Burgers in Bloom

Three weeks ago, we reported on a new, more upmarket second location of Poag Mahone’s planned for 195 North Dearborn Street. Dan Rosenthal, Poag’s owner, tells us a more downmarket Poag is in the works as well. Poagburger, slated for late September, will throw its hat into the Epic Burger/M Burger/Five Guys fast-casual market in a space around the corner on Lake Street. The headliner will be third-pound patties of grass-fed beef, charbroiled to whatever degree of doneness you ask for (a point of distinction from M Burger and Five Guys). The research and development has been intense. “We have already tasted 15 different kinds of salt to go on the fries,” Rosenthal says. Wow. Hope the fries are worth their salt.



“No man is lonely while eating spaghetti.” –Robert Morley (1908-1992), British actor


Naf Naf, Naf Naf Everywhere

The west-suburban Israeli restaurant Naf Naf Grill (1095 E. Ogden Ave., Naperville; 630-904-7200) is relocating, a mere 16 months after opening, to Freedom Commons, on Freedom Road near I-88 in Naperville. David Sloan, an owner/investor in Naf Naf, says the Ogden Avenue spot—in a former Taco Bell space that Naf Naf outgrew—will close when the Freedom Commons one opens, hopefully in August. The new incarnation of the fast-casual pita-hummus-kebab concept then will become what Sloan calls the “prototype” for Naf Nafs replicating virally outward from Freedom Commons. “We want to take it as far as we can,” Sloan says. “Naperville has been good to us, so we are going to start in Naperville, head into Chicago, and go from there.”


Combo Patter

Quotes from a husband and wife who are partners at Basils (4000 Fox Valley Center Dr., Aurora; 630-692-1300), a Greek restaurant that opened in November in the western suburbs:

“Saganaki is $7. I think everyone else’s is $6.50, but we use a higher quality cheese. It’s not greasy. Very delicious. When you bite into it, you want more. You have to taste it. What can I tell you?” –James Pappas

“Our moussaka and pastitsio, it comes in individual casserole dishes. I think we are the only ones who make it like that. That’s from going to [the Greek island] Rhodes and the restaurants that the village people told us to go to.” –Bessie Pappas

Charmingly, both spouses separately emphasized that Basils makes almost everything in-house, and both pointed to the tzatziki as an example. Our taste buds are tingling.


Delhi 6’s Inventory

What you’ll find at Delhi 6 (4229 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-868-4229), a casual Indian restaurant in North Center:

• Only three prices: $6.95, $7.95, and $9.95

• Traditional Indian foods, such as tikka chaat—a potato-carrot-corn-pea patty topped with chickpeas and red onions and accompanied with mint–green chile chutney, tamarind chutney, and yogurt

• Menu items combining Indian spice with western foods, such as whole-grain bread with cumin. “It’s a little less spicy. Not as intimidating as diving into curry, for instance, right away,” says Shalini Katariya, a co-owner.

• A samosawich—a potato patty with corn, peas, and spices, with mint and tamarind chutney between two pieces of bread

• 32 loose-leaf teas

• Seating for about 30, with either counter service or table service

• Bollywood movies with dinner about once a month


On the Blog

Dish now posts several items a week exclusively to chicagomag.com. Here’s the rundown on what’s appeared since last Wednesday’s edition, and one sneak preview:

Tizi Melloul will close May 15th.

Grant Achatz’s new projects are a restaurant called Next and a bar called Aviary.

The Bad Apple started selling what may be the most expensive burger in Chicago.

• Check in with us Friday for an exclusive on the route that Flirty Cupcakes, the mobile cupcake seller, will take on its first day, May 10th.


Things to Do

  1. Bask in the sun at the first outdoor Green City Market of the season, on May 12th in Lincoln Park near North and Clark, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  2. Muscle into Mussel Mondays at Branch 27 (1371 W. Chicago Ave.; 312-850-2700), when $12 buys you a choice of several mussel preparations, fries with interesting dips, and a beer.
  3. Snack at the bar at Ceres’ Table (4882 N. Clark St.; 773-878-4882) Monday through Thursday. Order a drink and get a complimentary small plate: either arancini with fried artichoke and taleggio saffron risotto or Dietzler Farm beef tartare with the usual fixins—except that the egg is a quail egg.


Dot Dot Dot . . .

Lao Sze Chuan (2172 S. Archer Ave.; 312-326-5040) reopened Monday after a fire gutted its kitchen March 29th. . . . If everything goes well with inspections this week, Cumin (1414 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-342-1414) will open by May 15th. . . . Congratulations to Chicago’s James Beard Award winners: the Trib’s Kevin Pang, for The Cheeseburger Show; the Reader’s Cliff Doerkson, for his feature “The Real American Pie”; Alinea, for outstanding service; Koren Grieveson of Avec, best chef—Great Lakes; and Calumet Fisheries, which was previously announced as an America’s Classics winner. . . . Prasino (93 S. La Grange Rd., La Grange; 708-469-7058) plans to open a second location in St. Charles this summer. . . . The Ritz’s new restaurant, Deca Restaurant + Bar (The Ritz-Carlton, 160 E. Pearson St.; 312-573-5160), is open.