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Balena Returns for a November Pop-up

The beloved Lincoln Park restaurant lives to see another month. That and other morsels of local dining news.

Photo: Jeff Kauck

If you were a fan of Balena, you have one more chance to say goodbye. After a fire back in 2017, the owners talked occasionally about reopening the restaurant, but there wasn’t any visible progress. Now it’s final: Balena won’t be coming back. But for most of November, Dutch & Docs (which is also part of Boka Group) will be transforming into a Balena homage. So if you miss your favorite dishes, like the decadent crab, chile, and uni-topped tagliolini nero, meatballs with tomato fondue, and roasted mushroom and ricotta bruschetta, make reservations now.

A lot of restaurants try to “dress up” for Halloween, but this is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Saint Lou’s Assembly is turning into… Olive Garden. From October 30 to November 1, the restaurant will totally transform, from the décor to the menu. Expect lots of Italian kitsch, fried ravioli, trashy salads, endless breadsticks, and more.

Nearly a restaurant tragedy: Gene and Georgetti caught fire last weekend! A grease fire ended up shooting through the roof, but the restaurant put out a statement saying that there was no “grave damage” to the iconic steakhouse and that they would be reopening. No word yet on the timing.

There’s some new food at the United Center! Big Star is out, and Stephanie Izard’s new taco concept, This Little Goat, is in. There are also going to be desserts from Mindy Segal, as well as a new concept from Charlie McKenna of Lillie’s Q. Eater has the full details.

There’s drama at Restoration Hardware — or at least at the 3 Arts Club Café in Restoration Hardware. Brendan Sodikoff (Au Cheval, Green Street Smoked Meats) was the lead on that in-store restaurant, but when he attempted to quit he was fired without receiving his full backpay. At least, that’s what he alleges in a lawsuit against the company. Crain’s has the full complaint and more details.

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