Sable on the Table

Heather Terhune, who has run the kitchen at Atwood Cafe (Hotel Burnham, 1 W. Washington St.; 312-368-1900) for ten years, plans to leave her post at year’s end to helm the upcoming Sable Kitchen & Bar, a 158-seat “gastro lounge” adjacent to the Hotel Palomar Chicago (505 N. State St.). (Both the Burnham and the Palomar are managed by the Kimpton Group; a Kimpton employee will step up to replace Terhune at Atwood.) “They’ve told me Sable will be more of a 1940s throwback,” says Terhune, who started as a pastry chef at 312 Chicago. “I’m going to do fun and innovative food using local farmers. I’m making my own pretzels, making my own sausage and mustard—things I wasn’t able to do at Atwood due to space constraints.” Expect her open kitchen to turn out shareable bar snacks, normal-sized entrées, vegetarian/vegan options, and whimsical desserts (butterscotch pot de crème, a milkshake and cookies).


“I am into humane methods of capture. And I try to be quick, mostly because when you drag out a kill, that final fear-flush of adrenaline gives meat a tartness I don’t care for.” –Robert Buscemi (b. 1969), American comedian, occasional contributor to Chicago magazine

Trial and Error in Albany Park

“My sister and I came across this space,” says Jack Stankovic, the chef-partner at Theatre Cafe (2958 W. Irving Park Rd.; 773-866-2233). “The original guy that was supposed to open it didn’t. Eighty-five percent was done, so we added a few coats of paint and slight decorations and opened up.” The 55-seat spot is neither a theatre nor a café but rather a comfort-food restaurant (think steaks and pasta) with Euro details. “Everything is made in-house, from scratch,” says Stankovic, formerly of Vintage Wine Bar and Farmerie 58. (His sister and silent partner, Jasmina Sakic, has no restaurant experience.) “From our aïolis to meats that we smoke and cure ourselves. Pickled cucumbers and squash. Every week we try to put something different on the menu, just to see what the neighborhood likes, until we find a good fit.”

Promises, Promises

Kendal Duque, former superstud chef at Sepia, swears that “consulting chef” means he will be working the line at Paolo Acuña’s Cuna (1113 W. Belmont Ave.; 312-224-8588) every day when it opens in January. “The restaurant wasn’t my conception, but I am taking on a bigger role than just coming up with a menu. I hire and run the kitchen as I see fit, and I’m creating food and cooking it on a daily basis.” As for the personal project he’s been talking about for almost a year, Duque insists it’s still happening. “It’s taken a few months to work out all the angles,” he says. “Financing, meeting people I need to meet, talking to the alderman in the area that I am looking at, trying to finalize a particular space. But I am open to going to other areas in Chicago at the moment.”

A Jab in the Ribs

Big Ed’s BBQ (2501 Martin Luther King Dr., North Chicago; 847-578-1901), a year-and-a-half-old joint on the far North Shore, has become a favorite of various Chicago Bears. “A lot of them are my clients,” says Eddie Nero, the South Side native who owns the 25-seat spot with his wife, Kim Nero, and their business partner, Rhonda Gage.Devin Hester, Jason McKie, Anthony Adams. And the coaches order from us all the time when they have their meetings.” The Neros make everything from scratch—their sauce, sides, and desserts—and smoke their pork shoulder and brisket at least 15 hours in an aquarium-style smoker. “We don’t serve fall-off-the-bone ribs here,” says Nero. “If the meat falls off the bone, they’ve been overcooked. Ours have got some fight to them.” Wish we could say the same for the Bears.

Things to Do

  1. Donate a toy to Toys For Tots at the Wow Bao in the Loop (175 W. Jackson Blvd.; 312-334-6395) any time before December 18th and get a free lunch. Or do the same at Eivissa (1531 N. Wells St.; 312-654-9500) before December 31st and get a free coca, a rustic Spanish flatbread.
  2. Drink at Gaylord Fine Indian Cuisine (100 E. Walton Ave.; 312-664-1700) any night between 5 and 7 p.m. and get free Indian appetizers.
  3. If you’re a sucker for poultrycentric places like Chicken Hut, you might look into Chicken Works & Salad Company (3658 W. Irving Park Rd.; 773-588-5488), a four-month-old spot in Old Irving Park. “Our chicken is flame broiled on a real grill and designed to sell really fast,” says Wojpek Czerwosz, a partner at the 14-table joint. “There is no line.”

Dot Dot Dot . . .

Stephanie Izard (Scylla, Top Chef) has changed the name of her upcoming restaurant at 809 West Randolph Street from Drunken Goat to the even saucier Girl & The Goat. Expect a spring opening. . . . Balsan (312-646-1400) and Ria (312-880-4400), the two long-awaited restaurants in the new Elysian Hotel (11 E. Walton Ave.; 312-646-1300), open on December 9th. . . . After 42 years of slinging burgers and dogs in the same location, Stash’s (610 Central Ave., Highland Park; 847-432-6550) will move down the street to a larger space (1825 Second St.). The new spot will open at the end of December with the usual stuff, plus a wood-fired oven and Neapolitan-style pizzas. . . . Edith’s Place (1064 Mt. Prospect Plaza, Mt. Prospect; 847-222-9203), a friendly Filipino spot, opened recently with live music, dancing, and big buffets on weekends.