Open now: Brendan Sodikoff takes on barbecue—Green Street Smoked Meats (112 N. Green St., West Loop, 312-754-0434) is up and smokin’ Texas-style BBQ now.

Open now: Taking over the space formerly occupied by Swirl Wine Bar is Celeste (111 W. Hubbard St., River North, 312-828-9000), a seasonally focused contemporary spot open until 4 a.m.

Open now: The Winchester (1001 N. Winchester Ave., Ukrainian Village, 773-698-8703), a neighborhood café from Greg Bastien (Tavernita), is serving breakfast now and will launch brunch on Sunday.

Open now: The Rich Labriola-backed Stan’s Donuts & Coffee (1560 N. Damen Ave., Wicker Park, 773-360-7386) has opened next to the Damen El stop, which is becoming a coffee-and-doughnut nexus—there's this, Glazed and Infused, and the newly opened location of La Colombe.

Open now: Though it officially opens February 18, cocktails and charcuterie are already available (during limited hours) at SideDoor (100 E. Ontario St., River North, 312-787-6768)

Thursday, February 6: A new location of Gino’s East (500 N. LaSalle St., River North, 312-988-4200) with three kitchens and two bars will officially start doling out deep-dish tomorrow.


The head chef of dearly departed Willow Springs fine-dining spot Courtright’s has landed—Jerome Bacle will take over the kitchen at Bistronomic (840 N. Wabash Ave., Gold Coast, 312-944-8400) on March 3. Bacle had been at Courtright’s since August 2008 until it closed at the end of last year.

A new entrant in the dark liquor game: The ever-present Indiana brewery Three Floyds  (9750 Indiana Pkwy., Munster, 219-922-4425) has petitioned to expand their taproom and add a distillery for whiskey and other spirits. The Times of Northwest Indiana reports that if The Region’s craft-brew kings receive the tax abatement they’re requesting, construction on the $7.5 million project could begin this summer.

Wicker Park taco joint Takito Kitchen (2013 W. Division St., Wicker Park, 773-687-9620) is now open for lunch. From Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., they’ll be offering a shortened version of their dinner menu—and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can snap up three tacos, smoked tomato rice, and escabeche salad for $12.

Your last chance to squeeze in a meal at Grass Fed (1721 N. Damen Ave., Bucktown, 773-342-6000) is Sunday. After brunch service ends, the restaurant is closing to remodel and reconcept—no word yet on when it will reopen.

An update on the January 24 fire that shuttered up-and-comer Juno (2638 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Park): We spoke to owner Jason Chan yesterday, who says most of the damage in the restaurant is from smoke, though the pipes have also frozen and the restaurant looks pretty rough from the outside. He says they’re hoping to reopen by April.

The crew at Grace (652 W. Randolph St., West Loop, 312-234-9494) cleaned up at this year’s Jean Banchet Awards, which were given out January 31. Curtis Duffy’s restaurant won in five of the eleven categories, including Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year. Fat Rice took home the prize for Best New Resturant, and Thai Dang of Embeya was named Rising Chef. See all the winners here.

Hop aboard the gravy train that is Poutine Fest 2014: Tickets for the second-annual celebration of Canada’s favorite drunk-person snack go on sale Friday, and they’ll likely sell out quickly. Entry to the fest on February 23 is $70.

Michael Tsonton, the veteran of Copperblue, Tizi Melloul, and SugarToad who’d been serving as consulting chef at Puebla (51 S. First St., St. Charles, 630-945-3408) since it opened in October, will start as head chef at classics-heavy Market House (655 Forest Ave., Lake Forest, 847-234-8800) and its sister restaurant MH Fish House (670 Bank Lane, Lake Forest, 847-234-8802) on February 17.