photo: courtesy mourad hannin
• Thursday, 5/30: Ravenswood welcomed the opening of Chez Simo Bistro (1968 West Lawrence Ave., 773-334-7466) this weekend. Owners Simo Ely Yacobi (above) and wife Rashida Kechab have worked with chef George Vega to refine an authentic bistro menu for their BYOB boîte.
• Tuesday, 6/4: After closing last winter due to a fire, BBQ sports bar The Piggery Chicago (1625 W. Irving Park Rd., 773-281-7447) has re-opened its doors. The menu, already a bevy of palatable pork options, has expanded to offer pies, sandwich wraps, and more.
• Wednesday, 6/5: The popcorn shop Berco’s (810 W. Armitage Ave., 312-642-3726) opens its doors. The owner, Matt Bercovitz, planned originally to share the down-the-alley walkup window next door with InterUrban Café, but pounced when the old Cynthia Rowley boutique became available. Developed through extensive testing at Kitchen Chicago, Bercovitz’s 15-step process to caramel corn involves organic Wisconsin butter and Baleine sea salt. “We have the best caramel corn ever,” he says.
• Thursday 6/6: MAK Restaurant (1924 W. Division St., 773-772-6251) is owner Tommy Wang’s homage to the food he grew up with at his father’s Chinese restaurant. The name stands for Modern Asian Kitchen and reflects the restaurant’s focus on natural proteins and fresh ingredients. The restaurant is currently BYOB and offers gluten-free items.
Ada St. (1664 N. Ada St., 773-697-7069) will host the Bellwether Beer + Brunch Feast during Bellwether art and culture festival in Noble Square. The locally sourced menu by chef Zoë Schor will come with beer pairings from Revolution Brewing (2323 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-227-2739) and feature flatbreads, sandwiches, salads, snacks and dessert. Guests will be encouraged to pick from Ada’s vinyl collection to create a custom-made playlist. Tickets are $50 for the event, which runs 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Chef Dan Sarkiss and his business partner Moe Hammad of Middle-Eastern counter Zaytune Mediterranean Grill (3129 S. Morgan St., 773-254-6300) is opening a table service restaurant this summer. Kurrah Mediterranean Tapas (1355 S. Michigan Ave., no phone yet), will serve small plates such as dolmades, kibbeh, and pistachio flan and Middle Eastern-inspired cocktails (think fig martinis).
Nick Tsoukalas (Athena) is part of a group that last week bought out the Red Violet space at 121 W. Hubbard St. The new owners plan to replace the shuttered Chinese eatery with a yet-to-be-named restaurant that will serve a variety of small plates, such as tacos, skewers, and sliders.
The California-based LYFE Kitchen will be expanding into Chicago. LYFE is an organic and seasonal franchise where nothing on the menu is over 600 calories. The restaurant’s first franchisee, Carey Cooper, plans to open the restaurant at 419 North Clark Street by the fall.
Johnny Casserole (4019 N. Damen Ave., 773-857-2665) will be serving up macaroni and cheese during Ribfest Chicago this weekend. Located around the corner from the festival, this casserole joint is currently open only for delivery. However, customers can walk in this weekend and pick up a blend of sharp cheddar, mozzarella, fontina, and Parmesan cheeses for $5.