The Buzz: What’s Coming and What’s Cheap in Chicago Dining

Two Brothers Steakhouse, El, and Kanela Breakfast Club

BRICKS AND MORTAR: El

Chef Phillip Foss

When Phillip Foss (right) left Lockwood, he plunged into the food-truck world and all its attendant issues so deeply—and loudly—that he emerged as the poster boy for the entire genre. And, in fact, his Meatyballs Mobile has an ardent following. But Foss has to cook his truck offerings in a licensed kitchen, a legality that led him straight back to fine dining on solid ground. By day, Foss uses his tiny Douglas Park digs to prepare his mobile fare; by night, the newly dubbed El will become a chef’s table. True to Foss’s unpredictable nature, it will be his menu on his clock. Read: Call ahead. 2419 W. 14th St.; 312-226-8144. -PP


COMING: Two Brothers Roundhouse

The locally sourced fare at their Warrenville brewpub, Two Brothers Tap House, has earned them culinary cred, and now the two brothers, Jason and Jim Ebel—and a former Café Ba-Ba-Reeba! chef—are poised to suds up Aurora’s dining scene. According to Jason Ebel, the changes to the former Roundhouse will involve more than simply tacking on the Ebel brothers’ moniker. “We can get into pork and steak and more exotic stuff,” he says. “This is an opportunity to expand and pair more things with beer, and cook with it was well.” Sounds like a well-rounded menu. 205 N. Broadway Ave., Aurora; 630-393-2337. -CB

 

BUDGET BEAT: Kanela Breakfast Club

Weekdays are calm, but on weekend mornings, the line at this spiffy five-month-old Lake View café stretches all the way to Kenosha. Once you’re seated, either indoors or on the back patio, all it takes is a nibble of loukoumades ($3)—puffy fritters doused with crushed walnuts, honey-lemon syrup, and plenty of kanela (Greek cinnamon)—to quell any waiting pains. Chris Lardakis, the co-owner, relies on local and organic ingredients whenever possible and showcases a slew of a.m. favorites with plenty of twists. Plate-dwarfing multigrain kanela chip pancakes ($9) are a winning example, as is French toast blanketed with a not-too-sweet apricot sauce and crowned with a dreamy lemon-scented crème fraîche ($9) or a pairing of crisp waffles and chocolate-coated, peppery bacon strips ($11). Eggheads should revel in a layered fiesta of chorizo, over-easy eggs, avocado, Chihuahua cheese, and a spunky salsa verde or a quirky Benedict, which adds chewy pork belly, dried cranberries, and Brussels sprouts to the classic mix of poached egg and hollandaise. It works. So do the steaming cups of Julius Meinl coffee, fresh juice blends, and the chipper young staff that seems ideally suited to perk up everyone’s morning. For those not fond of noshing before noon, there are lunches, too, as well as weekend dinners to start late July. 3231 N. Clark St.; 773-248-1622. -JR

  

Photograph: Courtesy of Phillip Foss

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