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

A few big debuts, expansion plans for a Logan Square favorite, and the Mag Mile shop proffering this sandwich.

Braised short rib and caramelized onion sandwich at Labriola Ristorante & Café   Photo: Courtesy of Labriola Ristorante & Café


Open now: Say hello to Intro (Belden-Stratford, 2300 N. Lincoln Park West, 773-868-0002), the new-chef-every-few-months spot from Rich Melman and Lettuce Entertain You that’s taking over the L2O space. First up in the kitchen? CJ Jacobson, whose creation features some forest-friendly elements: There’s a quote from Henry David Thoreau on the wall and a dish with Douglas Fir on the menu.

Open now: Whatever the Italian-leaning craving–pizza, pasta, sandwiches–the all-encompassing Labriola Ristorante & Café (535 N. Michigan Ave., Streeterville, 312-955-3100) can probably sate it.

Open now: For some Southern food like (someone else’s great-) grandma used to make, look no further than Luella’s Southern Kitchen (4609 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-961-8196), where chef Darnell Reed (formerly of the Conrad Hotel) will be using his elder’s techniques for dishes like she-crab soup and cornbread.


Starting this summer, Fat Rice (2957 W. Diversey Ave., Logan Square, 773-661-9170) will be packing on a little extra. The Macanese spot will convert its waiting area to a cocktail lounge and add a Chinese bakery/small-bites bar next door.

For Grace, the film documenting chef Curtis Duffy and his journey to make Grace (652 W. Randolph St., West Loop, 312-234-9494), will be making its star turn at the South by Southwest Film Festival this March. The documentary from Mark Helenowski and Tribune food writer Kevin Pang, was recently re-edited to include footage from the restaurant’s reception of three Michelin stars a few months back.

Just when Juno (2638 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Park, 872-206-8662) was getting its footing after shuttering for months due to a fire last year, there’s news from the kitchen–chef Sam McDermott has stepped down and will be replaced by Jacob Demars. Everyone else remains in place.


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