A new restaurant promises to take diners from Fulton Market to Northern California. Oakville Grill & Cellar, from Lettuce Entertain You, is now open, serving up a huge variety of California wines (including features Chicago wineries that diners may not be familiar with) along with Napa-inspired food from chef Max Robbins (formerly of Longman & Eagle).


Cindy’s, the rooftop restaurant and bar at the Chicago Athletic Association, has always been known for amazing views and solid (if expensive and hugely portioned) food. The food is getting a boost, as the restaurant has brought on chef Kaleena Bliss to revamp the menu. Bliss (who was a champion on Chopped) is introducing a new menu that takes portion sizes down a bit, and features a whole host of super-fresh, locally sourced seasonal dishes, including an tender herb-laden gnocchi, a corn soup with coconut milk and lobster, and an ultra-savory pork collar. The new menu is slowly being phased in; look for dishes to come onto the dinner menu this month.

If you’ve been eating in Chicagoland for a long time, you are probably familiar with Café La Cave. The Des Plaines spot (which opened in 1969) closed earlier this year, but there’s a way to get one more taste of some of its classic dishes. George Trois is running a menu inspired by Café La Cave, complete with chef Michael Lachowicz’s take on classics like steak Diane, Caesar salad, escargot, and more. Reservations are available on Tock.

The James Beard Awards are coming up fast, and the media nominations are out. Some great area food writers got some attention from the Beards, including spirits writer Emma Janzen who got two nominations, one for her new book The Bartender’s Manifesto and one for an article on mezcal for Eater. Monica Eng also got a nomination, for a piece in our own Chicago magazine on former Tribune food critic Paula Camp. Good luck!