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

Two more places to get your chicken cravings met and a fancy new brunch to add to your weekend itinerary.

Crespelle at Balena   Photo: Eric Kleinberg

Openings

Cafe Press and Sociale (800 S. Clark St., South Loop) are two different concepts from the people who brought you Sono Wood Fired and Burger Bar in Lincoln Park—one’s an all-day hang with Sparrow coffee and gourmet lunch options; the other is a Eurocentric spot focused on shareable options cooked over a wood-fired grill.

For a brief time, if you wanted one of the massive sandwiches from Cemitas Puebla, your only option was to hit up their West Loop outlet—the Humboldt Park original shuttered earlier this year. But now they’re back near the neighborhood with a one-year pop-up (3129 W. Armitage Ave., Logan Sqaure) while owner Tony Anteliz preps a more permanent location in HP.

Another week, another Nando’s outlet, this one in the very new New City development (1500 N. Clybourn Ave., Lincoln Park). Still the same fire-grilled chicken and overwhelming hype.

Get your fried chicken on at the second location of the Roost Carolina Kitchen (455 N. Milwaukee Ave., River West), which Chicago critic Jeff Ruby says makes the best birds in the city.

Morsels

It seems like every other week there’s a new brunch service in town, but we’re really excited about this one—Balena (1633 N. Halsted St., Lincoln Park) is jumping into the Sunday daytime dining game, and their menu looks intriguing, with scrambled-egg bruschetta, pole bean eggs Benedict, and burrata on toast.

Dish has been off a while, so there’s a lot to catch up on with restaurant closings: The return of embattled bake shop Crumbs in Water Tower Place (835 N. Michigan Ave., Gold Coast) has come to an end, and there are plans for a second location of new-to-Chicago gelato chain Amorino to take its place; cheesy fondue chain the Melting Pot (609 N. Dearborn St., River North) has departed the city after more than ten years (you can still visit a handful of suburban locations if you miss it too much); nightlife staple Rodan (1530 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wicker Park) is done; and Sola (3868 N. Lincoln Ave., North Center) will take its final bow on Sunday before being taken over by new owners.

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