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

So many new restaurants!

Superfood harvest salad at Thrive360   Photo: Courtesy of Thrive360


Dinner service has begun at Beacon Tavern (405 N. Wabash Ave., River North, 312-955-4226), the newest spot from prolific restaurateur Billy Lawless (The Gage, The Dawson). Expect fresh takes on tavern classics and seafood from executive chef Bob Broskey (Intro). Lunch and brunch are on the horizon, too, after Memorial Day.

Now open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Thrive360 Eatery (37 S. LaSalle St., Loop, 312-801-9309) is Protein Bar’s more holistic, also counter-service offshoot with salads, soups, grains, wraps, and smoothies for the health-minded, on-the-go masses.

C Chicago’s reinvention is complete. Ocean Cut (20 W. Kinzie St., River North, 312-280-8882) debuted its new executive chef (Dirk Flanigan, of the Gage and Henri), menu, and more accessible vibe. Say goodbye to seafood priced by the pound and hello to a raw bar, simple grilled fish, and three new (beef) steaks.

The highly anticipated second location of Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits (4947 N. Damen Ave., Ravenswood, 773-530-9020) is finally open, with a few new menu items—like a wedge salad–inspired biscuit sandwich—and, of course, plenty of mouthwatering pie.

On the fifth floor of new posh hotel the Gwen (formerly the Conrad), Circa Restaurant & Lounge (521 North Rush St., River North, 312-645-1500) nods to Chicago’s storied past via an art-deco aesthetic, a small-plate menu, and a personal bar cart featuring retro cocktails mixed tableside. An adjacent terrace called Upstairs at The Gwen is open through October, with the same menu and bar cart service.

The Budlong (2928 N. Broadway St., Lake View, 312-771-0401) has taken over the recently vacated Bunny, the Micro Bakery space, bringing Nashville hot chicken to Lake View. This is the second planned but first-to-open location from owner Jared Leonard (Rub’s Backcountry Smokehouse), who still aims to launch the Lincoln Square spot “soon,” according to the company website.


Our long drought without Alinea (1723 N. Halsted St., Lincoln Park) has come to an end—Grant Achatz’s showpiece (and recent James Beard Award winner for outstanding restaurant) reopens to the public Friday. Tickets, as they become available, will be on Tock. 

It’s been a rough week for Tony Hu, the owner of the Lao family of restaurants and the so-called “Mayor of Chinatown.” On Friday, he was indicted on felony fraud and money laundering charges, which he pleaded guilty to on Monday. According to the Tribune, Hu could face jail time of up to 51 months when he’s sentenced in August, and he’ll also pay more than a million dollars in restitution to the state of Illinois.


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