Barrio (65 W. Kinzie St., River North), the latest project from the DineAmic group (Siena Tavern, Bar Siena), has Mexxed up the River North dining scene in a big (6,000-square-foot) way. Top Chef and Chopped alum Katsuji Tanabe is in the kitchen, and while DineAmic dubs Barrio a Mexican restaurant, offerings run the gamut from robata-grilled skewers to tacos.

The six-month-old café Slightly Toasted (which specializes in the mish-mash of coffee, toast, whiskey, and beer) has a new sibling named, aptly, Little Toasted (300 S. Riverside Plz., Loop). Similar to Slightly, Little (which is actually the larger of the two) serves house-made pastries and gourmet toasts by day and morphs into fine-dining mode come nightfall.


The dining world is fickle and cruel, and it takes beloved spots away too soon. Last week we learned of Vera’s forthcoming shutter. Now, it’s Americano 2211 (2211 W. North Ave., Wicker Park) that’s ending its run, after about a year and a half of slinging shakshuka and chocolate-chip cookies.