Where’s the Beef?

Rumors have swirled lately about a takeout burger window at Tru (676 N. St. Clair St.; 312-202-0001), a restaurant normally associated more with Kobe beef than ground beef. Delightfully bizarre as they were, turns out those rumors weren’t 100 percent . . . true. Rich Melman, who heads Tru’s parent company (Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises), says they’re carving out a piece of Tru’s kitchen and putting up an internal wall to form the kitchen for an entirely separate place with a door on Huron Street: The M Burger. What’s with the name? “Two things: The Michigan Avenue burger, but if you ever ask [Frenchman] Jean Joho [Everest] to say ‘hamburger’ he says ‘emburger,’” Melman says. They’re planning it as a counter-service burger stand with limited indoor seating, outdoor tables, and low prices. Even though he gave away this much, Melman knows how to keep the rumors milling. “There will be a few cute surprises to it,” he told us, and then declined to elaborate.


“California is a fine place to live—if you happen to be an orange.” –Fred Allen, comedian (1894-1956)

Turning Japanese

Ty and Troy Fujimura, brothers and partners in Small Bar, aim for a March opening for a project in West Town: Arami (1829 W. Chicago Ave.). Originally conceived as a Hawaiian eats and noodle shop in homage to the Fujimuras’ grandparents’ store in Haleiwa on Oahu, the venture has evolved into a traditional Japanese restaurant—and by traditional, they mean not Americanized. “Some people say, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve had shrimp tempura and ponzu sauce,’ but probably not stew dishes or pickled dishes,” Ty Fujimura says. Arami’s third partner is B. K. Park, previously of Mirai Sushi, Aria, and Meiji. Mirai, Aria, Arami? We couldn’t come up with three other restaurants that use only four letters of the alphabet if we tried.


Hawaii must be in our dreams. Named after the Hawaiian word for “loveliness” or “a warm place to gather,” Nohea Café (2142 W. Roscoe St.; 773-935-7448) opened December 14th in Roscoe Village. Run by the restaurant-biz veteran Shirley Garcia (The Goddess and Grocer, the now-defunct Roxy Café in Evanston, Amici Ristorante in Niles) and her daughter Michelle Mochoruk, Nohea serves sandwiches, salads, and Metropolis coffee at the counter and sells grocery items such as cheeses, pâtés, sausages, dips, crackers, cookies, and chocolates. Why the name? “We just love Hawaii,” Mochoruk says. Don’t we all?

Tony Award?

Tony Mantuano’s Art Institute dining room, Terzo Piano (159 E. Monroe St.; 312-443-8650), is one of five finalists (and the only one in North America) for Wallpaper magazine’s design award for best new restaurant. The winners will be announced this Thursday in London. We didn’t get the Olympics, Tony, so we hope you bring home this gold for us.

Off the Grid

Don’t bother looking on Google Maps for the second outpost of the Logan Square Chinese spot Friendship Restaurant, officially listed at 200 East Lakefront Drive. You won’t find it. “The address does not exist,” says the owner, Alan Yuen, mysteriously. The problem comes from not being on a street: Friendship on the Lake (312-228-5080) is 40 feet from the lake, east of Lake Shore Drive, just south of the mouth of the river. Yuen says the address was made up by the Chicago Park District, which owns the property, to give him something to put on a license application. Don’t trek out there yet, though—all the seating is outdoors, so in winter it’s strictly catering, takeout, and delivery. The menu is the same as at the Logan Square location, plus sushi.

Bagel on Damen’s Inventory

Things you’ll find at Bagel on Damen (1252 N. Damen Ave.; 773-772-2243), opening next week:

  • Stumptown Coffee Roasters coffee. As Time Out Chicago correctly surmised, BoD will be the Portland-based coffee company’s first Chicago outlet.
  • Benjamin Tea. “A very small producer here in Chicago,” says Dion Antic, a BoD partner. “He is a one-man show. Does it all himself. Great, great products.”
  • Bagels from New York Bagel & Bialy (3556 1/2 Dempster St., Skokie; 847-673-9388). “I love that place. My mother lives down the block,” Antic says.
  • Unique flavored cream cheeses, such as white truffle oil with pine nuts and horseradish Cheddar dill.
  • Regional grocery items, including an olive relish from Froehlich’s in Three Oaks, Michigan.
  • Homemade Bloody Mary mix sold in Mason jars.

Things to Do

  1. Drink a Bloody Mary—made from another homemade mix—for $5 on Sundays at Branch 27 (1371 W. Chicago Ave.; 312-850-2700).
  2. Huddle up with delivery from L. Woods Tap & Pine Lodge (7110 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincolnwood; 847-677-3350); there’s no delivery charge whenever the temperature falls below 15 or it snows three inches or more. (Call 847-326-2000 for delivery.)
  3. Schmooze and learn at an event at C-House (166 E. Superior St.; 312-523-0923) on January 18th. C-House’s chef, Marcus Samuelsson, will circulate during cocktails, preceding a four-course meal with beer pairings chosen by Goose Island’s brewmaster, Greg Hall, who will educate diners on the art of pairing. $65 for the meal, or $85 with an autographed copy of Samuelsson’s book, New American Table.

Dot Dot Dot . . .

Jerry’s (1938 W. Division St.; 773-235-1006) is incorporating the space of its former neighbor Coco Rouge (1940 W. Division St.), adding seating, a stage, and a gigantic TV . . . Oatmeal at Jamba Juice stores that serve food costs only $1 on Wednesdays through February 3rd . . . Dawali Mediterranean Kitchen (4911 N. Kedzie Ave.; 773-267-4200) began full-service dinner about a month ago. . . . R.I.P. Jovan Trboyevic, chef of Le Perroquet and Les Nomades . . . Congrats to Nightwood (2119 S. Halsted St.; 312-526-3385), whose rigatoni with confit of mutton was named one of GQ’s five best dishes of 2009 . . . and to Schwa (1466 N. Ashland Ave.; 773-252-1466), whose caramelized sweetbreads with vanilla bean–parsnip custard was one of the five best desserts.