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

A whole bunch of restaurant openings, including the place that’s proffering this globetrotting taco.

Chicken tikka taco at Velvet Taco   Photo: Courtesy of Velvet Taco

Openings

Today marks the opening of Taus Authentic (1846 W. Division St., Wicker Park, 312-561-4500). Expect French flavors with a bit of a contemporary, globe-trotting twist from Michael Taus, the former chef/owner of Zealous.

Greektown gets a little sudsier with the addition of beer-focused Tapworks Tavern & Grill (820 W. Jackson Blvd., 312-682-5898), the fourth restaurant from Rachel Dennis (Piggyback Tavern, Randolph Tavern, Lake Street Kitchen + Bar).

Think of Velvet Taco (1110 N. State St., Gold Coast, 312-763-2654) as a taqueria that’s just come back from an around-the-world voyage: The Texas–based chain’s tortillas are filled with everything from fried paneer to Cuban pork.

The newest place from Quay Tao (also of the Portage) is called Community Tavern (4038 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-283-6080) and it’s got all the boutiquey trappings of a downtown steak house in the heart of Portage Park.

Morsels

Just barely out of the kitchen at Two, chef Tom Van Lente is on to a new gig—he’s now the chef de cuisine at Big Star (1531 N. Damen Ave., Wicker Park, 773-235-4039). He’s taking over for Cary Taylor, who departed One Off Hospitality’s taco joint in December.

Another veteran spot is on its way out: Hawaiian spot Sola (3868 N. Lincoln Ave., North Center, 773-327-3868) will shutter in April. Chef/owner Carol Wallack is planning to retire from the restaurant business, so she sold the space to new owners who plan to reconcept—no word yet on what they’ll be doing, though.

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