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A Gaming and Comfort Food Palace Comes to West Loop, and More Dining News

Plus: The owners of Au Cheval launch a sushi spot and a South Sider wins Top Chef.

Chicken and waffles at Punch Bowl Social   Amber Boutwell

Openings

Punch Bowl Social (310 N. Green St.), the gaming-and-comfort-food palace in the West Loop we covered last month, is now open for business. Their hours are a little bit convoluted for the first couple of weeks, so be sure to check the website before you go.

Last week, Sawada Matcha; this week, Radio Anago (226 W. Kinzie St.)—Hogsalt Hospitality is having a big month. This sushi spot from the owners of Au Cheval and Maude’s Liquor Bar is now open in River North.

That giant space in Andersonville that once housed Acre has a new tenant: Octavio (5310 N. Clark St.), a Mexican spot named for the Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz, will focus on the south and central portions of Mexico, with homemade mole and tortillas rolled in-house.

Morsels

A Chicagoan has taken home top honors on Top Chef. Joe Flamm, of Spiaggia, won Season 15 last week, and joins Stephanie Izard among the ranks of reality show winners in Chicago cuisine. Flamm isn’t the only Top Chef notable from Spiaggia; Sarah Grueneberg, now of Monteverde, did well on Top Chef while she was in charge of the kitchen at Spiaggia back in 2012.

Les Dames d’Escoffier Chicago, the local chapter of the international organization of women food lovers, is hosting a gala event in April. Some of the city’s best female culinary artisans, including Sarah Rinkavage of Marisol and Eden Laurin of the Violet Hour, will team up for a dinner to benefit scholarships and community outreach programs. Tickets are available now.

Restaurant critic and food writer Michael Nagrant, most recently the dining critic for RedEye, has struck out on his own. Nagrant plans to continue posting his reviews, complete with his signature obscure cultural references and biting commentary. For example, one of his first reviews of Bellemore begins with this line: “I felt like I’d walked into the secret love nest of Hugh Hefner and a crazy old bird lady.” How could you not read that review?

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