Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Alinea's Achatz Vows To Battle Ailment

As reported by Pete Wells in The New York Times' Diners Journal and others: Grant Achatz, the 33-year-old chef of the award-winning Alinea in Chicago, released this statement July 23 through his publicist: “I wanted to personally report that I have been very recently diagnosed with an advanced stage of squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth. I have consulted several prominent physicians and will likely begin aggressive treatment within the next few weeks. I remain, and will remain, actively and optimistically engaged in operations at Alinea to the largest extent possible. Alinea will continue to perform at the level people have come to expect from us — I insist on that. I have received amazing support from friends, family, and everyone who has thus far been told of the disease, and I look forward to a full, cancer-free, recovery.” Writes Wells, "I traded instant messages with Mr. Achatz a few minutes ago. He said that his dentist had noticed a “dot” on his tongue back in 2004 but a biopsy came back negative. Then around a month ago, his tongue began to hurt pretty seriously, and he went back for a biopsy. This time it was positive. His energy level is high, he said, but because eating is painful he has lost about 12 pounds in the past two weeks. While he weighs his treatment options, he said he was “trying to work as much as possible,” and has already started planning his fall menu. He said his staff had responded to the news “amazingly, as I expected them to.” Mr. Achatz sometimes gives the impression that he is either working or thinking about work all the time. Now his staff is getting accustomed to receiving some of those thoughts on e-mail and instant messages tapped out in the waiting room of his doctors’ offices."

IN THE NEWS: Grist magazine's list of the world's top 15 eco-conscious chefs includes: Alice Waters, Chez Panisse, Berkeley, Calif; Dan Barber, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, N.Y.; Chris Cosentino, Incanto, San Francisco; Andrea Reusing, Lantern, Chapel Hill, N.C.; Ted Walter, Passion Fish, Pacific Grove, Calif.; David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, Calif; and Peter Hoffman, Savoy, New York, N.Y. Runners-up include Frank Stitt, Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, Ala; and Christine Kim, Green Zebra, Chicago. grist.org ... Chicago magazine's Dish column reports: Set to open in three weeks, Ai Sushi Lounge (358 W. Ontario St.) is the third brain child of Agnes Yoshikawa and Eugene Chua, the brother-and-sister team who own Tsuki (1441 W. Fullerton Ave.) and Ringo (2507 N. Lincoln Ave.). ... Dan Sachs of Bin 36 Sachs will unveil A Mano directly below Bin 36 at 335 North Dearborn Street in September. ... Hometown classic Harry Caray’s (see www.harrycarays.com for all locations) will be expanding to Lombard in August with two new restaurants, an Italian steak house and a seafood restaurant, both in the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center. ... Blair and Shirley Makinney of Beverly’s Pantry (1907 W. 103rd St.) are opening next door Café 103 (1909 W. 103rd St.), a fine-dining spot and natural extension of their gourmet retail store where they were already running sit-down dinners for private parties. chicagomag.com ... Blogger Tablehopper.com raves about a visit to Avec (615 West Randolph St.). ... The Sun-Times' Pat Bruno awards two stars to the chain J. Alexander's (4077 Lake Cook Northbrook). ... Sandy Thorn Clark profiles Doug Zell, owner of the 12-year-old coffee company Intelligentsia, which has grown from a no-name to a company with 110 employees and a 25,000-square-foot warehouse at 1850 W. Fulton that produces more than 1.25 million pounds of freshly roasted coffee a year. There also are three retail stores (3123 N. Broadway, 53 E. Randolph and 53 W. Jackson), and more than 700 wholesale customers. In addition, Intelligentsia recently opened a store and roasting facility in Los Angeles. Among the wholesale customers are some of Chicago's finest chefs -- Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, Charlie Trotter of Charlie Trotter's, Grant Achatz of Alinea, Paul Kahan of Blackbird, Shawn McClain of Custom House, and Michael Shrader of N9Ne Steak House -- who hand-select beans to customize specialty brews for the discriminating tastes of their patrons. suntimes.com ...

The Trib's Phil Vettel awards one star (good) to Alhambra Palace (1240 W. Randolph St.) and two stars (very good) to Room 21 (2110 S. Wabash Ave.), while Cheap Eats visits Smitty's on the Corner (15 E. Main St., St. Charles). ... Terry Armour visits Martini Park (51 W. Erie St.; www.martinipark.com). chicagotribune.com ... The Reader reviews new luxe lounges La Pomme Rouge (108 W. Kinzie), Chaise Lounge (1840 W. North) and Vice (840 W. Randolph). chicagoreader.com ... TimeOut Chicago reviews Mexx Kitchen at The Whiskey (1015 N Rush St) and Trattoria 225 (225 Harrison St, Oak Park). Noted openings include Oprah chef Art Smith's Table Fifty-Two (52 W Elm St), chef John Hogan's Tavern at the Park (130 E Randolph St), Crimson Lounge (329 N Dearborn St), and Tamalii (2459 W Armitage Ave). timeout.com/chicago ... Bloggers ChicagoBites.com rave about their visit to Moto (945 West Fulton Market St.). ... Menu Pages notes, "From the bowels of Hell, a.k.a. Bubba Gump Shrimp, issues forth a new Italian restaurant on Navy Pier called Capi's Italian Kitchen. ..." blogs.menupages.com/menupages.com ... Chicagoist.com stops by Winston’s Market (3440 N. Southport Ave.). ... ChicagoBurgerProject.blogspot.com visits David Burke's Primehouse (616 N. Rush St.) ... USA Today features the new movement of top-flight, celebrity chef-driven steakhouses, including Chicago's Tramonto's Steak & Seafood (Westin Chicago North Shore hotel, 601 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling), Las Vegas' StripSteak (Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S.), Los Angeles' Cut (Beverly Wilshire hotel, 9500 Wilshire Blvd.), Kansas City's Plaza III Steakhouse (4749 Pennsylvania Ave.), and New York City's Craftsteak (85 10th Ave.). usatoday.com ... Crain's Chicago Business reviews Marche (833 W. Randolph St.), Custom House (500 S. Dearborn St.), Hop Haus (646 N. Franklin St.), Monk's Pub (205 W. Lake St.), and chicagobusiness.com ... Chef Jimmy Bannos of Heaven on Seven has been chosen by the American Culinary Federation Chicago Chefs of Cuisine Association as their second inductee into the Chicago Chefs of Cuisine Culinary Hall of Fame and Museum. Last year's inaugural inductee was Chef Charlie Trotter.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Bleeding Heart Bakery on the Move

IN THE NEWS: Chicago magazine's Dish column takes a first look at Nazarlik (1650 W. Belmont Ave), Caoba (1619 N. Damen Ave), Trattoria Trullo (4767 N. Lincoln Ave), Nine Fish (2426 Main St., Evanston), Blu Restaurant and Sushi Lounge (1710 Orrington Ave., Evanston), Chaise Lounge (1840 W. North Ave), Shikago (190 S. LaSalle St), and Sepia (123 N. Jefferson St). ... Dish also notes, On Aug. 31, The Bleeding Heart Bakery (2018 W. Chicago Ave.), a certified organic bakery serving vegetarian and vegan fare, will close and shift the operation to 1955 West Belmont Avenue, where management expects to reopen early September. ... Closed: Cereality Cereal Bar & Cafe (100 S. Wacker Dr.; 1622 Sherman, Evanston) ... Opened: Cy Oldham (Silver Cloud) and Howard Natinksy (Five Star) have teamed up for Fat Cat (4840 N. Broadway), a neighborhood bar featuring comfort food. ... La Pomme Rouge (108 W. Kinzie St.), featuring American contemporary small plates, opened quietly in mid-June. ... Milk & Honey Bake Shop (1543 N. Damen Ave.), a spin-off of the original café, specializes in coffee and panini. ... Via Carducci La Sorella (1928 W. Division St.) opened on July 16. ... Dish interviews Jose Garces, a 35-year-old Chicago-born Kendall grad who owns two highly acclaimed restaurants in Philadelphia: Amada, an Andalusian tapas bar, and Tinto, a Basque-inspired wine bar. And he’s about to launch Chilango, a high-energy Mexican spot in Philly, and plans to open Mercat early next year in the renovated Blackstone Hotel at 600 South Michigan Avenue). chicagomag.com ... TimeOut Chicago rounds up dive bars, reviews Chaise Lounge and V.I.C.E. (840 W Randolph St), and notes the openings of Il Fiasco (5101 N Clark St), Otom (951 W Fulton Mkt) and The Bluebird (1749 N Damen Ave). ... The mag also blogs about the spiked milkshakes at the new bar Relax (1450 W Chicago Ave). timeout.com/chicago. ... ChicagoBusiness.com reports, "Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Inc. is opening a third Wow Bao restaurant at the northwest corner of State and Lake Streets in the Renaissance Hotel. Wow Bao, a quick-casual concept that specializes in steamed Chinese-style buns filled with meats and vegetables, opened its first location at Water Tower Place in 2003 and a second in the southern Loop at Van Buren Street and Financial Place in February." ...

The Trib's Phil Vettel reports, "Kizoku (358 W. Ontario St.), the restaurant that gave Chicago "body sushi" (sushi pieces served atop a supine, scantily clad model) is no more, but the west edge of River North won't go without dragon maki for very long. Coming to the space in another week or two will be Ai Sushi Lounge (not to be confused with Sushi Ai in Palatine), a sushi spot by Agnes Yoshikawa, Eugene Chan and chef Toyoji Hemmi, the trio responsible for Tsuki and Ringo in Lincoln Park. ... Vettel also reports, "Word that a new Melman restaurant is aiming for a Spring 2008 opening at the corner of Hubbard and Dearborn Streets might not seem terribly eyebrow-raising; Rich Melman opens new Lettuce Entertain You restaurants all the time. But we're not talking about Rich Melman. The principals of this project, to be called Hub 51, are R.J. and Jerrod Melman. Rich's sons. The boys -- ages 28 and 24, respectively -- have more going for them than mere genetic predisposition. R.J. is the general manager at R.J. Grunt's (Daddy's very first restaurant), and Jerrod is the number-two manager at Osteria Via Stato, both Lettuce concepts. (It's not settled whether Hub 51 will be part of Lettuce or a separate division.)" ... Joe Gray blogs about a first visit to Il Fiasco. ... Monica Eng looks at carryout at Sola (3868 N. Lincoln Ave.; www.sola-restaurant.com) and Trader Joe's (3745 N. Lincoln Ave.; www.traderjoes.com) ... Kevin Pang has a progressive feast at Bolingbrook restaurants. chicagotribune.com ... Chicagoist.com reviews Art of Pizza (3033 N. Ashland), La Cantina Grill (1911 S. Michigan Ave.), and Martini Park (151 W. Erie St.). ... ... GapersBlock.com reviews M. Henry. ... The Sun-Times' Pat Bruno awards three stars to Park Grill (11 N. Michigan) and stops by Kamehachi Sushi Cafe (311 S. Wacker), while Thomas Witom reviews Chef's Station (915 Davis, Evanston) and Harbour House Restaurant (566 Chestnut, Winnetka). suntimes.com ... The Reader's Nicholas Day looks at the kitchen changes at Blackbird (619 W. Randolph). chicagoreader.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

'Bon Appetit' Features Crust

The August 2007 Bon Appetit magazine's Top Tables feature includes: Seattle's Brasa (2107 Third Avenue, brasa.com); Boulder, Co.'s The Kitchen (1039 Pearl St., thekitchencafe.com); Brenham, Texas' The Inn at Dos Brisas (9400 Champion Drive, dosbrisas.com); Kansas City's Bluestem (900 Westport Road, bluestemkc.com); Chicago's Crust (2056 W. Division St.); Atlanta's The Farmhouse (10950 Hutcheson Ferry Road, Palmetto, serenbe.com); and San Francisco's PlumpJack Cafe (3127 Fillmore St., plumpjack.com). epicurious.com/bonappetit

IN THE NEWS: The Sun-Times' Janet Rausa Fuller reports, "A sesame seed paste called tahini, used to make the popular Middle Eastern dip hummus, may be at the center of a salmonella outbreak linked to the Taste of Chicago, said the owner of the restaurant that served the hummus. Max Pars, owner of the Pars Cove restaurant at 435 W. Diversey, said health officials were zeroing in on tahini, which the restaurant purchased in late June. Pars bought the tahini from Ziyad Brothers Importing, a Cicero distributor whose products are in 48 states and six countries." Some 126 festival-goers were sickened and 10 were hospitalized. as officials try to trace the Taste outbreak. ... Critic Pat Bruno reviews Anteprima (5316 N. Clark), while Thomas Witom considers Scapa Italian Kitchen (31 S. Prospect Clarendon Hills). suntimes.com ... The Trib's Phil Vettel gives two stars to chef Gino Bahena's Tepatulco (2558 N. Halsted St.) and lists his favorite area pies, among them the lemon chess pie at West Town Tavern (1329 W. Chicago Ave.), while Renee Enna reviews Rosangelas (2807 W. 95th St., Evergreen Park). ... Vettel notes: the opening of Merchandise Marts' Bluprint, the brainchild of Jim Horan, owner of Blue Plate Catering ... Rosebud Prime, a clone of Rosebud Steakhouse, will open July 21 at 1 S. Dearborn St. in The Loop. chicagotribune.com ... The Reader's Martha Bayne reviews Bonsoiree (2728 W. Armitage), while Mike Sula reports that Gene's Sausage will be taking over the Meyer Delicatessen space in Lincoln Square. chicagoreader.com ... Chicago magazine chicagomag.com notes the closing of Palmito (3605 N. Ashland Ave.) and the openings of: Tavern at the Park (130 E. Randolph St., early August), Sepia (123 N. Jefferson St.), Il Fiasco (5101 N. Clark St.), Lucky Strike Lanes (100 Yorktown Center, Lombard), English (444 N. LaSalle St), Between Boutique Café and Lounge (1324 N. Milwaukee Ave.), Otom (951 W. Fulton Market), and The Bluebird Bistro & Wine Bar (1749 N. Damen Ave.) ... Business First of Louisville reports, "The name might no longer be "Gumbo A Go-Go," but the rechristened restaurant company is ready to go-go across the nation with what a new group of franchising executives believe will be the next hot Louisville-based franchise concept. The owners of the J. Gumbo's Down-Home Cajun Cookin' chain plan to add stores during the next few months in such markets as Chicago, Las Vegas, Nashville and New Orleans, said Don Larose, president of the parent company, Gumbo Development LLC." ...

TimeOut Chicago chats with chef Kevin Hickey of Seasons, reviews Wicker Park's new Lobos Al Fresco Tacos, and West Rogers Parks' Tapsilog At Iba Pa, and notes the openings of Piccolo (859 N Damen Ave), The Violet Hour (1520 N Damen Ave) and Sepia. timeout.com/chicago. ... Cold Stone Creamery's parent company is adding another restaurant franchise to its roster, the Business Journal of Phoenix reports. Scottsdale, Ariz.-based -based Kahala-Cold Stone has acquired Chicago-based Cereality Cereal Bar & Café. Cereality was founded in 2003, and customers at the restaurants choose from more than 30 cereal varieties and signature blends, plus 40 toppings and mix-in combinations to create their meals. Offerings also include parfaits, smoothies, cereal bars and other bakery items. ... ChicagoBites.com rates Yolk (1120 S Michigan Avenue). ... Menu Pages blogs.menupages.com notes the opening of Between Cafe & Lounge in Bucktown. ... The Chicago Burger Project chicagoburgerproject.blogspot.com visits Billy Goat Tavern (430 N. Michigan at Lower Level). ... Chicagoist.com reviews Jerry's, The Medici on 57th (1327 East 57th Street), and Baccala in Wicker Park. ... Crain's ChicagoBusiness.com reviews Kiki's Bistro (900 N. Franklin St.), Nick's Fishmarket and Nick's Fishmarket Grill (51 S. Clark St.), and Chez Joel (1119 W. Taylor St.).

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, July 9, 2007

Schwa To Reopen Aug. 3 With New Menu

IN THE NEWS: The Reader looks at recent restaurant transformations, including Il Covo (2152 N. Damen), and Martha Bayne blogs, "The answering machine at Schwa confirms a rumor from a few days ago: the teeny Ashland storefront is closed for the month of July and will reopen August 3 with a new menu." chicagoreader.com ... The Trib's Phil Vettel reviews Bravo Tapas (2047 W. Division St.) and Haro (2436 S. Oakley St.), while Kevin Pang considers Jockey Wok 'n' Rolls (1017 N. Roselle Rd., Hoffman Estates, www.jockey2go.com). ... New restaurants noted include Al Primo Canto (5414 W. Devon Ave), Trattoria Trullo (4767 N. Lincoln Ave), Bluprint (222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 135), and Sepia (123 N. Jefferson St.) chicagotribune.com ... The Sun-Times' Pat Bruno looks at kid-friendly courses at area restaurants. suntimes.com ... TimeOut Chicago timeout.com/chicago reviews Halsted's Bar & Grill (3441 N Halsted St), and Cosmopolitan (954 N California Ave), and notes the new Jerry's Sandwiches (1938 W Division St), Al Primo Canto, English (444 N LaSalle St), and Paddy Long's (1028 W Diversey Ave). ... The New York Times reports on the opening of the Mexican eatery Mexx Kitchen at the Whiskey (1015 N. Rush St.) from New York restaurateur Richard Sandoval (Maya, Pampano) and Rande Gerber. nytimes.com ... ChicagoBites.com visits Sola (3868 N. Lincoln Ave). ... Menu Pages blogs.menupages.com/chicago notes the opening of Village Restaurant on Canal Street, serving a standard complement of Indo-Pak dishes, mostly under $7 a la carte. ... Hungry magazine hungrymag.com spotlights the opening of Jerry’s Wicker Park.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

State St.'s Melvin B's Making Way for Hotel

IN THE NEWS: The Sun-Times' Janet Rausa Fuller reports that Melvin B's, the beer-and-burger bar at 1114 N. State, will close in September to make way for a 200-room boutique hotel. ... Denise O'Neal reviews Sura Thai Bistro (3124 N. Broadway), while Sandy Thorn Clark profiles Hot Diggity Dogs' Joe Marsico and also writes about award-winning Frontera Grill chef-owner Rick Bayless. ... Pat Bruno awards two stars in his review of Crust (2056 W. Division) and reports that Andy's Jazz Club (11 E. Hubbard) now offers a Sunday Jazz Brunch. suntimes.com ... The Trib's Glenn Jeffers interviews Gabino Sotelinom, who spent 27 years as executive chef at Ambria, which closed June 30. ... The Trib's Monica Eng blogs about the secret Japanese menu at Itto Sushi (2616 N. Halsted St) and stops by the new V.I.C.E. (840 W. Randolph St), while Phil Vettel gives his best bets at Taste of Chicago, and Trine Tsouderos reviews Helen's Restaurant (1732 E. 79th St.) chicagotribune.com ... The Reader looks at new restaurants Delicioso y Sabroso (10468 S. Indianapolis), Machu Picchu (3856 N. Ashland), and Chicago Ale House (2200 W. Lawrence). ... The Reader's Mike Sula blogs about New Albany neighborhood spot Al-Khaymeih. chicagoreader.com ...

Chicago magazine's July 2007 issue chicagomag.com features "A Food Lover's Guide -- Where to Find the Freshest and Finest". The mag also writes on the exclusive underground restaurant scene, including Wellfleet and the Sunday Dinner Club, while Dennis Ray Wheaton reviews Le Lan (749 N. Clark St) and Boka (1729 N. Halsted St.). ... Penny Pollack and Jeff Ruby of the mag's Dish column report: "After a seven-year run in Evanston, Giovanni DeNigiris moved his Trattoria Trullo to Lincoln Square (4767 N. Lincoln Ave.), where he opened the doors June 22; Carol Johnson recently bought Il Covo (2152 N. Damen Ave.) from Jeff Greaves, Covo’s former owner and her former boss there; Terry Alexander morphed the former Del Toro space in Wicker Park into The Violet Hour (1520 N. Damen Ave., with a June 28 opening), but this time around the focus will be more on cocktails than on cuisine; Egglectic Café (145 N. Hale, Wheaton), a gourmet brunch spot, has opened its second location in Wheaton in the Danada Town Square shopping center (221 Town Square); The next of Alex Dana’s Rosebud restaurants, Rosebud Prime (1 S. Dearborn St.), is scheduled to début in late July; Paddy Long’s (1028 W. Diversey Ave.), a Lincoln Park pub and grill, opens this week; Ice-cream and sweet shop Sweet Occasions and More!, already a hit in Andersonville and Ravenswood, makes its move on Uptown in late August (northwest corner of Bryn Mawr and Kenmore)". ... TimeOut Chicago reviews Crust, Vella Cafe (1912 N Western Ave), and notes the openings of Wicker Park bakeries Sweet Cakes Bakery (935 N Damen Ave), Milk & Honey Bakeshop (1543 N Damen Ave), and Lovely: A Bake Shop (1130 N Milwaukee). timeout.com/chicago ... ChicagoBites.com visits Republic Pan-Asian Restaurant & Lounge (58 E Ontario St.). ... Centerstage visits The Fish Keg. centerstagechicago.com ... Menu Pages blogs.menupages.com stops by the new Chaise Lounge in Wicker Park and notes the opening of Al Primo Canto on Devon and Central. ... Chicagoist.com considers Bobtail Ice Cream (3425 North Southport) and Delicioso y Sabroso (10468 S. Indianapolis Blvd). ... GapersBlock.com stops by Sweet Maple Cafe (1339 W. Taylor). ... ChicagoBusiness.com reviews Chez Joel (1119 W. Taylor St.).

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com