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

The Jean Banchet Award nominees are out, and Maple & Ash makes a very quiet debut.

Intro   Photo: Anna Knott

Openings

For such a massive steakhouse, Maple & Ash (8 W. Maple St., Gold Coast, 312-944-8888) managed to open with pretty little fanfare. This may mean you can get a New York strip with oxtail ragout without having to fight through crazy crowds, at least for the time being.

There will never be enough fried chicken in the city, as evidenced by the addition of Memphis–based chain Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken (847 W. Fulton Market, West Loop, 312-733-1971). Its birds are pretty simple—no out-of-left-field batter or frying techniques here, just some spice and crisp skin—and the shop stays open until midnight on weekends.

Morsels

Nominees for this year’s Jean Banchet Awards, which are a Chicago–centric version of the James Beard Awards (which are themselves dubbed the “food world Oscars”), are out, and up for the big Restaurant of the Year award are EL Ideas, Fat Rice, Intro, and Parachute, all four of which are idiosyncratic projects. The Tribune has the full list of nominees here. The awards will be handed out on January 17.

Barley and Brass (2015 W. Division St., Ukrainian Village) has poured its final beer. The spot closed over the weekend, but it won’t sit empty for long—the owners are going to turn it into the second Chicago location of burger and boozy milk shake chain 25 Degrees. They hope for a quick turnaround and a December opening.

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