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Chicago Restaurants Are in a Polar Vortex

There’s one new opening! But there are also wintertime shutdowns, some good news for Hyde Park eaters, and a conveniently placed PETA billboard.

P.E.I. mussels at Luxbar   Photo courtesy Luxbar

Openings

Open now: Bergstein’s NY Delicatessen, the Chicago Heights corned beef standby, soft-opened their second location (1164 E. 55th St., Hyde Park, 773-891-0429) in the suddenly-bustling nabe on Monday, with plans for a full opening later this month. For now, get your deli fix from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Morsels

You notice how that openings section looks a little, uh, sparse today? Many scheduled restaurant openings for this week and next have been pushed back due to weather-related issues. Even already-standing spots experienced Polar Vortex delays: Mott St. (1401 N. Ashland Ave., Noble Square, 773-687-9977), which planned to reopen yesterday after a brief winter break, had to push back to Friday after some unexpected emergency repair work.

Just two months after Lincoln Park restaurant Sprout shut its doors following the departure of chef Dale Levitski, so too has its sister restaurant, Frog N Snail (3124 N. Broadway, Lake View). No word yet on what’s coming in either spot’s stead.

Chickpea (2018 W. Chicago Ave., Ukrainian Village), a small Middle Eastern restaurant open since 2008 and across the street from a Dominick’s store in the process of becoming a Mariano’s, has closed as well.

Your last chances to catch “Spinning Plates,” the dining documentary that prominently features Grant Achatz and Alinea, in Chicago are tonight and tomorrow night at the Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State St., The Loop, 312-846-2800). The show starts at 7:45 p.m. tonight and 6 p.m. tomorrow, and you can buy tickets on Ticketmaster.

Erwin Drechsler, the chef and owner behind departed Lake View restaurant Erwin, has landed—this time, he’s heading up the kitchen at gourmet grocer Artisanal (414 Linden Ave., Wilmette, 847-512-3155), where he’s making soups, salads, and comfort foods using the store’s bounty.

After a spate of delays over liquor licensing, the planned second location for Yusho (1301 E. 53rd St., Hyde Park) is moving ahead. Chef Matthias Merges says he’s planning for a summer 2014 opening.

If you’ve stopped in at Publican Quality Meats (825 W. Fulton Market, West Town, 312-445-8977) recently, you may have noticed a sad-eyed piglet shaming you with the slogan “You can live without those ribs. I can’t” on a PETA billboard conveniently posted directly across the street, urging meat-eaters to go vegan. Rather than get indignant, the Publican crew posted a thoughtful reply on their Facebook page, talking about why they believe their meat treatment to be ethical and humane—worth a read for both sides of the carnivorous divide.

There’s a new chef at Luxbar (18 E. Bellevue Pl., Gold Coast, 312-642-3400). Shaun Connolly, who’s had stints at several restaurants around town—including Nightwood, Takashi, and Moto—is planning for a back-to basics approach for the spot, like those mussels pictured above.

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