Open now: Think Simple Foods (770 N. LaSalle St., River North) has opened as a grab-and-go coffee shop and café, with scratch-made pastries and quiches and house-roasted coffees.

Open now: The Skinny Piggy bakery (1214 W. Taylor St., Little Italy, 312-929-2087) closed up shop in August, and it’s finally back open with a streamlined concept—you pick a cupcake, its frosting, and its toppings.

Tuesday, March 18: If you show up at 10 a.m. on opening day at A Baker’s Tale (2127 W. Division St., Wicker Park, 872-206-5581), you can join in a ceremonial cake cutting inside the “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”-themed space.


Because the wait at Fat Rice (2957 W. Diversey Ave., Logan Square, 773-661-9170) isn’t long enough already, Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo have decided to add Sunday brunch to their slate. It’s a Macanese dim sum brunch, with dumplings aplenty as well as a pork chop sandwich and congee.

Another dim sum brunch to note—Koi (624 Davis St., Evanston, 847-866-6969) will be adding one starting Saturday, with close to 60 dumplings, custards, and other treats ranging in price from $3.50 to $5 each. You’ll also be able to get bottomless brunch cocktails for $10.

Less than a year after shifting concepts, Gilbert Langlois closed his restaurant Homegrown Café (4343 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Square) over the weekend. He and his wife had occupied the address for eight years, first as the more upscale Chalkboard and then in Homegrown’s more casual incarnation. No word yet on what’s next for Langlois.

For those who’d prefer to celebrate with a shot of frosting rather than a shot of whiskey, Magnolia Bakery (108 N. State St., Loop, 312-346-7777) has a slew of St. Patrick’s Day pastry specials. That pistachio cheesecake ($7) with a brown-sugar shortbread crust pictured above is one of them, as are mini-sized peppermint icebox cakes ($4) and whoopie pies with mint-green buttercream ($3.50.) They’ll all be on bakery shelves starting Friday.

A temporary shutter: On March 23, Table, Donkey and Stick (2728 W. Armitage Ave., Logan Square, 773-486-8525) will close up shop for some construction to add a 10-seat bar and a two-seat charcuterie station. The plan is for a soft opening on April 3 and a full opening April 30—and the bar will come with a snack-heavy bar menu (think latkes and pickled-egg sandwiches.)