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

It’s a rough day in Pilsen.

Joe Cecchini
Joe Cecchini   Photo: Courtesy of Ballaro

Opening

The people who brought you BRGRBelly (formerly known as Leadbelly) are now getting into the Italian beef game with Beefbelly (4800 N. Central Ave., Jefferson Park, 773-283-5545). Their twists on the standard sandwich include sriracha, Carolina barbecue, and more.

Morsels

It’s a sad day in Pilsen, as an early-morning fire gutted beloved Mexican spot Nuevo Leon (1515 W. 18th St.). According to the Tribune, the blaze broke out around 12:30 a.m. and took about three hours to put out, taking out with it next-door neighbor Tortilleria Sabinas. Owners Daniel and Maria Gutierrez say they plan to rebuild.

After about a year, Kokopelli (1324 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wicker Park) has closed. The seafood taqueria imported from Tijuana never quite met the lofty expectations of the tortilla-savvy public.

Joe Cecchini, the chef de cuisine at newly opened Ballaro (214 Green Bay Rd., Highwood, 847-780-3396), nabbed the top spot on last night’s episode of Chopped, the Food Network cooking competition show. He beat out competitors in a showdown focused on macaroni and cheese.

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