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Merchant Restaurant Opens in Logan Square

Plus: A rare zero-star review and choice ice cream picks

Merchant   Courtesy of C|Louise PR

Openings

Merchant (3137 W. Logan Blvd.) is now open in Logan Square, replacing the old Dunlays on the Square. With a menu created by Matt Skolarus (Girl & the Goat, Ruxbin), the restaurant will offer a mix of dishes inspired by flavors from across the world, including Mexico, Italy, and Japan.

Chef Aaron Lirette of the sadly shuttered GreenRiver is back. Free Rein (230 N. Michigan Ave., Loop), his new restaurant inside the redeveloped St. Jane Hotel, opened last week and calls itself a “contemporary American brasserie”—which I hope just means that Lirette can cook whatever the heck he wants.

Morsels

If you haven’t read Jeff Ruby’s review of Radio Anago (226 W. Kinzie, River North) in this magazine, you should. It’s a great example of the art of sharp criticism, filled with lines such as, “the salty, briny zap of uni didn’t wipe my palate clean so much as galvanize it for the indignities to come.” Ruby gives a rare zero-star review to a Brendan Sodikoff spot, not entirely because it’s awful but because diners have come to expect so much more from the chef/owner behind places like Maude’s Liquor Bar, Bavette’s, and Doughnut Vault.

Not much is left of the West Loop of 2010, and another spot is about to drop off the map. Jaipur (847 W. Randolph St.), the venerable Indian spot that’s been open for a decade, is closing on July 22.

A great event is coming up next week from The Trotter Project, especially if you’re a fan of Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix. You can catch a special screening of the show right on the Willis Tower Skydeck and attend a Q&A with Phil Rosenthal, with food prepared by Trotter-alum Debbie Gold (Tied House). Tickets are $99.

The Trib is doing a deep dive into frozen treats. For the duration of July, its gourmands are sharing their picks of ice creams, popsicles, and shakes. A new recommendation is posted daily, so you should probably bookmark the page and get your high-calorie inspiration.

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