NOW OPEN: Publican Quality Meats
Before The Publican proved pig parts can be glam, phrases like “hanging butchered hogs” and “blood sausage” would have skeeved us out. But when Chris Kuziemko, one of three opening chefs at Publican Quality Meats, spouts these terms while describing the bi-level butcher shop, sit-down deli, and retail spot from Paul Kahan and company, we’re onboard. Maybe we’ll even forgo the made-to-order sandwiches—on house-baked breads with Slagel and Faith Farms meats—for the Butcher Meal, a Spanish stew incorporating veggies, blood sausage, and underused cuts such as beef shin. Either way, there’s craft beer and wine to wash it down. 825 W. Fulton Market; publicanqualitymeats.com.
COMING SOON: Ada Street
Michael Kornick and David Morton are either restaurant superheroes out to fill every foodie need they spot within a two-mile radius or they are after the triple crown of the right joint at the right time in the right place—DMK Burger Bar (2009) and Fish Bar (2011) on North Sheffield Avenue and now Ada Street, a cozy small-plate Med-bent boîte. The guys have snagged Zoe Schor (L.A.’s Craft, Beso, and Bouchon dot her resumé) for the kitchen, are planning a serious cocktail program, and have promised the best-priced wines in Chicago. Now that’s heroic. 1664 N. Ada St.; 773-697-7069.
BUDGET: KINGSBURY STREET CAFE
A profusion of glossy supersize retail operations has turned North Avenue just east of Goose Island into a shopping extravaganza in recent years, but a dining destination? Not so much—unless you count trolling the aisles for free samples at Whole Foods. So we were pleased to find Kingsbury Street Cafe across the street from that gigundo supermarket, in an airy, high-ceilinged space that formerly housed a stable for carriage horses.
Fresh and tasty breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch offerings cover the spectrum from light (grilled vegetable rice wrap, $8; a fresh orange-mango cooler, $4.50) to indulgent (smoked Gouda cheeseburger with maple-glazed bacon and a side of fries, $12; a hard-charging Bloody Mary, $8). We were wowed by the lovely lemon-zesty pancakes with fresh blueberries ($10) and by the whole-wheat and carrot version with maple cream cheese ($10).
Both make fine desserts—as do the meringues, cupcakes, and other bakery treats displayed so prettily near the entrance. By the time you read this, dinner should be available too. Parking is rough, but there is a lot with valet ($4) a little north of the café. 1523 N. Kingsbury St.; 312-280-1718.
Photograph: Anna Knott