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After Seven Years, La Sirena Clandestina Shutters

Plus, other morsels of local dining news

Photo: Courtesy of Chicago Tribune

No big new openings this week, but a renaming might finally put a spot on your radar — the former City Hall (yes, someone decided to name a restaurant something no one could Google) is now called Recess. When it opens next year, in time for better weather, the West Loop bar–restaurant will boast the largest patio in the neighborhood. For now, the bar specializes in the sort of drinks that scream “this is going to hurt in the morning,” as well as lots and lots of TVs.

A sad closing, but one that I unfortunately saw coming. About four years ago, Chef John Manion told me that he’d gotten so frustrated with insane real estate pricing in West Loop that he would never renew the lease at his beloved La Sirena Clandestina. Well, that gripe has now become restaurant reality: La Sirena is closing at the end of the year. This is yet another blow to smaller, independent restaurants in the West Loop; within a few years, everything there will be expensive and/or owned by a large restaurant group.

If you’re a Logan Square resident, you might want to hold off on going to The Whale — or at least that’s what Nick Kindelsperger says in a stinging review for the Tribune. He compares the restaurant to fake gems, a clip-on tie, and a beat-up car, and that’s before he starts to talk about the food.

Last week, I wrote about Founders Brewing’s recent legal and business disaster, after one of the owners refused to admit, in a deposition in a racial discrimination case, that their former employee (or Barack Obama, or Michael Jordan) is black. This led to boycotts and widespread mockery. Clearly, one of the lawyers for Founders Brewing realized the mess they were in, because the case has settled within days of hitting the news. 

It’s the 10th anniversary of DMK Burger Bar (which I still think has one of the better “fancy” burgers in Chicago) and to celebrate, the restaurant is rolling back the clock to their opening day. For all of November, prices on all burgers will be $8 (what burgers cost back in 2009) and they’ll bring back beloved original menu items. They’re also planting a tree via the Canopy Project for every burger sold during the month.

Lovers of Greek food, listen up — Kouzina, the annual culinary gala to benefit the National Hellenic Museum, is Thursday, November 7. Tickets for the event are $100 (if purchased in advance) and a variety of local chefs will be creating dishes that either showcase Greek cuisine or show the influence of Greek cuisine and ingredients on other cultures. Buy tickets online.

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