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

A big step forward in the James Beard Awards process, changes in Chinatown and at Eataly, and where to get a serious bowl of ramen.

Ramen from Furious Spoon   Photo: Courtesy of Furious Spoon

Openings

Open now: Shin Thompson (Kabocha) has resurfaced, and he comes bearing soup. His new Furious Spoon (1571 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wicker Park, 773-687-8445) keeps it simple with a few basic ramen bases and endless options for customization.

Open now: The Virgin Hotel continues to roll out its dining options in bits and pieces—the newest on their list is Two Zero Three (203 N. Wabash Ave., Loop, 312-940-4400), a coffee shop and wine bar.

Thursday, February 19: Seven Lions (130 S. Michigan Ave., Loop, 312-880-0130) roars to life, with a full slate of brunch, lunch, and dinner options from chef Chris Curren (Blue 13) and plenty of wine thanks to owner Alpana Singh (Boarding House).

Morsels

Kudos to those repping Chicago on the just-released list of 2015 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists. See the nominees here. (Ed note: A respectable list to be sure, but we were hoping for a few more surprises.)

Big news in Chinatown: Tony Hu is in the process of selling off all his restaurants aside from Lao Sze Chuan so he can focus on growing that brand, which has already expanded to other neighborhoods in the city as well as Las Vegas. That means Lao Hunan, Lao Ma La, and more could join the already-sold Lao Beijing. Hu told Eater that the sales have nothing to do with the FBI raid that targeted many of these restaurants in October.

Eataly (43 E. Ohio St., River North, 312-521-8700) pulled a restaurant switcheroo recently, replacing the meat-heavy La Carne with a more broadly focused spot, Osteria di Eataly. Rather than having a single-minded focus on a particular ingredient or style, this one zeroes in on the greatest hits of the Italian-eats pantheon.

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