Opening Soon on Broadway: Pasteur

The players:
Kim Nguyen, a restaurateur
Dan Nguyen, Kim’s husband
Tuan Nguyen, Dan’s brother
Rashed Islam, an employee

The synopsis:
The well-regarded Vietnamese restaurant Pasteur (5525 N. Broadway; no phone yet) is reopening after a three-year hiatus.

Act I: The Past
The original Pasteur, owned by Kim, Dan, and Tuan, operates for 22 years at three locations. Dan runs the kitchen. It closes in 2007. Tuan opens Simply It (2269 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-248-0884). Dan and Kim open Viet Bistro & Lounge (1144 W. Devon Ave.), where Rashed works for Dan. Viet Bistro is bought by B & B Group (which owns Beef & Brandy at 127 South State Street) and closes mid-May 2010. B & B plans to use the space for a restaurant with American bistro–type food.

Act II: The Future
Kim plans to reopen Pasteur at 5525 North Broadway after renovations, hopefully near the end of the year. On Mondays beginning June 14th, when Simply It is normally closed, Dan and Rashed take over Simply It for “Monday Nights at Viet Bistro,” where they’ll be experimenting with Vietnamese preparations of local foods. The dinners will be BYO, and Rashed will gladly discuss what wine or other libations to bring if you call him at 773-350-4889.

Discussion questions:
• Who will be the chef at Pasteur?
• Will Kim succeed in opening a spa next to Pasteur?
• Will Dan and Rashed transition Viet Bistro into a catering business?



“Be content to remember that those who can make omelets properly can do nothing else.” –Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953), British writer


Revolutionary Dining

As the Dining Diva noted, the Mexican restaurant Zapatista, currently in Northbrook and the South Loop, is planning a third location to open by the end of summer at 444 West Fullerton Parkway, in the former Emilio’s space. David Yanda, a partner in Zapatista (as well as Fox & Obel and Flo & Santos), says three is only the beginning. “We also have a location that we are going to start construction on in Naperville at Freedom Drive and Diehl Road,” he says, adding that the ETA is the end of the year. After that, they’re hoping to increase the number of Zapatistas in the coming years. In retrospect, the name of the restaurant ought to have been an indication that it was the beginning of a movement.


He Said It

“The problem with pizza is that you can’t charge enough for it. [That is,] I can’t in good conscience charge enough for it.” –Theo Gilbert, the chef-owner of Terragusto, the local-ingredients, Italian-style restaurant whose third location (706 Vernon Ave., Glencoe; no phone yet) is now scheduled to open in late August or early September.


Need to Know

In the space of a year, Necessity Baking Co. has expanded from farmers’ markets to the Chicago French Market to a storefront (1766 2nd St., Highland Park; 847-433-9010). The owner, Ellen Carney Granda, told us the whole story, which we condensed and edited:

When I was 36, my father came into my house and said that I never had any fresh food in my refrigerator. He said, ‘Could you just please buy some Lean Cuisines and put them in your freezer?’ The best thing I could do then was crack open a bottle of tomato sauce. I couldn’t get the skin off a clove of garlic. I was so embarrassed that I taped every single food show and put myself through culinary school by watching. I’ll be 43 this summer.

The first loaf I ever sold at a farmers’ market was on June 10th last year, at the Ravinia farmers’ market in Highland Park. I was so pathetic that I had never used a mixer that was larger than my KitchenAid. My first large-scale batch came out ooey-gooey. It wouldn’t hold its structure, and I couldn’t form it into the shape of a loaf.

In the middle of the night—mother of invention—I saw cupcake tins, and I’m, like, OK, either I go the market with some bread or no bread at all. So I took the dough and placed it in the cupcake tins and made what I gave the name of Unrulies. That way I had these little tasting samplings, and I sold them for 75 cents.

We opened in Highland Park on May 1st. We make Euro-style boules like Plum Crazy, which is prunes and chocolate chips with an olive oil glaze and a sea salt sprinkle. And Faux-caccia, a hybrid between focaccia and ciabatta. We make a Lemon Rose, with candied lemon, fresh rosemary, and balsamic vinegar reduction. We make our own croissants and pain au chocolat. And people say we have the very best chocolate chip cookie they ever had.

[By the way, Pollack tried the cookie and says it’s pretty damned good.]


Recent Openings

Gaztro-Wagon (5973 N. Clark St.; 773-942-6152), the storefront location for an upcoming food truck, on June 9th
Epic Burger (1000 W. North Ave.; 312-440-9700), in its second location, on June 7th
Shallots Bistro (7016 Carpenter Rd., Skokie; 847-677-3463), kosher, in its new permanent home, on June 1st
Milano’s Ristorante Italiano & Banquets (40 W. 188 Campton Crossing, Campton; 630-443-9300), on June 8th
Rita’s American Roadhouse (1211 Butterfield Rd., Downers Grove; 630-515-1177), food and entertainment supercenter, on June 4th


Things to Do

1. Reserve a seat for a dinner at North Pond (2610 N. Cannon Dr.; 773-477-5845), hosted by the rising star Josh Adams, the executive chef at June in downstate Peoria Heights. It’s $95 for six courses, on June 16th.

2. Learn about foie gras at Cyrano’s Bistrot & Wine Bar (546 N. Wells St.; 312-467-0546), where a foie gras museum opens this Friday.

3. Go to Nana (3267 S. Halsted St.; 312-929-2486) for its new dinner before everyone finds out about it. Pollack went nuts for the sunny-side-up duck egg with chicharrón, arugula, whiskey sponge cake, and preserved lemon and then polished off a juicy grilled skirt steak topped with crispy salsify fries.


Dot Dot Dot . . .

Graham Elliot (217 W. Huron St.; 312-624-9975) plans to launch a 20-course $165 tasting menu next week. The restaurant is also introducing new attire for kitchen staff (chef coats) and servers (country-western shirts), a new wine list from a new beverage director (Michael Simon), a new communal table, new seasonal lighting and interior colors, a new patio, and a new hold message on the reservation line. . . . Confirming suspicions, the Facebook page for Next Restaurant, the upcoming Grant Achatz project, announced Friday that Next and Aviary, Next’s sister bar, will be located at 953 and 955 West Fulton Market.