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The Polenta Bar Does Its Namesake Dish Just Right

At this new West Loop spot, creamy ground cornmeal is dispensed like soft serve.

Polenta with octopus and olive sauce   Photo: Jeff Marini

Polenta is a pillar of northern Italian cuisine. The guys behind the Polenta Bar, a newcomer to the West Loop scene, can be trusted to do right by it—owner Emile Chalouhi and chef Camillo Villa are both Milanese. They recently moved to Chicago, hometown of Chalouhi’s wife, and brought with them three machines that churn the creamy ground cornmeal and dispense it like soft serve at the pull of a lever.

Customers are invited to dress up their polenta, Chipotle-style, by ladling on one of seven different sauces—like garlicky octopus with capers and olives ($15) or wild boar stew ($14). Freshly baked or grilled vegetables serve as toppings.

It’s stick-to-your-ribs comfort food with Continental flair.

1002 W. Lake St.

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