Scott Harris Shocker!
Complete this analogy. People magazine : Kim Kardashian :: Dish : ___ . The answer is Scott Harris, a partner in two dozen or so restaurants (notably the Francesca’s family) who seems to have news for us every time we talk to him. This time, Harris has reconnected with his partner on the late Platiyo, Raúl Arreola, who has cut ties with Mixteco Grill. The two are looking for a space in Andersonville, so far without success. In the meantime, Harris plans to close T-Bones Steakhouse (1890 W. Main St., St. Charles; 630-762-0200) in a few months and enlist Arreola’s help to reopen in the same space as Fat Rosie’s Taco & Tequila Bar. “Cheap cheap cheap cheap. We want cheap right now. People want to have fun. Come and have a good time. Fun fun fun,” Harris says. Watch this space for the scoop when Harris finds the right location for Arreola or visits the beach with Cristiano Ronaldo, whichever comes first.
“Bad cooks—and the utter lack of reason in the kitchen—have delayed human development longest and impaired it most.” –Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher
Eight Questions for Bruce Sherman
Sherman, the executive chef at North Pond (2610 N. Cannon Dr.; 773-477-5845), spoke on a sustainable chefs panel at an Environmental Protection Agency event on May 26th in Washington, D.C.
D: What did you and your fellow panelists talk about?
BS: We each talked about what sustainability is and why we choose to respect it and how we cook. There were questions at the end.
D: Like what?
BS: “Does [customer] feedback at the table help inform the kitchen on more sustainable choices?”
D: What’s the answer?
BS: Yes, absolutely. Without speaking up, [diners] can’t help guide the discussion.
D: Did you come away from the panel with anything new?
BS: The notion that we’ve been heard at a much higher level, administratively. The people in the room were people who are actually making policy for our government. To have an audience with them was pretty remarkable.
D: What, specifically, would you like to see happen?
BS: A number of us felt we need to address the small-scale animal producers to make processing of the animals more available. They can’t get access to a slaughterhouse in a timely manner. A small guy with just a few pigs to harvest doesn’t have access to a slaughterhouse and sometimes might have to wait for months.
D: How might that problem be solved?
BS: [Kathleen Merrigan, a deputy secretary of agriculture,] said the piece of legislation was sitting on her desk regarding the ability of out-of-state producers to sell in Illinois. That whole hubbub about the Department of Agriculture coming into my kitchen and Rick [Bayless]’s kitchen—that was all because of the shortage of approved interstate processing facilities. It’s [addressed] in the new farm bill.
D: Did they serve lunch?
BS: We had Chesapeake Bay crab cakes, with greens, strawberries, and potato salad.
D: All local products?
“We do not have a name yet,” says Fabio Sorano, who owns a space at 2460 North California Avenue that will be a sister restaurant to the two-in-one combo of Letizia’s Natural Bakery and Enoteca Roma. Like the original pair, the new place will couple an espresso bar with an Italian restaurant. At the new place, a rooftop vegetable garden will supply hard-to-get items such as a particular heirloom tomato and fagioletti al corallo (an Italian bean). There’s also a wood-burning oven for pizza. The small, frequently changing menu includes focaccia sandwiches, vegetarian soups, and baked items made by Sorano’s mother, Letizia. Sorano hopes to launch by the end of June, and he has opened up the floor to ideas for a name. “We have a contest on our website. We are getting some very interesting suggestions,” he says. So what’s in it for the winning namer? “Just the glory,” Sorano says.
We Are the World
“Anything that anyone in this country eats, we’re making,” says Phil Siciliano, one of two chefs at a new sports bar called Jimmy Green’s (825 S. State St.; 312-386-9000), which we first heard about on Thrillist. The menu at Jimmy Green’s—which is named after a long-gone bar on Taylor Street—includes quesadillas, pot stickers, hummus, fish and chips, and Italian sausage that comes from “a secret place,” Siciliano says. The top seller since opening this past weekend is the hand-stretched thin-crust pizza. It’s a pretty broad menu, but we read through the whole thing, and there is not one item from Cameroon.
On the Blog
Things to Do
1. Lunch at Rosebud Steakhouse (192 E. Walton St.; 312-397-1000), where the R Burger is $5 between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
2. Get half off cheese and charcuterie at Pops for Champagne (601 N. State St.; 312-266-7677) weekdays until 7 p.m.
3. Free yourself of gluten at Ina’s (1235 W. Randolph St.; 312-226-8227), where the famous potato-and-tapioca-breaded fried chicken returns June 18th between 5 and 8 p.m., as part of a $30 prix fixe dinner. Make your reservation now—Ina has room for only 60.
Dot Dot Dot . . .
The Chicago branch of the anti-hunger organization Operation Frontline is sending five Chicago chefs to the White House for the June 4th launch event of the Chefs Move to Schools program, Michelle Obama’s effort to make school cafeteria food more healthful. . . . It was a big week for Chicago chefs on the Today show. Phillip Foss of Lockwood appeared on Monday for a segment about Asian carp (a.k.a. Shanghai bass) that also featured Phil Vettel in Groucho Marx glasses. And this past Thursday, Rick Tramonto showed up to grill hanger steak and broccoli rabe. . . . Congratulations to Gabriel Viti, the owner of Gabriel’s and Miramar, who made it to the top of Mount Everest. . . . Todd Feitl, who spent five years as the pastry chef at Vie, now works at Prasino (93 S. La Grange Rd., La Grange; 708-469-7058). . . . The voice mail message at Shrimp Walk (444 Lake View Ave., Highwood; 847-432-7080), a north-suburban mainstay since the mid-1970s, says it’s closed for regular business but open for private parties. . . . For those who like their frozen yogurt sweet, FreshBerry (211 E. Ontario St.; 312-475-5831) opened its first Chicago location one week ago today. . . . Grant Achatz tweeted that starting in August, Alinea N. 1723 N. Halsted St.; 312-867-0110) will offer only one tasting menu. The restaurant now offers a menu of about 12 courses ($150) and one of about 24 ($225). The new menu will cost $185, and Achatz says it has the same number of courses as the old longer menu, just with some courses served simultaneously. “The new [menu] format will have 17 lines. But it could be up to 25 courses. I know, it’s confusing,” Achatz told us by e-mail.