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What You Need to Know About the Chicago Dining Scene This Week

Including where to get these fish tacos and which grocery store lured a serious chef to their team.

BBQ salmon taco at Buzz Bait   Photo: Courtesy of Buzz Bait

Openings

Tony Mantuano’s casual Bar Toma (110 E. Pearson St., Gold Coast, 312-266-3110) is back in action, and it’s now spruced up with a renewed focus on all things pizza (the menu now sports four categories: Pizza, Before Pizza, Instead of Pizza, and Not Pizza).

Street food that you don’t have to eat on the street is now available at the first Chicago location of The Halal Guys (49 W. Divison St., Gold Coast, 312-877-5575). New York’s beloved stop for shawarma and falafel sandwiches and platters has been swarmed since setting up here, so much so that they’ve had to adjust their hours to keep up with demand.

What’s on tap at Jackson Tavern (216 W. Jackson Blvd., Loop, 312-877-5373)? Tons of craft beer, of course, but also barbecue, burgers, and tacos.

The newest thing to swim into Old Town is Buzz Bait Taqueria (1529 N. Wells St., 312-642-2899), a joint project between Marc Malnati and the Kamehachi team that’s got a streamlined menu of fish tacos for the fast-casual diner.

Morsels

Mariano’s, in its effort to be a player in the high-end grocery shopping scene, has made a pretty serious hire for its first-ever executive chef and VP of Culinary: Ryan LaRoche, who’s best known locally for his six years at the Michelin-starred NoMi Kitchen.

Have a long-gone favorite dish at Sepia (123 N. Jefferson St., West Loop, 312-441-1920)? Look for it at the bar from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, which is when they’ll be doing a Greatest Hits menu (more or less a fancy way of saying “happy hour”). Select beer, wine, cocktails, and bites will clock in at just $6—meaning you can have a plate of duck liver mousse and a French 75 for $12 total.

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