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News for Restaurants in Chicago
September 2009 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.  



It's empanadas all the time at Macondo Colombian Coffee & Empanadas, which is located in the former Las Tablas space. Run by the same family, there are about ten versions offered daily, perhaps arroz con pollo or guava and cheese among them. Macondo Colombian Coffee & Empanadas, 2965 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60657, 773-698-6867.
Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris will open a follow-up to suburban Prairie Grass Café. The American-bent restaurant, Prairie Fire, will open in the former Powerhouse space at 215 N. Clinton St. The ETA is November, at which time it'll serve some of its predecessor's dishes, plus newbies. Prairie Fire, 215 N. Clinton St., Chicago, IL 60661, 847-205-4433.
It's official: taco-centric New York transplant Mercadito is a hit. Score a dozen or so taco varieties as well as green-sauced shrimp enchiladas, quesadillas and minty ceviche with bay scallops and sliced red grapes. Mercadito, 108 W. Kinzie St., Chicago, IL 60610, 312-329-9555.
The crew behind The Stained Glass Bistro have expanded to open The Cellar, a small plates destination serving microbrews and international vino. The Cellar, 820 N. Clark St., Evanston, IL 60201, 847-864-8600.
Liked (and mourning the loss of) Think Café? Omar Rodriguez---its touted chef---is opening (K)new, a Logan Square BYO where Think specialties will mingle with the likes of lobster-stuffed, truffle oil-dressed endive. (K)new, 2556 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, IL 60647, 773-772-7721.
There's a lot of buzz over Jason Paskewitz's Gemini Bistro. Unlike some of the kitchens he worked in before (Wave, SushiSamba Rio, JP Chicago), this one is small. Here, Paskewitz turns out seasonal American grub, such as duck confit tacos and roasted chicken with root vegetables. Gemini Bistro, 2075 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60614, 773-525-2522.
There's a new spot for a gelato fix: Paciugo. Offering an insane number of flavors (think over 200, almost three-dozen of which are available daily), you may run into the likes of chocolate-jalapeño, turtle and pineapple. Paciugo, 3241 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657, 773-248-8433.
The vibe is civilized at Pelago Ristorante, an urbane two-tiered Italian dining room that opened in the Raffaello Hotel. Dinner service includes---in addition to plenty of other tasty things---orecchiette with fresh green tomato sauce, arugula and ricotta. Pelago Ristorante, Raffaello Hotel, 201 E. Delaware Pl., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-280-0700.
Rustico Grill is Raul Arreola's follow up to BYO Mixteco Grill in Lakeview. Though the menu of Oaxacan faves is similar, this outpost serves margaritas with its cochinita pibil. Rustico Grill, 2515 N. California Ave., Chicago, IL 60647, 773-235-0002.
Sweets are serious business at Bake., a newcomer from The Peninsula New York vet Jennifer Kane, who first tested the waters at the Division Street farmers market. Look for treats to include malt cake with salty caramel filling and caramelized pretzel crunch. Bake., 2246 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL 60647, 773-752-6770.
Two words: Crazy tasty. Xoco, Rick Bayless' latest venture, lives up to the hype (and, sigh, warrants its ever-present down-the-block lines). Whereas Topolobampo's fare is fine and Frontera Grill has regional leanings, Mexican street food is the angle here. Tortas come from a wood-fired oven, hot chocolate is crafted on site from cocoa beans and suckling pig is s-l-o-w-l-y braised. An important FYI: While it's open for breakfast, lunch and early dinner, carryout, already, is no longer an option. Xoco, 449 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-334-3688.

News Bytes Check back soon for more news.

Chef Shuffle

Isaac Holzwarth, once the chef at Chaise Lounge, is now at Jewell Events Catering, which is responsible for the soon-to-open Florian Opera Bistro and The Sarah and Peer Pedersen Room at the Civic Opera House. Florian Opera Bistro, Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60606, 312-419-0033.
SugarToad's Geoff Rhyne, chef de cuisine, is taking over for Jimmy Sneed. Meanwhile, Sneed is moving back to Virginia (but will still lend his two cents). The menu will get tweaked---but nothing radical will occur. SugarToad, Hotel Arista, 2139 City Gate Ln., Naperville, IL 60563, 630-778-8623.
Blackbird gets yet another feather in its cap with the addition of Patrick Fahy (The French Laundry, Bittersweet, Canady le Chocolatier) as its head pastry chef, who is replacing Wisconsin-bound Tim Dahl. His bent? Playing with textures, as in sweet corn bavaroise. But the major overhaul is yet to come. Blackbird, 619 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60661, 312-715-0708.
Pete Balodimas had a very brief stint at Quince at the Homestead, indeed. He'll leave at the end of September after clocking just a few months in the kitchen. Stepping into his shoes is Andy Motto (Old Town Brasserie and Le Lan as well as The French Laundry, Le Français and Les Nomades). He'll do a modern, Asian-tinged, American-inspired menu revamp. Quince, Homestead Hotel, 1625 Hinman Ave., Evanston, IL 60201, 847-570-8400.
Zak's Place in Hinsdale has a new chef de cuisine: Josh Soth, who previously owned a deli in St. Joseph, Michigan. Look for him to spin the menu a bit in coming weeks. Zak's Place, 112 S. Washington St., Hinsdale, IL 60521, 630-323-9257.


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.

Josh Kaplan (Va Pensiero, mk, Lola in Cleveland) is now the senior wine director at ENO at the InterContinental Hotel Chicago, where he'll oversee the beverage program and plan classes for the coming year. ENO, InterContinental Hotel Chicago, 505 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-321-8738.
A year into business, Gold Coast's Farmerie 58 has closed. Rumor has it, a sushi bar-meets-izakaya will open in its place. Farmerie 58, 58 E. Ontario St., Chicago, IL 60611, no phone.
Here's a strange one: popular Tallulah, with its new owner Stefan Quaisser, is morphing into modern Frenchie LM Le Restaurant in early October. Bradford Phillips (Blackbird, ristorante We) is heading the kitchen, and changes officially will take place in the next few weeks. Tallulah, 4539 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60625, 773-942-7585.
Sad but true: Think Café---the neighborhood joint from Omar Rodriguez---has closed. The good news, though, is he's moved forward and will be opening (K)new soon. Think CafĂ©, 2235 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL 60647, no phone.
Purgatory Pizza is no more. In its place already is Park Avenue, yet another place for burgers and beer. Purgatory Pizza, 3415 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60657, no phone.
Chicagoans are mourning the loss of Aigre Doux. Esteemed husband-wife team Malika Ameen and Mohammad Islam abruptly closed the place to spend more time with family. Ameen will continue to cater some pastries, including her famed sticky toffee pudding. Order them by emailing her at [email protected] Aigre Doux, 230 W. Kinzie St., Chicago, IL 60610, no phone.
Dion Antic's Rockstar Dogs shuttered. A new (more affordable, less controversial) hotdog stand, The Dog Joint, has taken its place. Rockstar Dogs, 801 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL 60622, no phone.

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