Breakfast for Two at Sixteen
For the first 15 minutes or so, it was just the two of us, which meant that we were the most fascinating people in the room. The staff kind of hovered. Even though construction of the 92-floor building won’t be finished until summer of 2009, things looked pretty swanky from where we were sitting. Which just happened to be in the River Room, in cerulean blue chairs next to one of the 30-foot-high windows, with a very nice view of the Wrigley Building’s clock tower. It’s a striking space, full of beautiful swirly-grained African wood.

As soon as we sat down, our waiter asked if we wanted freshly squeezed orange juice. Sure. Skinny shooter glasses filled with yummy berry juice came as...

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Poetry in Motion
Steve Schwartz, the owner of Campagnola (815 Chicago Ave., Evanston; 847-475-6100), is almost set to open Wild Geese (1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston), an eclectic restaurant with a huge bar. . “We had a guy come from Vermont who built the wood-burning oven,” Schwartz says. “It’s absolutely beautiful.” Pizzas and small plates will be on the menu, but Schwartz is reluctant to pigeonhole the restaurant, which shares a common performance/party space with a neighboring recording studio. And Wild Geese may sound like a random name for a pizzeria, but it comes from a poem of the same name by Mary Oliver: “Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting . . . ”

Out Lao’d
They say you should never open a restaurant in January, and Tony Hu didn’t. He opened two...

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After working with Grant Achatz at Trio and Alinea, chef John Peters plans to carve his own niche at Powerhouse. Read more

Way to Go, Grant
Dish adds its best wishes to the growing chorus of food critics and journalists sounding the happy news that, following numerous rounds of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation protocols, the life-threatening cancer faced by Grant Achatz (Alinea, 1723 N. Halsted St.; 312-867-0110) is in remission.

Eat the Macarena
According to John Borras, chef/owner of the three-month-old Macarena Tapas (618 S. Route 59, Naperville; 630-420-8995), Ferran Adrià, father of the techno-chef revolution, accepts exactly 48 participants from the more than 300,000 applications he receives for his annual culinary seminar in Barcelona. Borras was one of...

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Greece Is the Word
Have a taste for revani? Loukoumades? Psaronefri? “You’ve never had Greek food like this, very individualized items,” says Toni Di Meola about the food at her two-week-old Mythos (2030-32 W. Montrose Ave.; 773-334-2000). She and Vicky Zervas—her sister and partner—were born and raised in Athens and they hand-squeeze every lemon and use herbs carried back from Greece by their mother. But the sisters are most proud of the deep fryer that they have never used. “It came with the property, but we pan fry or sauté everything in extra virgin olive oil,” says Di Meola. “We don’t want the smell of the grease.”

BTW: Revani is a semolina flour cake made with 16 eggs; loukoumades are puff balls sprinkled with cinnamon and drizzled with honey; and psaronefri is charcoal-broiled pork tenderloin served with...

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Hot off the Grill
“We just wanted to bring Korean food to Old Town, or downtown, because everything else is located up north,” says Okcha McDonald, a partner at three-week-old Red Top Grill (1507 N. Sedgwick St.; 312-981-1775). RTG is in the old Heat space and the former sushi bar is now decked with built-in gas grills for Korean barbecue. All the classics are on hand—bibim bap, bulgogi, galbi, chap chae—and plenty of kimchi. McDonald admits that parking around there is terrible but they are working on valet service and, for now, the place is BYO with no corkage. Not a bad tradeoff for stowing the car a few blocks away. 

One Down, Two to Go
As reported here last week, Meritage (2118 N. Damen Ave.; 773-235-6434) will close on January 1st. But even before the owner, Chris Peckat, turns the key for the last time, he plans to launch his next venture, Risqué Café (3419 N. Clark St.), an American smokehouse. While Drew Neimeyer (Peckat’s Meritage chef) bones up on ribs, duck wings, turkey legs, and pulled pork, Peckat keeps busy with the selection of 200 to 300 American craft beers to go with the ’cue. But that’s not all...

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Cyber Soup
Marcello Cancelli has managed dining rooms and wine lists at places such as Carlos’, North Pond Cafe, and Michael. Now, after years of running OPRs (Other People’s Restaurants), he’s ready to take a chance on his own. Sopa (752 Sheridan Rd., Highwood; 847-433-3434), Cancelli’s place for Mediterranean-influenced comfort food, will swing into action on December 4th. As for the name, “Sopa is Spanish or Portuguese for ‘soup,’” says Cancelli. So will there be soup on the menu? “Yes. One soup will actually be inspired by the customers. When someone tells us their favorite foods, we want to help people reminisce. We will try to get people participating in our e-mail list.” We think this means that if you e-mail Sopa about your favorite soup, some version of it could...

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