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

A new pastry chef at Nico Osteria, quick-change action at Roxie’s, and the potential return of happy hour.

Leigh Omilinsky   Photo: Chloe List

Openings

There is a lot happening at the new Chicago Athletic Association Hotel (12 S. Michigan Ave., Loop). Not only is it home to the second location of Shake Shack (specialty concretes include a take on coffee and doughnuts), it’s also where you’ll find the latest Land & Sea Dept. spot, the Cherry Circle Room. Read more about the new spot here.

Morsels

With opening pastry chef Amanda Rockman heading south to Austin (and taking her near-perfect kouign-amann with her), there’s a new dessert maven in the kitchen at Nico Osteria (1015 N. Rush St., Gold Coast, 312-994-7100). Leigh Omilinsky (Café des Architectes, L2O, Tru) will be taking over. The 2013 Jean Banchet award winner for Best Pastry Chef first fell in love with sweets while eating crème brulée at age 10.

As is Brendan Sodikoff’s way, he announced yesterday that Roxie’s By the Slice (1732 N. Milwaukee Ave., Bucktown) would be shutting its doors for a quick reinvention—when it reopens in two weeks, it’ll be as Roxie’s Burger Shop, a summer-long pop-up flipping cheeseburgers to go with fries and chocolate shakes.

Here is the most exciting news your bank account has heart in a while: Happy hour drink specials may be coming back to Illinois! A bill lifting many of the restrictions on time-specific beverage bargains is currently awaiting Governor Bruce Rauner’s signature. At present, bars are only able to offer deals over the span of an entire day, not just a set sliver of time—a controversial (and annoying) law that’s been in place since 1989.

The always-debated and sometimes-accused-of-being-sexist-and-elitist World’s 50 Best Restaurants List came out earlier this week, and perennial top-ten contender Alinea (1723 N. Halsted St., Lincoln Park, 312-867-0110) took a remarkable tumble, all the way down to number 26. The silver lining? It won the first-ever People’s Choice award.

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