Friday, December 5: The team behind Union Sushi + Barbecue Bar will be ready to start slinging whiskey shots and gastropubby bites for lunch and dinner on Friday at their new spot, the Franklin Room (675 N. Franklin St., River North, 312-445-4686).


The food and drink death toll continues to rise in Wicker Park, as Moonshine (1824 W. Division St.) shuttered before Thanksgiving week per Eater and Red Hen Bread (1623 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-342-6823) announced plans to close up shop and focus their efforts on their Oak Park outlet instead, according to DNAInfo. Is nothing sacred any more?

For the first several months of 2015, things will be loosening up a bit at Next (953 W. Fulton Market, West Loop, 312-226-0858). The everchanging restaurant’s first concept, which runs from January through May, will be “Bistro,” and the more casual French menu will be priced between $80-$120. Following that will be “Tapas,” made up of a few dozen small courses at $70-$110. And lest you think Next could be affordable enough to be a regular indulgence, they’ll round out the year with a wine-heavy “Terroir” menu, with fifteen courses (including drink pairings) starting at $295. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Saturday.

It’s so hard to say goodbye to Takashi (1952 N. Damen Ave., Bucktown, 773-772-6170), so if you want to put off doing so until the last minute, you can now make reservations for the Michelin-starred spot’s final night of service on New Year’s Eve. They’ll have two options: a seven-course menu at 5:30 p.m. for $100 or nine courses at 7 p.m. for $120. (Note that both exclude tax, gratuity, and wine pairings, and the restaurant also wants you to pay up front.) Call the restaurant to make a reservation.