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The Chicago Restaurant, Bar, and Nightlife Blog 2018-09-20T16:52:46-05:00
Updated: 3 hours 15 min ago

Fired OpenTable Employee Faces Federal Fraud Charge For Fake Reservations

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 16:52

The employee used Reserve to cause no-shows in Chicago

A former OpenTable employee who made several hundred fake restaurant reservations in an attempt to harm online reservation rival Reserve faces a charge of wire fraud. The man, Steven Addison, worked in the Chicago office of OpenTable, and from November to February, he made more than 300 fake reservations at Chicago restaurants using Reserve. The scheme, first reported by Eater Chicago, was designed to hurt Reserve causing no shows.

“Addison knew restaurants would suffer financial losses when no diners showed up to claim the reservation, the information states,” a U.S. Attorney’s office news release reads. “Addison’s scheme intended to demonstrate to Chicago restaurants that Reserve had an inferior reservation system, the charge alleges.”

Addison, 30, worked as an enterprise operations specialist for OpenTable and was fired after the news was uncovered. He faces one charge of wire fraud. He used creative names in booking the fake reservations at restaurants like City Mouse in Fulton Market, Presidio in Bucktown, and Tavern on the Park in the Loop. According to the feds, Addison used names like “Hans Gruber” (from Die Hard) “Richard Ashcroft” (lead singer from The Verve) and “Jimmy Smits” (actor from Star Wars and L.A. Law) to make reservations.

He figured out back in November that Reserve didn’t require a working email address to make a reservation, according to the lawsuit. He made about 300 reservations and that led to about 1,200 shows. He targeted busy days like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, according to the complaint and wanted to cause the most harm. Reserve’s software engineers found irregular reservation patterns and traced the scheme to OpenTable. Reserve execs then brought the problem up to OpenTable’s leadership.

OpenTable wasn’t named in the U.S. Attorney’s lawsuit. It was only identified as “a San Francisco-based company that provides an online reservation system for restaurants.” The company did not know about the scheme: “Addison made the reservations on his own accord and did not personally profit from the scheme, the information states,” according to the government.

A Reserve spokesperson provided this statement attributed to CEO Greg Hong:

“When the FBI requested data that’s in our possession, we provided it. Otherwise, Reserve moved on from the matter many months ago so that we could focus on what’s most important to us: serving our restaurant partners the best we can.”

A message to OpenTable wasn’t immediately returned. Check out the complaint below. An arraignment hasn’t been scheduled.

Addison Information Filed by Ashok Selvam on Scribd

Fat Shallot’s Gourmet Sandwiches Arrive Next Week in Lincoln Park

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 15:03

Read the food truck-turned-restaurant’s expanded menu

The Fat Shallot opens next week giving grilled cheese lovers an oasis in Lincoln Park. This is the first standalone restaurant for the food truck with a location inside Revival Food Hall in the Loop. The menu for the Lincoln Park location is different with appetizers like chilaquile nachos, soups, and salads.

Opening day is Thursday, September 27 at 2468 N. Clark Street where a dumpling restaurant once stood. Buffalo fried chicken, Reubens, and pulled pork sandwiches are menu highlights. The sides feature a variety of french fries including spuds with truffle aioli.

The truck’s been around for five years from the wife-and-husband team of Sarah Weitz and Sam Barron. They were one of the first food truck owners who were legally allowed to prep food in their vehicles. Barron’s experience includes stops at Everest and the Pump Room.

Read the menu below. Weitz said the first 100 customers on opening day will get free sandwiches.

Fat Shallot menu

Chicago’s First Steak ‘N Shake Is Now Open in University Village

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 12:47

Steakburgers and crowds arrive near UIC

The lines wrapped around the restaurant early this morning when Chicago’s first Steak ‘N Shake opened its doors for the first time. The fast-food chain that started in 1934 in Normal finally has a Chicago location near UIC at 1322 S. Halsted Street. Doors opened at 7 a.m. Thursday.

“It feels outstanding,” said store owner Melvin Buckley.

That wait was about 15 minutes as of the noon lunchtime hour, as customers ordered the chain’s signature steakburgers. During the opening hoopla, the daycare center up the street made an order of 20 burgers and 20 shakes. Buckley was proud of his staff for efficiently taking care of the order despite the distractions of today’s festivities.

Opening day guests included UIC men’s basketball coach Steve McClain. For a sneak preview on Wednesday, former Bears linebacker Chris Zorich, now athletic director at Chicago State University, stopped by. But the craziest guest on Thursday was a customer dressed up in red as basketball mascot Benny The Bull, Buckley said. No, it was just a copy, not the real Benny who patrols the United Center during Bulls games.

This Steak ‘N Shake is a 35 seater with a patio. It serves pancakes for breakfast and burgers for lunch and dinner. Buckley is a fast food veteran and is a former McDonald’s store owner.

“It’s been crazy,” he said.

The company has locations in nearby suburbs like Evanston and Tinley Park. For those who have a hankering for nostalgia or Chicagoans who’ve never tried it — Steak ‘N Shake is now open. It’ll also serve beer and wine.

Steak ‘N Shake, 1322 S. Halsted Street., open at 7 a.m. daily.

Popular Vegan Chef Opening New Lakeview Cafe

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 15:58

Kevin Schuder will bake vegan pastries and hold pop-up dinners at Wonderland Cafe

Vegan chef Kevin Schuder has developed quite a following since moving to Chicago from the San Francisco Bay Area. His Fancy Plants Catering company provides meat- and dairy-free meals to discerning diners using a fine dining approach rarely seen in vegan food. He’s held several pop-up dinners and worked with the owners of popular vegan restaurant Kitchen 17 in Lakeview, a restaurant known for it vegan Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. Now he’s opening Wonderland Cafe, his own spot right around the corner from K17.

Schuder is actually taking over Kitchen 17’s original space at 613 W. Briar Place and plans to open the cafe in November. Kitchen 17’s since moved to a larger space with new ownership. Wonderland and Kitchen 17 will remain intertwined and they’ll work together. The Wonderland space doesn’t have much room for kitchen equipment so Schuder will have the benefit of using Kitchen 17’s walk-in fridge. The space limitations don’t bother Schuder. He’s used to induction burners and small ovens while working at a wine bar in San Francisco. There’s room for about 20 seats inside.

Wonderland will serve items like breakfast sandwiches with Just Egg, smoked seitan bacon, and Chao cheese. It’ll offer pastries like vegan bacon and egg scones, and cinnamon rolls with cashew cream cheese frosting. It’ll have coffee (they’re still deciding on the roaster) and tea. The menu will rotate. Evening items include cauliflower baked in a pot (blood orange, chives, red curry oil) and seared polenta cake (seared fresh corn, Maitake mushrooms, tomato, black-eyed peas). The cafe will give Schuder a chance to experiment with dishes in a playful matter. He also said that he’ll invite guest chefs to through dinner pop-ups.

There’s a list of sample items on the website which also mentions a Kickstarter campaign. That website also pledges that Wonderland will “always be 100 percent vegan.” Look for a Kickstarter launch party on Friday at Emporium Arcade Bar in Wicker Park.

The space, which was once slated for vegan bakery Pie, Pie My Darling, won’t need a lot of remodeling, Schuder said. He’s excited to open the cafe’s doors to give Chicago a quality vegan option.

“What I’m most excited about is just being a regular business and getting to know new customers,” Schuder said.

Michelin Announces Chicago’s 2019 Bib Gourmand List

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 14:04

58 restaurants made this year’s ranking

The 2019 Michelin Bib Gourmand list features nine newcomers among the 58 Chicago restaurants in this year’s group. That’s a four-restaurant bump from last year when Michelin named 54 Chicago restaurants to its “short list.” Bib Gourmands honor “quality restaurants that have menu items that offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (excluding tax and gratuity).” Five restaurants dropped off from last year.

Hyped recent openings such as Pacific Standard Time in River North, Marisol inside the Museum of Contemporary Art, and Proxi — the West Loop follow-up from the owners of Sepia — made the list. Inspectors rewarded Daguan Noodle in Chinatown, with a news release praising “excellent rice noodles in a variety of homemade broths.” A second Chinese restaurant, Jade Court — from the founders of venerable Phoenix Restaurant — in University Village also made the list.

Barry Brecheisen Pacific Standard Time

One of Chicago’s most unique restaurants, Passerotto — Jennifer Kim’s Korean-American restaurant in Andersonville that splices Italian technique — also made the list, as did Lonesome Rose, Land & Sea Dept’s Tex-Mex spot in Logan Square. Pizzeria Bebu, the thin-crust specialists in Lincoln Park, also pop up on the list proving that Chicago has several different styles of pizzas.

Both Green Zebra in West Town and Jaipur in West Loop fell off due to shutters. Lincoln Square’s Luella’s Southern Kitchen, Brendan Sodikoff’s Maude’s Liquor Bar on Randolph Restaurant Row, and The Publican also failed to reappear this year. Publican’s exclusion is curious, begging the question whether One Off Hospitality Group’s beloved restaurant is in the running for a star. The tire company will announce Chicago’s Michelin-starred restaurants in one week, on September 26.

Check out the full listing below, * denotes a new restaurant:

  1. Angry Crab
  2. Arami
  3. Au Cheval
  4. Avec
  5. bellyQ
  6. Bohemian House
  7. The Bristol
  8. Ceres’ Table
  9. Chilam Balam
  10. Cumin
  11. *Daguan Noodle
  12. *Daisies
  14. Dos Urban Cantina
  15. Dove’s Luncheonette
  16. The Duck Inn
  17. Fat Rice
  18. Frontera Grill
  19. Giant
  20. Gilt Bar
  21. Girl & The Goat
  22. GT Fish & Oyster
  23. HaiSous
  24. Han 202
  25. Herb
  26. Hopleaf
  27. *Jade Court
  28. Jam
  29. Jin Thai
  30. Kai Zan
  31. *Lonesome Rose
  32. Longman & Eagle
  33. Lula Café
  34. Mana Food Bar
  35. Mango Pickle
  36. *Marisol
  37. mfk.
  38. MingHin
  39. Mi Tocaya
  40. Mott St.
  41. Nana
  42. *Pacific Standard Time
  43. *Passerotto
  44. *Pizzeria Bebu
  45. Pleasant House Pub
  46. *Proxi
  47. The Purple Pig
  48. Quiote
  49. Sabri Nihari
  50. San Soo Gab San
  51. Smoque BBQ
  52. Sol de Mexico
  53. Sushi Dokku
  54. Table, Donkey and Stick
  55. True Food Kitchen
  56. TWO
  57. Untitled Supper Club
  58. Wood

Mexican Street Food Chain To Soon Debut From Ex-Naf Naf Execs

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 12:01

Invicto has plans for Naperville, Vernon Hills, and the Loop

A new fast-casual Mexican street food chain is debuting in early October in suburban Naperville from two executives who helped start Naf Naf Grill, the Middle Eastern chain that’s expanded to nine states. The new restaurant’s called Invicto, and it’s from suburban Chicago natives David Sloan and his half-brother Franklin Wiener. Sloan said the chain will differ from other fast-casual Mexican spots because of the tortillas made on premises and the decor.

The brothers have also invested in Blackwood BBQ, calling their company Venture Kitchens. Sloan specializes in opening and developing chains. He and Wiener remain shareholders in Naf Naf, but sold the chain to a private-equity firm in 2017 after opening about 40 locations. Sloan hopes to reinvigorate the Blackwood and open more locations. The barbecue chain shuttered a Wrigleyville location late last year.

Right now the focus is on Invicto which could expand to about 20 locations after openings in Naperville (1727 Freedom Drive) and Vernon Hills (at the Mellody Farm development). Ownership is still looking for a downtown Chicago location. Invicto means to transport customers, Sloan said, to make the feel they’re eating at a taqueria in Mexico City. He feels it’s an upgrade from sterile competitors like Chipotle and Qdoba. As more customers prefer delivery and take out, Sloan said restaurants need to offer patrons better reasons to dine at their establishments.

“It’s all about Instagram, it’s about the experience now,” Sloan said. “When you walk into one of our new restaurants, we want you to feel like you’re walking into a different time, a different place.”

The menu will feature “authentic Tijuana-style tacos,” Sloan said, with grilled chicken, carne asada, and taco arabe. The restaurant will also serve cemitas, Mexican milkshakes, and a Mexican-style poutine. There’s also Sonoran hot dogs wrapped in bacon and quesadillas. Sloan’s visits to Mexico inspired him, and while Invicto won’t focus on a specific Mexican region, the restaurant aims to pluck items from across the country. Also, this isn’t a case of peeking through a window and swiping a recipe from an abuelita. Invicto used a consultant, Jonathan Jimenez Alvarado. He’s a Mexican-born chef who worked at the recently relocated Pujol in Mexico City. They’ll also serve paletas, margaritas, and beer. An agua fresca bar is also present.

Chicagoans have an appetite for Mexican food, so stay tuned on more news on Invicto in the coming weeks.

A Pop-Up Beer Garden Inside ‘Chicago’s Largest Corn Maze’ is Coming to the City

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 10:00

Plus, a South Park pop-up is coming to Lincoln Park and more morning news

— The Elston Avenue corridor is getting a corn maze with a hidden pop-up beer garden, three bars, food and drink and more. Jack’s Pumpkin Nights, from the people behind Christmas pop-up bar Frosty’s, will open October 5 on a two-acre plot at 1467 N. Elston Avenue, Block Club first reported. Its website promises “Chicago’s largest corn maze” in addition to the bars and food, plus carnival games and other entertainment. Tickets are on sale now via Tock and the pop-up will run until November 5.

Replay Lincoln Park continues its run of pop-ups based on TV and movie comedies, this time planning to be a South Park-themed bar from September 28 through October 1. Its Facebook event page promises “themed drinks, crazy South Park-inspired events and activities,” and a “gigantic Halloween party to celebrate Satan’s Super Sweet 16.”

Amanda Downing, one of Chicago’s top female chefs best known for her work at Rockit, is now the executive chef at Smoke Daddy Wrigleyville. She’s working on the barbecue and more at the the location inside the Hotel Zachary adjacent to Wrigley Field after most recently being the executive chef at Bistronomic.

Adam Seger, the longtime acclaimed Chicago bartender who worked for United Airlines and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, appeared in court last week in New Orleans stemming from his July arrest. Seger was charged with rape in connection with a 2015 incident. No news came from the court appearance and Seger, who is out on bond, is scheduled to appear again in court on December 15, according to Orleans Parish court records.

— And finally, NFL legends Randy Moss and Charles Woodson visited and filmed an ESPN segment at The Wiener’s Circle. The legendary and notoriously raunchy Lincoln Park hot dog stand posted a clip of the segment here and photos here.

Starbucks Opens Princi, its Pizza Bakery/Bar, in Chicago’s West Loop

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 13:45

An unlikely happy hour spot

Starbucks wants customers to feel they’re not just visiting a re-skinned coffee shop when they stop at Princi. That’s the new bakery, an import from Italy, making its Chicago debut today in the West Loop. Staff serves up Roman-style pizza squares and mixes up sparkling cocktails at the bar at 1000 W. Randolph Street.

The coffee giant’s hometown of Seattle earlier this summer witnessed the opening of the first Princi in America, and it’s a concept Starbucks is bringing to New York later this fall. While busy commuters will still have the standard Starbucks — such as a location right across the street from Princi in Chicago — Princi hopes to give customers a new experience, something younger customers seem to crave more.

Baker Rocco Princi opened his first location in Villa San Giovanni, Italy in 1986. He’s grown his company, opening bakeries in London and elsewhere in Europe. Starbucks will operate the U.S. locations, but they will use Princi’s recipes, selling premium bread loaves, cakes, and more.

The space feels at home along Randolph Restaurant Row with many features large local restaurant groups use inside their locations. The windows swing open to Randolph for an al fresco feel. Logan Square’s hipsters would feel welcome on the bar side thanks to decor. There’s plenty of display cases filled with a rotating selection of pastries. Customers can see workers take pizzas out of the ovens. Chains are banking on culinary transparency.

Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago Princi’s pizza

The pizza should be familiar enough to Chicago thanks to success of Bonci, the Italian pizza maker that has its only two stores in the U.S. in the West Loop and Wicker Park. The recipes and crusts differ, but Bonci has already done the heavy lifting when it comes to introducing a unique pizza style to a serious pizza metropolis like Chicago.

The breakfast sandwiches feature ingredients like prosciutto aged for 20 months and speck. There are brioche croissants and other specialty goods. A company spokesperson stressed that Princi has its own dedicated commissary, separate from where pastries are baked for its normal coffee shops. Starbucks feels it’s a huge upgrade compared to the pastries sold at its stores. Though, some bakers would say it’s not hard to improve on that.

Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago Italian baker Rocco Princi oversees the pastries in the West Loop.

Princi’s baked goods will arrive next year on the Mag Mile inside the upcoming Starbucks roastery. Starbucks could use reaction from customers in the West Loop to figure out which items to offer on Michigan Avenue.

Starbucks is inviting customers to try something different. They’re at least hoping it doesn’t become another Teavana, its abandoned tea concept that never took off — at least as a brick and mortar — in Lakeview and inside Water Tower Place. America’s second Princi is now open in Chicago.

Princi, 1000 W. Randolph Street, (312) 243-9097, open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.

Beard-Winning New Orleans Chef To Open Israeli Restaurant in Chicago

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 12:02

Chef Zach Engel is opening Galit in Lincoln Park

A James Beard Award-winning chef is leaving New Orleans to open a restaurant in Chicago near the infamous Biograph Theater in Lincoln Park. Zach Engel, who last year won the Beard’s Rising Chef award, wants to open Galit early next year, according to a news release. Engel specializes in modern Israeli food.

The new restaurant’s menu will reflect Engel’s Jewish-American heritage, as well as GM and partner Andrés Clavero’s Cuban-Palestinian heritage. The two grew up in Florida and attended Tulane University in New Orleans. Clavero knows Chicago having worked at Nico Osteria in the Gold Coast.

Engel won the Beard Award last year for his work at Shaya, the acclaimed New Orleans restaurant. He’s taking over the former Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta space at 2429 N. Lincoln Ave. That’s just around the corner from the alley where FBI agents famously greeted bank robber John Dillinger way back in 1934.

The chef has already left Shaya restaurant and later this month he’ll leave his current job as culinary director at Pomegranate Hospitality Group. That’s the company formed by New Orleans chef Alon Shaya after Shaya split with Besh Restaurant Group. Shaya, a 2015 Beard winner for Best Chef: South, said he was fired after speaking up about the company’s rape culture. A scandal in which 25 former and current employees claimed sexual harassment swept through Besh’s company last year. The news broke after a lengthy investigation by the Times-Picayane. Engel left Besh and followed Shaya to the new company.

A Facebook post by Pomegrante reads the company “could not be any happier and proud” of Engel, “one of the architects of our core values and mission.” Read the statement below.

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The whole Pomegranate Hospitality family could not be any happier or more proud of chef Zach Engel’s plan to open Galit...

Posted by Pomegranate Hospitality on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Restaurateurs are investing in the area, near where Children’s Memorial Hospital was demolished. LA’s J. Fall group opened Nightwood: AM last year and LA hot dog chain Dog Haus opened a nearby location this year. Locals are also waiting for Parson’s Chicken & Fish to open a second Chicago location in the neighborhood.

The Tribune first reported the story. Stay tuned for more details.

Anglo-Indian Food From Pub Royale Will Pop Up Downtown at Revival Food Hall

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 10:45

Heisler Hospitality’s Wicker Park spot is headed to the Loop

Downtown’s about to get another option for Indian flavors, as the latest pop-up at Revival Food Hall will feature kati rolls from Pub Royale, Wicker Park’s craft beer-centric Anglo-Indian restaurant and bar. The pop-up launches October 1 and lasts through December 28. The news comes after Art of Dosa announced its pop-up at Forum 55, bringing South Indian vegetarian food to that other downtown food hall.

Pub Royale is the Division Street bar from Heisler Hospitality (Bad Hunter, Estereo, Queenie’s Supper Club). It opened in 2015, serving the fusion food created while the British Empire occupied India to satiate royal subjects living on the subcontinent. Pub Royale’s most popular item deviated from Anglo Indian cuisine — it’s a cheeseburger. The “Royale With Cheese,” which may conjure Pulp Fiction references, is a beef patty with aged cheddar, spicy pickles, and aioli. Customers will be able to make that a combo at Revival by adding fries or a cup of Mulligatawny soup.

16” On Center/Reilly Drew [Official Photo] A cheeseburger wasn’t quite what auntie had in mind when going out for Indian food.

Other items include a chicken tikka kati roll — which can be made into a rice bowl — and eggplant curry. Another fusion item rounds out the main menu. Gobi manchurian is a popular Indo-Chinese dish of savory and sweet fried cauliflower. Former Ada Street executive chef Joanna Stachon is now the chef at Pub Royale.

While Pub Royale has a massive beer selection, the pop-up will serve “dressed” cans of Hamm’s beer. The beer’s garnished with hot sauce and spiced salt and lime. The seasoning is popular in the Indian state of Kerala which last month experienced unprecedented destruction from massive monsoons. Staff will also serve peppercorn limeade.

This pop-up represents a collaboration between two of Chicago’s bigger restaurant groups as Revival’s owners at 16” On Center are working with Heisler. This isn’t a case of a chef wanting to test the market with the hopes of opening their own restaurant. Heisler hopes the pop-up will serve as an introduction to downtown diners to bring more customers to its Wicker Park restaurant. Regardless, the move will help bring a rarely seen set of flavors to the Loop.

See the full menu below. Pub Royale’s pop-up up goes from October 1 to December 28 at Revival Food Hall, 125 S. Clark Street.

Pub Royale’s Revival pop-up menu.

TAO’s Opening Could Bring More Kardashian Visits to Chicago

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 16:40

The sceney clubstaurant debuts its restaurant portion tonight after a celeb-packed party on Saturday

Over the weekend, TAO management threw an invite-only party to celebrate the opening of its Chicago location, inside the 34,000-square-foot space the formerly housed clubs like Castle, Excalibur, and Limelight. Those invited rubbed elbows with celebrities such as Kourtney Kardashian, Taraji P. Henson, and pretty much the entire cast of Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D.

Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images for TAO Chicago Actress Taraji P. Henson poses at the TAO Chicago opening party.

For good measure, Cubs pitcher Jon Lester and infielder Daniel Murphy also attended the party. It’s quite a showing for a summery September weekend in Chicago. Let’s see if they can sustain the momentum in the dead of a frigid Chicago winter.

TAO Group is working with Sterling Bay’s hospitality division, Four Corners (Benchmark, Federales). Four Corners knows how to navigate the cold temps. Perhaps some LA synergy also contributed to the turnout, as Kardashian also hung out over the weekend at Blind Dragon, the new River North karaoke bar inside the FOUND Hotel for its grand opening party. Model Emily Ratajkowski was also seen at the hotel, according to a rep. TAO isn’t alone when it comes to LA imports bringing celebs to Chicago for opening parties. The Sugar Factory opening brought Kylie Jenner and Nick Cannon to suburban Rosemont when it opened in 2015.

Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images for TAO Chicago Jonathan Cheban, AKA “Foodgod,” and Kourtney Kardashian attend the TAO Chicago Grand Opening Celebration.

The restaurant portion opens tonight on the ground floor. The second-floor club debuts Friday. The TAO formula — over-the-top design with a ton of Asian imagery — hasn’t changed for Chicago. If guests like giant Buddhas, they’ve found the right place. Rockwell Group, which designed other TAO locations, did the honors in Chicago.

Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images for TAO Chicago DJ Vice performs at Saturday’s party at TAO Chicago.

The menu also doesn’t deviate much from locations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, or New York. Back in June, ownership teased a few new dishes to go with dim sum, wagyu beef, and more. Items include Chilean sea bass satay, lobster wontons, Peking duck, crispy snapper, and a signature tuna sashimi “pringle.” Diners can reserve a table inside the 275-seat space via OpenTable.

Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images for TAO Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester attended Saturday’s party at TAO Chicago.

TAO has been a reliable moneymaker nationwide — the Vegas location is the most profitable independent restaurant in the country. Big spenders or those armed with corporate cards have found their paradise, as one the most anticipated new Chicago restaurants of the year opens for business starting tonight.

TAO Chicago, 632 N. Dearborn Street, restaurant open 5 p.m. to midnight on Sunday through Wednesday; 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Thursday though Saturday. Bar’s open at 4 p.m. daily. Nightclub opening on Friday.

Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images for TAO Chicago (L-R) Actors Marina Squerciati, Jesse Lee Soffer, and Tracy Spiridakos attend the TAO Chicago party on Saturday.

West Loop’s Getting a New Omakase Restaurant From Juno’s Sushi Chef

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 14:00

B.K. Park’s new restaurant is called Mako

B.K. Park calls it coincidence, but as Chicagoans have seen a burst of new omakase restaurants, the chef-owner behind Juno is ready to announce his own new restaurant. Park plans to open Mako in early November in the West Loop, just around the corner from Randolph Restaurant Row at Lake and Halsted.

Mako won’t be limited to sushi as Park will also offer hot food items. He has operated Juno for five years in Lincoln Park, and he made a name for himself as chef at Arami, the sushi restaurant in West Town. Juno offers customers omakase at a seven-seat counter in the back of the restaurant. Once Mako opens, Juno’s days of weekend omakase will be no more.

Park said he’ll offer more seasonal ingredients and more daring items. He’ll leverage relationships with Juno’s fish suppliers to bring specialty cuts to Mako. Park said he’ll mingle familiar Japanese ingredients with a Western technique — say offer a special garnish. It’s not fusion, but Park’s looking for new ideas. He’s talking to Rodrick Markus of Rare Tea Cellars who told him about wasabi grown in Michigan. Park hasn’t tried it yet, but is intrigued.

The restaurant will have a 13-seat counter and 10 table seats. Park noticed how customers at sushi counters, including businesspeople, struggle with conversation when they’re not seated across from each other, which is the reason behind the tables. It’ll have two seatings nightly. He’s still fiddling with prices, but right now they’re thinking about $175 for 23 courses, including rice dishes. Park will pick out the wines for the about $85 pairings.

Over the last two decades, Park believes he’s done much to teach Chicagoans about sushi and the city is now educated enough where an omakase spot would flourish. A lack of education is one of the reasons the city lags behind LA and New York when it comes to quality sushi restaurants, Park said. Restaurant owners, for the most part, have lowered the bar. Instead of pushing boundaries, they’re looking for a quick buck, catering to lowered sushi expectations.

“So many chefs or owners [here], they don’t know sushi,” Park said. “They think they can make money just making a roll, fill it with sauce...people get used to eating like that and they never want to try different types of sushi.”

Juno is known for creativity. Its signature smoke sushi arrives in a greenhouse-like glass dome that retains puffs of applewood smoke. At Mako, Park will have help from chefs Joon Park (no relation) and Joon Kim. B.K. Park trusts that no one will confuse the names. He also trusts his chefs and the staff at Juno. It’s a big leap for him, as he said he wouldn’t be able to open Mako if he didn’t think if he could leave Juno in good hands.

Facebook/The Parker Fulton Market The Parker, where B.K. Park’s new restaurant will open.

This isn’t Park’s first attempt to open a second restaurant, but those plans and business relationships have fizzled. Park looks to the positive, as he was supposed to partner with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. He feels he’ll have more creative freedom as an independent. He’s also happy about opening a restaurant closer to downtown. Tourists, including travelers from Japan, will have an easier time dropping in for a visit.

Park found the space, on the lower level of The Parker luxury apartment building, in March 2017. He said he signed a lease late last year as workers finished construction. The restaurant is named after the shark, as the mako is the fastest-swimming shark. Park, wearing a short-sleeved button-down shirt decorated with sharks, said the mako is his favorite fish. He’s also excited to swim with other new omakase restaurants in Chicago.

“I’m so glad, I’m so happy that people are opening omakase concept restaurants,” Park said. “I’m very welcome to competition, competition is a very good thing....”

Mako should open in early November at the Parker, 730 W. Coach Place. Surface back in a few weeks for more details on the menu.

How to Eat Your Way Through Chicago in One Day

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 12:30

Make every second count

As the Midwest's unofficial capitol, Chicago welcomes millions of visitors each year. Thanks to the city's impressive culinary depth, there are countless options to satisfy hunger. It would take weeks of nonstop eating just to scratch the surface of everything available so for those with limited time, picking just a few restaurants might seem like an overwhelming task. To make things less daunting, the 24-hour itinerary below will help both visitors and locals alike by highlighting some of the most essential spots in town.

8 a.m. — Doughnut Vault Doughnut Vault/Facebook

Exploring the city on an empty stomach is a perilous adventure so start the day off right with a sugar-fueled rush courtesy of Doughnut Vault. The shop is just one of many projects from restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff and his company Hogsalt Hospitality. Sorry Dunkin’ but Chicago runs on these perfect buttermilk old fashoneds, pillowy glazed doughnuts, and other assortment of classic flavors. It’s high praise, too, considering the number of doughnut purveyors around town. Still not convinced? Check out the lines that form before opening. Get there early because once the offerings are gone, they’re gone. Seasoned fans know to follow Twitter for the day’s specials and availability. The original store, located at 401 N. Franklin Street, opens at 8 a.m. on Mondays through Fridays and 9:30 a.m. on weekends. A second location is at 111 N. Canal Street.

9 a.m. — Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen Tim McCoy/Yelp

Old-school Jewish delis are a dying breed but as long as the city has Manny’s, there’s no reason to panic just yet. The South Side institution has been in business since 1942 and although the space was remodeled two years ago, little else has changed. Generous portions of corned beef hash, a breakfast Reuben sandwich, and other diner favorites ensure that folks leave full and satisfied after the most important meal of the day. Cafeteria-style service also keeps things moving along quickly – a huge benefit when short on time. Need some food for later? Grab bagels or meats and cheeses by the pound from the deli counter.

12 p.m. — Chicago Athletic Association lavivienyc/Instagram Cindy’s Rooftop

The Loop certainly has a fair amount of sights and attractions vying for attention. One of the most popular is the Chicago Athletic Association thanks to its wealth of choices. The historic hotel, first opened in 1893, was revived in 2015 after the building underwent a complete renovation. Along with a facelift, the project added several new food and beverage spots. Beloved burger chain Shake Shack anchors the ground floor while Cindy’s, a tourist-friendly beach-house-inspired rooftop restaurant and bar, sits 13 stories high. Elsewhere, guests can spend an afternoon at Game Room playing billiards, bocce, shuffleboard, and other activities or travel back in time via Cherry Circle Room’s vintage space and refined takes on classic dishes. And for a pre-dinner drink, acclaimed mixologist Paul McGee uses rare spirits to craft unique cocktails inside a small eight-seat bar dubbed Milk Room.

3 p.m. — Xoco Xoco/Facebook

Rick Bayless’s name is synonymous with Mexican cuisine not only in Chicago, but around the country. His Frontera empire continues to expand and explore new regions, flavors, and techniques. At casual sandwich shop Xoco, visitors can get an afternoon pick-me-up in the form of sweet treats. Golden fried churros are available in different glazes, or served with chocolate dipping sauce, while hot chocolates are made fresh from cacao beans that have been roasted and grinded in-house. If an extra boost is needed, coffee can be added to the drinks as well.

6 p.m. — Maple & Ash Maple & Ash/Facebook

The breadth of the city’s culinary scene is remarkable. From mom-and-pop taquerias to world-class fine dining, restaurants are leaving no stone unturned in pursuit of the next great bite. At its core, though, Chicago’s reputation as a meat-and-potatoes kind of town cannot be denied. Steakhouses are seemingly on every block downtown and more are opening up regularly. Among those ushering in a new beef experience is this posh Gold Coast spot. Yes, the chic design — complete with high ceilings and ornate chandeliers — is in line with expectations but the boisterous dining room lacks any hint of pretension and fosters a relaxed atmosphere. Guests start things off with a complimentary cocktail before delving into the luxurious menu. Executive chef Danny Grant, who previously earned two Michelin stars at Ria, utilizes a 12-foot hearth to cook items like 28-day dry-aged rib eye and fire-roasted seafood towers, a fresh twist on a chilled steakhouse staple. Big spenders or expense accounts should put their trust in Grant and go with the aptly-titled “I Don’t Give a F*@k” menu for a tasting of his greatest hits.

9 p.m. — The Aviary The Aviary/Facebook

There are lots of watering holes in Chicago but this stunning, award-winning cocktail temple has no equal. It’s the brainchild of Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas, a pair who have put Chicago on the map as a global dining destination with innovative restaurants like Alinea and Next. Beverage director Micah Melton dazzles guests with theatrics and liquid alchemy that pushes boundaries. Whether it’s served in a porthole infuser or encased in an ice sphere, each concoction is rooted in science and guaranteed to be a one-of-a-kind experience. The fun doesn’t end there. Hidden below The Aviary is The Office, an intimate speakeasy specializing in classic drinks. Together, the two bars offer a yin and yang approach to mixology. Reservations for both can be booked on Kokonas’s proprietary ticketing system Tock.

11 p.m. — Kingston Mines Kingston Mines/Facebook

Just like deep dish pizza and a Chicago-style hot dog, the blues are an integral part of the Windy City’s identity. And while music venues are aplenty, this Lincoln Park landmark is the oldest continuously-operating blues club in town. Founded in 1968 and open seven days a week, Kingston Mines supplies an almost endless amount of live entertainment. Two acts perform across two stages every night until as late as 4 a.m. so that the good times roll into the early morning. The kitchen is likewise open late and keeps the party going with Southern comforts such as po’ boy sandwiches and barbecue ribs. From start to finish, it’s a soulful experience that fully encapsulates the spirit of Chicago.

Silver Palm, Hailed by Anthony Bourdain as America’s Greatest Sandwich, To Close

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 11:00

A potential sale may jeopardize the 80-year-old Matchbox bar

The Silver Palm, the restaurant that’s spent 16 years inside that chrome railcar on the southeast corner of Milwaukee, Chicago, and Ogden, is closing at the end of the month. Ownership is looking to sell the narrow, 45-seat restaurant, according to Block Club Chicago. David and Jackie Gevercer also own the neighboring Matchbox, hailed as the city’s smallest bar. They hope selling the building and 71-year-old boxcar but that won’t impact the bar.

Read the announcement, made on Saturday, below:

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A post shared by The Silver Palm (@thesilverpalm) on Sep 14, 2018 at 5:03pm PDT

The Silver Palm remained mostly known for the 1947 Budd dining car parked next to the Matchbox. It provided a unique urban visual, just northeast of the Kennedy Expressway’s Ogden Avenue exit. But a 2008 visit from the late Anthony Bourdain changed that as Bourdain — accompanied by radio host Mancow Muller — tried the restaurant’s signature dish. The Silver Palm’s Three Little Pigs combined three different pieces of pork: deep-fried pork cutlet, bacon, and smoked ham. That comes covered with Gruyere and two eggs.

Bourdain took a bite and exclaimed: “That sandwich is the greatest sandwich in America.” Sales boomed, and owners said the No Reservations TV segment saved the struggling business — it was weeks from shuttering. The new success also led to a new bar. The creator of the sandwich, Dan Palm, went off on his own with his brother and opened his own bar in Wicker Park called Gunner’s. It’s since closed and the space is now En Hakkore 2.0.

While the Gevercers plan to sell the space, their announcement teased “something new and exciting.” They also mentioned “the rapidly changing landscape business in Chicago and our West Town neighborhood.” It’s true, as the sleepy intersection, home to a CVS, nearby Big Shoulders coffee, and the Chicago Academy for the Arts, is transforming due to new construction including a new 23-story luxury apartment building nearby.

While the Gevercers took over the Matchbox space in 1995, the bar’s history extends more than eight decades. It’s not the first time the building would be up for sale. There’s a listing from 2010. However, eight years ago there was no mention of a closing date, to the current announcement seems serious.

September 29 is when the big bad wolf will arrive to turn off the lights. That means there are less than two weeks to get into Silver Palm for one last Three Little Pig and a classic cocktail — a boxcar seems appropriate.

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Hyde Park is Getting a Korean-Mexican Fast-Casual Restaurant

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 10:00

Plus, Crate & Barrel is opening a suburban restaurant with Bill Kim and more morning news

— Hyde Park and Naperville are getting locations of growing fast-casual Korean-Mexican brand Seoul Taco. Chef David Choi’s St. Louis import, which opened its first Chicago location in River North in June 2016, takes over the Edwardo’s Natural Pizza, Packed, and Cemitas Puebla space at 1321 E. 57th Street in Hyde Park and at 206 S. Washington Street in suburban Naperville, according to a news release and multiple reports. The brand, which is popular for fusion items such as bulgogi steak tacos, plans to open the new spots this winter.

Crate & Barrel will open a restaurant at its suburban Oakbrook Center store next spring — with help from an acclaimed chef. Bill Kim of BellyQ and Urbanbelly will oversee the restaurant’s menu. Restoration Hardware, which opened the eye-popping restaurant Three Arts Club Cafe with help from Brendan Sodikoff in 2015, sued Crate & Barrel last year and accused the company of copying its food and beverage concept, the Tribune reports. That suit was reportedly resolved.

Wilson Bauer, the acclaimed former Schwa chef de cuisine who launched the underground dinner club Chicago, Washington in March, went missing on Thursday and Chicago Police put out an alert. He was found Saturday, however, and no additional information was available, according to multiple reports.

Riot Fest, the three-day punk rock-focused music festival, took place over the weekend in Douglas Park and it was scaled back with fewer bands and food offerings versus other years. Hip-hop duo Run the Jewels headlined Sunday’s lineup and during the performance Killer Mike took to time to mention Brian Fisher, the chef from Michelin-starred Entente in Lakeview. Fisher is a big RTJ fan; he ran a food truck outside Emporium Arcade Bar’s pop-up in Logan Square in 2017. He was backstage during the show and was stoked even though the audio of the shout out was garbled. If anyone has footage of the show with clear audio, drop a link at

Brian Fisher Entente chef Brian Fisher was back stage Sunday night at Riot Fest when Killer Mike gave him a shout out.

Lettuce Entertain You patriarch Rich Melman, a longtime supporter of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, has donated to the campaign of former police Superintendent Gerry McCarthy now that Emanuel announced he won’t run for reelection. The Melman family and Lettuce Entertain You restaurants and employees donated more than $700,000 to Emanuel since 2010, the Tribune reports, so they have a big influence on the race.

— And finally, Benihana chefs in Chicago and New York will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for longest cooking marathon starting tomorrow. Raymundo Mendez will start cooking fried rice at the 875 N. Michigan Avenue location at 4 p.m. on September 18 and doesn’t plan to stop until he’s awarded the Guinness certificate at 10 a.m. on September 20. All customers will get free fried rice with the purchase of an entree on Thursday too.

Chicago’s First Asian-Inspired Brewpub Confounds a Critic

Fri, 09/14/2018 - 15:00

Plus Passerotto is an exciting addition to Andersonville

Bixi Beer’s broad Asian-inspired menu “just leads to a lot of confusion,” writes Mike Sula. Though the “belt noodle Yibin style” — Shanxi-province biang biang noodles tangled “adaptably well” with funky black beans, pickled mustard greens, chopped peanuts, and Sichuan spice — is “one of the best bowls of pasta [he’s] eaten all year,” it shows a “blatant disregard for borders” as well. The same goes for the scarfable “Chicago beef bao,” steamed buns holding shaved prime rib and giardiniera.

“Textures also seem to be a problem” with dumplings. Kimchi mandu arrives “pasty and undercooked, filled with mealy curry-spiced chicken that tasted as if it had been murdered by five-spice powder.” Pork-and-shrimp pot stickers perform better and are served with a “pleasingly acidic” dipping sauce. There’s a burger, of course. It’s “one of the more winning mashups” but “nowhere is the deliberate blurring of cuisines so stark.” The patty is seasoned with five-spice and sandwiched between toasted bao alongside melted American cheese and sweet Chinese bacon. A “monstrous, messy” chocolate sundae, made with marshmallow fluff, peanut butter fudge, and Sichuan peanuts, rounds out the somewhat mixed experience. [Reader]

Owner and chef Jennifer Kim is casting a spell on diners with an eclectic mix of Korean-Italian fare at Passerotto. Jeff Ruby praises the food as “next-level stuff” and “can’t remember a better treatment of raw ingredients” than Kim’s composition of yellowfin tuna with heirloom corn, hijiki, Thai chili, and crisp potato slivers. Korean fried chicken “gets a little spark” from pickled cauliflower and Calabrian chili oil, while tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cakes) in lamb ragu is a “more satisfying version of gnocchi in which the noodle and the sauce finally compete on a level plane.” Among the large-format dishes, the sous-vide galbi short ribs are an “instant classic,” basted in a concentrated glaze “that’s like a superhero version of the marinades you’re used to at Korean barbecues.” Overall, Passerotto is living up the buzz and has “brought more infectious enthusiasm to Andersonville than the space’s previous half-dozen occupants combined.” [Chicago]

Monnie Burke’s is an “affable” neighborhood spot with an “impressive” patio. Maggie Hennessy takes a seat out back at the Pilsen newcomer, which is “draped in bald-bulb lights and dotted with planters.” The food “leans comfy American and meaty, with a solid offering of vegetable-focused shareables.” There’s “unctuous” roasted bone marrow topped with house-made giardiniera that “recall[s] a concentrated, fancy Italian beef sandwich when smeared on accompanying grilled planks of focaccia.” The best dish, though, features “tender” black mussels luxuriating in a lemongrass-scented red curry broth. Missteps include an overcooked, dry burger but things finish “on a high note” thanks to a key lime and blueberry trifle. [Time Out]

Inside the United Center’s New Restaurant For Bulls and Blackhawks Fans

Fri, 09/14/2018 - 13:30

Queenie’s Supper Club opens today inside the arena

Diners won’t need a United Center event ticket to dine at Queenie’s Supper Club, the new restaurant that opens today at the home of the Bulls and Blackhawks. It’s a twist on a Wisconsin tradition from Heisler Hospitality — the owners of Bad Hunter, Pub Royale, and Sportsman’s Club — and operated by arena concessionaire Levy. For now, the restaurant will only be open during concerts and games but there are plans to expand hours.

The restaurant features a balcony that fans can see as they enter the arena through the atrium that houses the statue of Bulls legend Michael Jordan. There’s also a giant neon vertical sign announcing the restaurant’s presence. The owners wanted an upscale menu with steaks and seafood, avoiding the cliched sports bar environment. Don’t worry — there are still plenty of spaces inside the UC where customers can find that.

Queenie’s blends modern amenities, like fancy video screens, with classic charm. Big leather seats, taxidermy, and a serious bar are part of the restaurant’s atmosphere. There’s a piano in the center space and a private event room.

Walk through the space below. Queenie’s opens at 5 p.m. today before Maroon 5 takes the stage.

Queenie’s Supper Club, inside the United Center 1901 W. Madison Street, open on arena event days until an hour after the event finishes. Reservations available via Reserve.

Drink a brandy Old Fashioned at the bar. Modern yet classic A piano and video screens Salads will be dressed table side and there may be more table side presentations in the future. The balcony overlooks the atrium. Another shot of the balcony. One of the private booths The private event space. Hello, friend. This isn’t a typical sports bar.

Glad Wrap’s Marketing Firm Apologizes for Giant Dinner Gimmick

Fri, 09/14/2018 - 11:08

Influencers were mad when they found out about Glad

While Giant chef-owner Jason Vincent answered questions about the social media uproar regarding Monday’s dinner gimmick with Glad Products, reps from the plastic wrap company’s own ad agency have kept their mouths sealed — until now. FCB Chicago craved “authentic feedback” from customers in creating “a unique and special event,” a company spokesperson told Adweek. In classic marketing pablum, FCB said they’re sorry to “anyone who felt deceived.” Giant is a popular Logan Square restaurant that opened in 2016 and is a member of the Eater Chicago 38.

Separate reps from FCB and Giant sent out invites earlier this month to food writers, social media influencers, and others asking them to attend a special complimentary dinner where they’d be the first to try Giant’s new menu. The invite told diners cameras would be present on Monday. There were two seatings. After the first seating, Vincent — a Beard Award-nominated chef — told guests there was no new menu and that some of the food served was made three days before and preserved with Glad wrap. Diners didn’t like the surprise. That led Vincent to tell guests at the second seating of the gimmick before anyone ate.

FCB told Adweek the “idea for the campaign is to put freshness to the test.” The hashtag FCB used on the invite was telling: #ThreeMoons. That sparked outrage from marketers and media members who felt Giant should have been more upfront. Influencers were also criticized for complaining about a free meal. Some pointed out diners aren’t always served fresh food as restaurants sometimes prep items days before service.

Not only was the meal free, but diners had a chance to make money. They were given consent forms to sign after their meals offering them $300. They’d be paid another $1,000 if Glad used footage of them for a video appearing on the company’s website. After this week’s reactions, that video may not be uploaded.

Vincent apologized to diners in person on Monday — when many restaurants, like Giant, are typically closed — and via social media. He also apologized in an interview with the Tribune. He also had the chance to explain himself.

“I’m not going to cry poverty,” Vincent told the paper. “But if [a company] says they’ll pay $10,000 to rent out your restaurant on a day that you’re typically closed, yeah, we are going to do that.”

The Trib also spoke with PR professor Megy Karydes of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She said Glad should have been more transparent as food writers thought they might cover the new menu and influencers came in under the premise they were doing their jobs by attending to promote the restaurant, not Glad.

One of those marketers invited to the dinner who was irked was Instagram influencer Adam Sokolowski. He and Vincent’s PR rep talked, which led to Wednesday when Sokolowski complemented Vincent and praised Giant. He directed his anger at FCB in an Instagram post: “It’s less about the quality of the food at @giantchicago or Chef @jasonvincent00’s craft; I can attest that both are praiseworthy. It’s about the lack of transparency and consent from the ad agency @fcbchi.”

Sokolowski was eager to leave the story behind on Thursday. But many local chefs and restaurant PR reps still saw the tale as a lesson in how customers feel about transparency. Giant’s PR team continued to play damage control this week.

“We never really thought that this would be a referendum on Giant, but more of a ‘see how good this plastic wrap is’ sort of event,” a Giant Instagram post read. “We were wrong.”

Joe Biden Crushed Spaghetti and Meatballs at This Chicago Restaurant

Fri, 09/14/2018 - 09:45

Plus, a controversial nightclub caused nearly five dozen 911 calls this year and more morning news

— Former VP Joe Biden added another notch to his list of Chicago restaurants. He ate spaghetti and meatballs at Rosebud on Rush on Tuesday night with his wife Jill, the Sun-Times reports, and left a $100 tip after being escorted to a nearby ATM to withdraw some cash. Biden’s previous experience with Chicago food includes Celeste’s fried chicken and Tony Mantuano’s Italian fare.

— Another sighting: Bill Murray ate at suburban temple to French fine dining George Trois last night — which is apparently four blocks away from the country club where Murray used to caddy — the restaurant posted on Facebook.

— Longtime Noble Square nightclub Evil Olive is still “voluntarily closed” following the shooting of its bouncer in late August. It could eventually reopen, however aldermen will hold a hearing to find out why it’s been the source of a whopping 57 calls to 911 this year alone and 351 since 2015, Block Club reports.

McDonald’s Headquarters Randolph Row restaurant unleashed a new round of international items, including poutine from Canada, a morning wrap from the UK that includes potato rosti (similar to hash browns), the “Angus Maestro Burger” from the Netherlands (which has two Angus beef patties seasoned with a steak and butter sauce and wild mustard sauce), and the “Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Crème McFlurry” from Latin America. More info is here.

— Acclaimed West Loop Spanish spot Salero is set to reopen tonight after last week’s electrical fire, executive chef Ashlee Aubin says. He also says it’ll have a brand new menu, aside from the restaurant’s signature paella.

— And finally, “Pizza City, USA” — Steve Dolinsky’s new book that’s been the impetus for the Hungry Hound’s many pizza tours, an extensive media blitz, and Twitter drama with critic Michael Nagrant and Piece Pizzeria — goes on sale for $24.95 tomorrow in stores and on Amazon. It opines on the 101 best pizza spots in the Chicago area and has a forward by Grant Achatz.

Hanbun Owners Pick West Town For New Korean Fine Dining Restaurant

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 15:33

Eater Young Gun Dave Park and Jennifer Tran are taking over the Green Zebra space

Chef Dave Park and Jennifer Tran of Hanbun, the suburban Korean restaurant that helped make Park a 2017 Eater Young Gun, have finally revealed the location and name of their new restaurant. The couple’s been working toward making Jeong a reality since last year when they announced Hanbun would be closing. Jeong should open this year inside the former Green Zebra space in West Town, according to the Tribune.

Hanbun closed in February after three years inside a strip mall in suburban Westmont. Park is a Korean native with experience in fine dining — he had a one-day stage at Alinea after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America. They’ll serve both a tasting men and a la carte items at Jeong.

Reservations for dinner service at Hanbun were totally booked months ahead of time. Even after Hanbun’s closure Park’s high popularity remained steady. A May ramyun pop-up at Kimski in Bridgeport drew long lines with items quickly selling out. It was only a matter of time before Park and Tran found restaurant space in Chicago.

Green Zebra closed on New Year’s Eve after 13 years of vegetarian dining at 1460 W. Chicago Avenue. Park and Tran weren’t immediately reached, but stay tuned for more details. With 3 1⁄2 months left in 2018, Jeong is now one of the most anticipated restaurants of 2018.