Sue Kim-Drohomyrecky and Peter Drohomyrecky, who own Custom House Tavern in the South Loop, announced their plans to open two restaurants in the Lakeshore East area, at 333 East Randolph Street. Their Custom House chef, Perry Hendrix, will be on board for both projects. The target for the openings is the end of 2011.
1. A modern interpretation of a French brasserie, probably called Maison. The "light" interpretation will be inspired by bona fide brasseries in France. “Perry does not want to reinvent the wheel. He just wants the wheel to taste good,” Sue says. As an example, she says, Hendrix makes an onion soup with chicken stock instead of beef or veal, thereby making it lighter. The brasserie will also have a charcuterie and raw bar, as well as keg wines (exactly what they sound like), which keep prices down and might allow for a carafe option.
2. A diner. Following on the heels of diner plans from Stephanie Izard and Brendan Sodikoff, the Drohomyreckys’ diner, Eggy’s (named after a childhood friend of the developer, not eggs), will be downstairs from the brasserie. “We are going to resurrect a late-sixties diner with modern touches,” Sue says. The menu will cover classic diner foods, such as meat loaf, club sandwiches, and fried chicken, made lighter when possible. Also expect to see egg creams, phosphates, and blue-plate specials.
“I went to a restaurant that serves ‘breakfast at any time.’ So I ordered French toast during the Renaissance.” —Steven Wright (1955–), American comedian, actor, and writer
Black Is Beautiful
To the menagerie that already includes Blackbird, Black Dog Gelato, Black Duck, Bar Bar Black Sheep, and the upcoming The Black Sheep, the northwest suburbs add Black Cow Tap & Grill (912 Busse Rd., Mount Prospect; no phone yet), in the former Artemis space. Mary Venezia and Jimmy Panagakis, partners in Black Cow, are shooting for a June opening. The pair also own Johnny’s Kitchen and Tap in Glenview, and Panagakis co-owns La Tasca in Arlington Heights and two locations of Jimmy’s Charhouse. The 250-seat Black Cow will offer wood-roasted chicken, rotisserie pork, charbroiled steaks and chops, and fresh fish, as well as homemade desserts, such as tiramisù, flan, rice pudding, apple pie, and—of course—a black cow. Venetzia says Black Cow will feature the other restaurants’ beloved mashed potatoes. “[They are beloved] because we stuck to a very basic recipe,” she says. “We never went and put potato skins in there or artichokes or anything.” In other news, Pollack is having artichoke mashed potatoes at home for dinner tonight, because that sounds awesome.
He Said It
“If you bake doughnuts, they can be really dry unless you find a way to keep the moisture and flavor in, so we spent the better part of the year testing recipes and different ingredients, different settings in the oven, different types of doughnuts, and everything came together recently.” —Jeff Steinberg, on the 11 months of planning for Dirty Betty’s (2475 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-348-0300), the doughnut shop that will occupy the Cookie Bar space on weekday mornings and share it on Saturdays.
Ready, Willing, and Ebel
Many people’s only association with the word “roundhouse” is Chuck Norris. In fact, a roundhouse was a building for locomotive repair, named for a kind of gigantic lazy Susan in the middle. Aurora has a former roundhouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which roundly houses America’s Historic Roundhouse, which was just acquired by Two Brothers Brewing Company, which will rename it Two Brothers Roundhouse (205 N. Broadway, Aurora; 630-393-2337). A few signature items will travel from Two Brothers Tap House, the restaurant attached to the brewery in Warrenville, but the bulk of Roundhouse’s menu will feature locally sourced fare that’s more elevated than the pub food at Tap House. “Everything else will be gastropub stuff, so we can get into pork and steak and more exotic stuff, a step above what we are doing now,” says Jason Ebel, who owns Two Brothers with his brother, Jim. The 70,000-square-foot venue has 260 seats and a banquet hall. The whole project sounds like quite a kick.
Although it’s still in the early stages of development, Reservoir (844 W. Montrose Ave.; no phone yet) is coming to the Uptown–Buena Park area in six to nine months. Small-plate American food in an upscale setting will fill a neighborhood void, say the owners, Sam Banks and Aris Sulejmani, who also own the bar Hops & Barley in Portage Park. “There are only a few other restaurants in the area,” Banks says. “Bar on Buena. Fat Cat at Broadway and Lawrence.” The 60-seat project still needs a chef and a liquor license, so we’re all waiting to see if it holds water.
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Things to Do
1. Watch the airing of the Big O’s final show on May 25 at Jack’s Bar & Grill (2856 N. Southport Ave.; 773-404-8400), where they’re serving a $12 brunch buffet and some of Oprah’s favorite things (sweet potato pie and pomegranate martinis) from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
2. Sip the wines of Italy at Trattoria No. 10 (10 N. Dearborn St.; 312-984-1718) from 6 to 6:30 p.m. on Mondays through the end of May, when $10 buys four tastes of Italian wines, and select bottles are available at wholesale prices.
3. Kick off grilling season at Better Homes and Gardens Magazine’s and Weber’s Chill and Grill Festival on Saturday (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday (12 noon to 5 p.m.) in Lincoln Park (West La Salle Drive at North Stockton Drive). Purchase samples from local restaurants like Belly Shack and Hearty, and learn the ways of the grill with hands-on seminars led by chefs like Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat) and Gale Gand (Tru).
4. Browse the selection of veggies (asparagus is featured this week) and flowers from the Green Grocer at the brand-new weekly 2011 Produce Market (Arboretum of South Barrington, 100 W. Higgins Rd.; 847-426-6200) on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dot Dot Dot . . .
Perennial Virant (1800 N. Lincoln Ave.; 312-981-7070) is now accepting reservations for next week, when things will be officially up and running. . . . The Southern charmer Wishbone has closed its Berwyn spin-off (6611 Roosevelt Rd.). The restaurant’s two city locations are still cooking. . . . Pasticceria Natalina (5406 N. Clark St.; 773-989-0662) will serve its final cannolo on Sunday, when it shutters its Andersonville storefront. . . . Relocating from Morton Grove, Ttowa (161 W. Wing St., Arlington Heights; 847-749-4493) opened May 2, offering its popular mandoo (Korean dumplings) and four types of bibim bap. . . . The chef Matt Eversman is leaving Saigon Sisters to scout his own project.