-vodka sorbet, horseradish foam, Worcestershire powder and micro celery) complement late night lounge snacks served in the bar until 1 a.m. Graham Elliot, 217 W. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60610, 312-624-9975.
 
Cincinnati chili lounge Cinners has opened its doors. So far, people can't seem to get enough of its meaty cinnamon-cocoa-and-allspice-infused brew. Cinners, 4757 N. Talman Ave., Chicago, IL 60625, 773-654-1624.
 
It sure seems like a lot of bakeries are opening these days. One of the latest is Old Town's Twisted Sister Bakery, where everything from cupcakes to banana cream pie is served. Twisted Sister Bakery, 1543 N. Wells St., Chicago, IL 60610, 312-932-1128.
 
The next time you're looking for something off the beaten path, consider Lalibela, a new Ethiopian BYOB in Edgewater where everything is house-made. Lalibela, 5633 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL 60660, 773-944-0585.
 
Geno Bahena (Tepatulco, Chilpancingo, Ixcapuzalco) is a man on the move. Expect his latest venture, Real Tenochtitlán, to open in early June and serve---that's right---the moles he's so famous for. Also on the menu will be organic meat. Fans of shuttered Ixcapuzalco take heart: the menu is expected to be very similar. Real Tenochtitlán, 2451 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60647, 773-227-1050.
 
There's already a lot of buzz about Mado, the just-opened Mediterranean restaurant from Rob and Allison Levitt (del Toro, La Tache, 312 Chicago), which opened where Barcello's once was. The oft-changing menu highlights sausages, pâtés and salumi that are made in-house as well as simply prepared meat dishes that span the region. Mado, 1647 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60647, 773-342-2340.
 
Paul Fehribach's Big Jones has officially rolled out the red carpet with a selection of coastal Southern cuisine with a contemporary twist. We can't wait to try the fire-roasted radicchio, toasted pecan, pumpkin seed oil, dried fig and Capriole goat cheese salad. Big Jones, 5347 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640, 773-275-5725.
 
Looking for someplace swank to sip? Check out Potter's, the schmancy, feather-adorned lounge that opened in the historic, recently renovated Palmer House Hilton. Classic cocktails wash down showy bites from Lockwood chef Phillip Foss. Potter's, The Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe St., Chicago, IL 60603, 312-917-4933.
 
Shochu After a few minor delays, the much-hyped Shochu---named for the increasingly popular, yet elusive Japanese distilled spirit---has opened. On tap: as many as 20 of its namesake beverage (plus shochu cocktails) and an Asian small-plates menu with interesting yakitori, tempura, and Camembert and duck bahn mi with red curry ketchup, daikon, carrot and serrano slaw. Shochu, 3313 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60657, 773-348-3313.
 
After much ado, Jerry Kleiner's slow-to-open (and name) Park 52 is on the scene, serving comfort-minded American bistro fare, such as roasted whitefish with roasted tomato jam and seared scallops with cauliflower coulis. Park 52, 5201 S. Harper Ct., Chicago, IL 60615, 773-241-5200.
 
Joining locations in Downers Grove and Schaumburg, ZED451 has opened in the former Sal & Carvão space in Chicago. The prix-fixe concept tones down the churrascaria vibe but still serves tableside-carved proteins. ZED451, 739 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610, 312-932-1100.
 
Purgatory Pizza is already hot as heck. The Wrigleyville spot serves hand-tossed or Pabst-backed, St. Louis-style cracker crust pies with oddball toppings such as brisket. Of course, the décor is appropriately fiery. Purgatory Pizza, 3415 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60657, 773-975-6677.
 
Get your sugar fix at More, a yummy-sounding cupcake boutique that'll open this month. It comes from Patty Rothman, who sought consult from Gale Gand and Henry Adaniya. This isn't just another run-of-the-mill spot, mind you. In addition to flavors like pink grapefruit, there will be savory selections like cracked pepper and Parmesan; pear, blue cheese and port; and corn, bacon and maple. More, One E. Delaware Pl., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-951-0001.
 


News Bytes
From the Ashes
The space that once housed Meritage will open as Duchamp, an eatery from the team behind Lumen, starring Michael Taus (Zealous). Named for Marcel Duchamp, it'll be a diverse neighborhood joint with fun Sicilian-style pizzas and small plates. Duchamp, 2118 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60647, no phone available yet.
 
Gaging Interest
The guys behind The Gage, Dirk Flanigan and Billy Lawless, have set their sights on the space next door. No word yet on what the concept will be. The Gage, 24 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60603, 312-372-4243.
 
Camera-ready Cooking
The Hearty Boys---which have made a name for themselves as the city's preeminent caterers and as Food Network hosts---just launched something dubbed HBTV, an interactive cooking space where guests learn the behind-the-scenes ropes of cooking on camera. The Hearty Boys, 3819 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60613, 773-244-9866.
 
How Sweet It Is
Each Friday is pie day at The Chopping Block's Lincoln Square location, meaning you can stop pie and grab a slice or whole pie to go. The Chopping Block, 4747 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60625, 773-472-6700.
 
A Rose by Any Other Name
Maybe you heard about the opening of long-in-coming Chicago's Rosscoe's, the chicken and waffles spot. Well, after less than a month in biz it's now called Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles after a legal battle with Los Angeles-based Roscoe's House of Chicken 'n' Waffles. With a menu of dishes inspired by owners' family members, it's a running hit already. Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles, 3947 S. King Dr., Chicago, IL 60653, 773-536-3300.
 
Bye-bye, Ban. Hello, Foie Gras.
The controversial delicacy foie gras will be allowed back on the menus of Chicago restaurants at the end of May. The City Council voted 37-6 on Wednesday, May 13, to repeal the ban on the sale of foie gras, which had been in effect for nearly two years. What are your thoughts on foie gras? Weigh in with other readers in our forum.
 
Local Finalist in Cocktail Competition
After hours of reviewing and deliberating top Averna cocktails over a three-week period, judges named mixologist Debbi Peek of The Drawing Room at Le Passage as a finalist in the 'HAVE Averna Cocktail Competition.' A total of five finalists were selected from three regional competitions and will travel to Sicily to compete in the finals at the Averna distillery this fall.
 

Chef Shuffle

Pops for Champagne has another feather under its cap: it scored Andrew Brochu (ex-Alinea) as its exec chef. Look for menu additions like cinnamon doughnuts with orange, orange blossom and amarula and Dungeness crab with snow peas, pickled shallots and ham. Pops for Champagne, 601 N. State St., Chicago, IL 60610, 312-266-7677.
 
Courtright's chef Ryan McCaskey will depart once a new chef is found. McCaskey after recently revamped the menu. Courtright's, 8989 Archer Ave., Willow Springs, IL 60480, 708-839-8000.
 


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.

Bummer. After morphing its menu to make things (even more) affordable, La Casa del Gordo has closed its doors. It has been replaced by another installment of That Little Mexican Café. La Casa del Gordo, 2014 First St., Highland Park, IL 60035, no phone.
 
After just five months of wooing diners (but obviously not enough of them), St. Charles' Fahrenheit Restaurant & Celsius Lounge has closed. Apparently, it was eons ahead of its location. Fahrenheit Restaurant & Celsius Lounge, 1890 W. Main St., St. Charles, IL 60174, no phone.
 
It's unthinkable, but the original Goose Island Brewery has lost its lease and will close at the end of the year. Founder John Hall is working on finding another space for its home base. Until then, the Clybourn spot will be in celebration mode. Goose Island Brewery, 1800 N. Clybourn St., Chicago, IL 60614, 312-915-0071.
 
We admit it: we were practically in tears when we pulled into the lot of seafooder Tin Fish, only to find the site was for lease. Unfortunately, we saw the writing on the wall when the slew of less-appealing chains opened in the area over the last several months. If you're willing to drive (and we whole-heartedly recommend you do), the far-south suburban location remains. Tin Fish, 17 W. 512 22nd St., Oak Brook, IL 60523, no phone.
 

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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