Big news over at Branch 27 (1371 W. Chicago Ave.; 312-850-2700), the West Town American bistro that opened this past April: Chef Bob Zrenner is leaving on November 19th and will be replaced by John Manion, lately of Goose Island Brewpub. “They want me to take it in a more neighborhood-contemporary direction,” says Manion, who made his name at the South American standout, Mas, in the nineties. “Put it this way: I’m not looking at their old menu. I submitted something to them and they liked it. But the food always comes together organically. You can sit in a coffee shop and write a menu in two hours, but when you get into the kitchen, it all changes.” So, going forward: 1) Zrenner is taking a restaurant consulting position elsewhere “to help out a friend;” 2) Manion will remain at Goose Island through Thanksgiving; 3) Goose’s owner, John Hall, says he has two internal candidates in mind to fill Manion’s position and keep his menu alive; and 4) Branch 27 will close November 22nd for a quickie remodel and reopen on December 3rd with lower prices and what its owner, Cary Michael, calls “a layer of freshness.” Got all that?
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