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

So many restaurants opened!

Lamb rôti at Avec   Photo: Sandy Noto


Giant (3209 W. Armitage Ave., Logan Square, 773-252-0997), the highly anticipated (and physically pint-sized) spot from Nightwood’s Jason Vincent, has begun serving seasonal Midwestern shared plates and pouring boutique wines and craft cocktails in the city’s hottest ’hood.

Mediterranean with a lighter, California influence, is the name of the game at Ema (74 W. Illinois St., River North, 312-527-5586), the newest Lettuce Entertain You spot that’s helmed by C.J. Jacobson. Ema shares its kitchen with Rotisserie Ema, an adjacent carryout eatery with Greek salads, rotisserie chicken, and house-made frozen yogurt.

Logan Square’s beloved Macanese restaurant, Fat Rice (2957 W. Diversey Pkwy.,773-661-9170), debuted its long-awaited Asian-inspired pastry shop, the Bakery (2951 W. Diversey Pwky., 773-661-9544), next door, which morphs into Pestico by night, a stand-up bar with Iberian-inspired small plates. Fat Rice got its own facelift, too—as the waiting room has been transformed into a tiny craft cocktail lounge called the Ladies’ Room.

Steadfast (120 W. Monroe St., Loop, 312-801-8899), the seventh concept from the Fifty/50 group is now open in the Kimpton Gray Hotel. Expect super-seasonal, Mediterranean- and Portuguese-influenced fare from executive chef Chris Davies (Homestead) and inventive desserts from executive pastry chef Chris Teixeira.

Art Smith opened Blue Door Kitchen (52 W. Elm St., Gold Coast, 312-573-4000), a farm-to-table, shared-plates restaurant, in his former Table Fifty-Two space. Don’t fret: The fried chicken remains—now made from free-range birds.

Iconic Brooklyn, N.Y. pizza chain Paulie Gee’s (2451 N. Milwaukee Ave., no phone yet) has brought its creatively topped, Neapolitan-style pies to Logan Square.

Building on four successful years in Wicker Park, Antique Taco opened a second location in Bridgeport (1000 W. 35th St., 773-823-9410), offering menu favorites like pork carnitas, plus a few new tacos and a massive outdoor patio.

Beloved Bridgeport royal pie shop Pleasant House Bakery, which closed in May, has reopened in the former Nightwood space with a new name and menu. Pleasant House Pub (2119 S. Halsted St., Pilsen, 773-523-7437) is initially serving dinner, brunch, sandwiches, as well as beer from Whiner Beer Co., an up-and-coming brewery from Brian Taylor (Goose Island Brewing Co.).

Get out those bibs: Popular BYOB seafood-by-the-pound joint the Angry Crab opened its second outpost in Wicker Park (1308 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-687-9929).


Pour one out for Analogue (2523 N. Milwaukee Ave., Logan Square), the buzzed-about cocktail bar and Cajun eatery that, as of this week, is closed. A few months back, founders Robbie Haynes and Henry Prendergast departed the spot, and chef Alfredo Nogueira quickly followed. We already miss their biscuits.

If you’ve got a big lamb craving, Avec (615 W. Randolph St., West Loop, 312-377-2002) can hook you up. They’ve added a large-format lamb rôti feast to their menu, with a whole roasted shoulder with pitas, seasonal meze, and sauces for $250. There’s enough to feed up to six people, but you’ll need to plan ahead–there’s only one available each day, and the restaurant requires 24 hours of advance notice to prep it.


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