Chicago Gets a Food-Truck-Inspired Restaurant, Plus More Openings and Expansions

One of the city’s best new restaurants is doubling in size,

Photo: Frank grassano

The anarella pizza from Pizzeria da Nella is one of many Neapolitan-style pies that will be available at the restaurant’s new Carol Stream location.

Openings 

 Wednesday, 5/1: With a name inspired by an Urban Dictionary entry for “extremely awesome or certifiably nuts,” the tavern Tommy Knuckles (433 W. Diversey Pkwy., 773-248-3230) is now open.  

 Sunday, 5/5: The taco bar Bodega (1964 N. Sheffield Ave., 773-348-0121) opened last weekend on Cinco de Mayo. The food-truck-inspired menu also includes salads, burgers, and tortas.  

Morsels

The 12,000- to 14,000-square-foot American, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese barbecue extravaganza from the owners of Chen’s and John Barleycorn will be called Old Crow (3506 N. Clark St., no phone yet). The 400-seat restaurant, half under a retractable roof, will also carry an intoxication of whiskeys, including Japanese and Chinese versions.

Despite an ongoing wrangle with the insurance company, The Piggery (TK W. Irving Park Rd., 773-281-7447) hopes to reopen this month after a February 2012 fire. The restaurant occupied parts of two adjacent buildings. One, largely undamaged, holds the reopening restaurant, and the other will be razed and rebuilt with more dining-room space, a banquet hall, and apartments above.

The Chicago Reader’Mike Sula won the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award from the James Beard Foundation for “Chicken of the Trees,” his account of when and how squirrels have appeared on menus across the country throughout history. Other Chicago winners include Stephanie Izard of Girl & the Goat (Best Chef: Great Lakes), Paul Kahan of Blackbird (Outstanding Chef, a tie with David Chang of Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City), The Aviary (Outstanding Bar Program), and WBEZ’s Nina Barret (Radio Series, for “Fear of Frying”).

Distant devotees of Nella Grassano’s Neapolitan-style pizza will be able to pick up a pie closer to home when a west-suburban location of Pizzeria da Nella Cucina Napoletana (600 E. North Ave., Carol Stream, no phone yet) opens in September.

Now open a year, the omakase-style Japanese spot Kai Zan (2557 W. Chicago Ave., 773-278-5776), number five in Chicago’s best new restaurants, is expanding. The identical twin chefs Melvin and Carlo Vizconde hope to offer 50 seats—double their current space—as they take over the storefront next door and drop the fraction from their address, formerly 2557½. Kai Zan will remain open during the last few weeks of construction.

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