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News for Restaurants in Chicago
April 2012 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.  



Seasons 52, which bills itself as a "fresh grill and wine bar restaurant," has announced plans to open a branch at Oakbrook Center in the spring. It will include a piano bar, four private dining rooms and a chef's table. As at the other locations, no dish on the menu will exceed 475 calories. Seasons 52, Oakbrook Center, 3 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, IL 60523, no phone.
Franco Gianni's family owns Tank Sushi and Sushi Wabi, and he's opening seasonal American spot, Wood. Having tapped Ashlee Aubin (a vet of Alinea and Zealous), they'll dispense dishes like wood-burning oven flatbreads, with an array of wood barrel-bourbon, scotch and other whiskeys to go with. Look for it in late spring or early summer. Wood, 3335 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60657, phone not available.
The lauded lineups keep coming with the opening of gin-centric, parlor-reminiscent Scofflaw, a collaboration between Andy Gould and Mandy Tandy (The Boiler Room), Kris Nagy (Simone's) and Danny Shapiro (Perennial, The Whistler). In its Logan Square kitchen? Mickey Neely (Longman & Eagle), serving edibles like late-night chocolate chip cookies. Scofflaw, 3101 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60647, 773-252-9700.
Alexander Brunacci (Franks ‘n' Dawgs) is looking to open The Peasantry in May, dishing up --- among other things --- not-your-average gyros. Details to come. The Peasantry, 2723 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614, phone not available.
Ravenswood's Troquet has opened, serving cheese plates, French sandwiches and a plat du jour. Troquet, 1834 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago, IL 60613, 773-334-5664.
Old Town Pour House has opened in Chicago Beer. Who doesn't love it these days? Throw in mahogany-trimmed digs, and you've got a class-act on your hands. On top of all that, Old Town Pour House, from the Boundary and Sweetwater set, is kitted out with loads of TVs, has 90 available drafts and offers a menu of a-step-up small plates (pork shank wings, crab fondue). Heartier options might include pecan-crusted chicken, Yankee pot roast, and a bone-in pork chop with chipotle maple glaze. Old Town Pour House, 1419 N. Wells St., Chicago, IL 60610, 312-477-2800.
There was a wait, but if crowds alone tell the story, Chris Pandel's Balena --- a partnership withThe Bristol and Boka Restaurant Group --- is the best thing since sliced bread. Farm-driven Italian is the focus, with regional Italian wines, amaro-based cocktails by Debbi Peek and desserts from Amanda Rockman. Balena, 1633 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60614, 312-867-3888.
Poutine: most people love it or hate it. If you're in the former camp, head to BadHappy Poutine Shop for gravy and cheese curd-topped fries, plus other varieties (i.e. the "Pilsen" with taco curd, beef piccalillo, cilantro, onions, roasted chilies, tomatillo salsa and la lengua gravy). BadHappy Poutine Shop, 939 N. Orleans St., Chicago, IL 60610, 312-890-2165.
It was pretty under the radar as far as openings go, but The Big Easy by Jimmy Bannos has opened in Chase Tower, a counter-service Cajun partnership with Compass Group. It features a handful of options, including jambalaya and habanero-sizzled chicken jerk etouffée. The Big Easy by Jimmy Bannos, 10 S. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60603, 312-732-6505.
Bluette didn't stick around for long. Now, the North Shore space has done a 180: steak-centric Wilmette Chop House has opened in its place, with protein hailing from Al's Meat Market across the way. The sides and 'tizers? They're kind of Italian-leaning (think Sicilian, red-sauced nachos and Vesuvio potatoes). Wilmette Chop House, 1162 Wilmette Ave., Wilmette, IL 60091, 872-588-2433.

News Bytes
Small Plates, Big Pours at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is offering a Small Plates, Big Pours promotion in the bar area through May 10, 2012. For $24.95, guests can select a small plate (sliced filet mignon, seared ahi tuna, lobster tempura, etc.) paired with an oversized wine pour. The selections range from Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley to Penley Estate Gryphon Merlot from Australia.  Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 25 E. Ohio St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-329-9463.
Chef Wolfgang Puck Wolfgang Puck Launches iPhone App
Chef Wolfgang Puck (Restaurant Puck's at the MCA) has launched an app for iPhone and iPod touch that's available for free from the App Store. The Wolfgang Puck - Live Love Eat! app features new recipes, cooking and technique video demonstrations, one-touch calling for restaurant reservations and more. For more information, visit Restaurant Puck's at the MCA, Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-397-4034.
What Graham Elliot Has Going On
A lot of changes have been taking place in Graham Elliot's world, starting with naming Andrew Brochu as chef of graham elliot. Since then, a total menu revamp and return to fine dining has ensued. Meanwhile, grahamwich keeps plugging along and soon-to-debut bistro G.E.B. is on the horizon; it'll usher in familiar fare, like buffalo chicken and beef stroganoff. But that's not all. Elliot is also planning to take his soda concept to the streets, expecting to sell popcorn, pop and sammies by bike. graham elliot, 217 W. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60610, 312-624-9975.

Chef Shuffle

Chuy Valencia has left his partnership at Chilam Balam. He has since been replaced with Ohio native Natalie Oswald, sous chef and a Frontera Grill alum. Although some menu items will remain, she has introduced several of her own creations, including chorizo gravy-soused pork loin, plated with a blue corn waffle and pickled zucchini. Chilam Balam, 3023 N. Broadway St., Chicago, IL 60657, 773-296-6901.
Todd Stein has announced he'll move on from The Florentine to Tony Priolo's Piccolo Sogno Due, which is expected to open mid-summer. Focusing on Italian seafood, pasta and pizza, it's one to keep on the radar. Piccolo Sogno Due, 340 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610, 312-822-0077.
Russell Kook (The Florentine, Cibo Matto) has taken over the executive chef position at Chicago Cut Steakhouse, which was vacated by Jackie Shen. It's a logical move since Kook was working as the chef de cuisine. Chicago Cut Steakhouse, 300 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-329-1800.
Rodelio Aglibot (Sunda) --- the culinary director of aja's reboot, Argent --- plans to take a historic approach to the menu concept. But it'll change seasonally and focus on eating trends in the country over the course of time. aja, Dana Hotel & Spa, 660 N. State St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-202-6050.
Kristine Subido (Wave) is moving on to open Filipino chicken joint Pecking Order in Uptown with her mom, Melinda Subido. Birds will appear fried, grilled and cooked by rotisserie, with a handful of sauces --- banana ketchup included. It should open this summer, though the exact location has yet to be revealed. Wave, W Chicago Lakeshore, 644 N. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-255-4460.


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.

Suzy Crofton has closed her long-lauded Crofton on Wells in River North, having described business as "painfully slow." Crofton on Wells, 535 N. Wells St., Chicago, IL 60610, no phone.
Sushi Wabi has closed its doors, amid a flurry of finger-pointing among partners. Sushi Wabi, 842 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60607, no phone.
Rockit Bar & Grill is reconcepting its Wrigleyville offshoot --- a bit. It's reemerging as Rockit Burger Bar, with an expanded number of hand-helds, like the Calabrese, a Black Angus patty topped with salami, shaved Asiago and house-made kalamata olive aïoli. Rockit Burger Bar, 3700 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60613, 773-645-4400.

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