Animated Cookies

Joe Bova and Jeff Steinberg, respectively an animator and a screenwriter, plan to open a bakery called Cookie Bar (2475 N. Lincoln Ave.) next month in a former Lincoln Park Starbucks. An animator and screenwriter? “In our private lives we entertained a lot,” says Steinberg. “People always loved anything we would bring to dinner parties. We started getting calls from friends and friends of friends who wanted us to do desserts for parties, and it grew out of that.” All cookies—everything from chocolate chip to oatmeal-mango-chile-macadamia nut—will be baked daily on site. Expect dairy- and gluten-free goodies, a bar-like atmosphere with a “retro aesthetic,” decent coffee, and both guys to be in house at all times. “In entertainment, there are so many hoops to go through, the timeline is extremely slow,” says Steinberg. “This allows us to be more hands on.”

He Said It

“Bowling’s great. You gotta love a sport where you can eat while you play it. Never see that in tennis: ‘Hey before you serve, let me dig into these nachos.’ There’s an ashtray built into the bowling equipment! Poker doesn’t even have that.” –Jim Gaffigan (b. 1966), American comedian

The Longest Line

DMK Burger Bar (2954 N. Sheffield Ave.; 773-360-8686), the long-awaited chef-driven burger joint from Michael Kornick and David Morton, opened with a bang on November 10th. So many people showed up on opening day that DMK employees began handing out little cards that said, “Sorry, we are at our limit. Stop by another time and your first draught is on me. David and Michael.” Kornick went so far as to give out his cell phone number to turned-away patrons so they could call when they are on their way the next time.

4 Questions for Dan Cordis

After closing Cordis Brothers Supper Club last month, Dan Cordis didn’t miss a beat: He helped open Pitchfork (2922 W. Irving Park Rd.; 773-866-2010), a 90-seat “barbecue saloon” that is getting all kinds of buzz. 

D: What happened to Cordis Brothers?
DC: I didn’t perceive it to be fine dining, but it was white tablecloth and people perceived it as a special occasion place so we had trouble getting people in during the week.

D: So, how did Pitchfork come about?
DC: We wanted to do a more casual place where we could do our Chicago-style ribs. We won the Ribfest last year. This space was an Ecuadorian karaoke joint. Two storefronts.

D: Who is your chef?
DC: It’s the same chef as at Cordis Brothers. His name is Felix Rueda. He’s a Michael Altenberg [Crust, Bistro Campagne] disciple.

D: What else can you tell me about Pitchfork?
DC: We have a great burger and 12 appetizers, everything from hummus to edamame. One of our real good ones is the Buffalo blue cheese egg rolls. Pitchfork is also a bourbon bar. Thirty-five different bourbons. And on Thursday you can get a full slab for $12. It’s country night. Put your boots on and come over.

Gene’s Sausage Shop in 89 Words

“Our store carries over 90-percent European products. We specialize in made-on-premises smoked meats and have over 40 varieties of sausages and hams and deli meats—and a full-service butcher shop. We also have a kitchen for ready-to-eat specialties: pierogis, stuffed cabbage rolls, potato pancakes, Swedish potato sausage. . . . We make our own sauerkraut out of the barrel. And we have an unbelievable single-bottle assortment of imported beers, plus some very hard-to-find European liqueurs like Schwarzwalder Kirschwasser [$45], a Black Forest cherry brandy.” –Yolanda Luszcz, whose family owns Lincoln Square’s recently repurposed Delicatessen Meyer, now called Gene’s Sausage Shop at Delicatessen Meyer (4750 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-728-7243)

Coming to America

Katakana, a 300-seat offshoot of a Tokyo-based restaurant, has opened in Logan Square (2829 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-384-6527). “My brother met the owner of the real Katakana in Tokyo and brought a sushi chef from there,” says Gonzalo Calderon, brother of the owner, Chris Calderon, and himself a sushi chef. “He [Te Zan] helped to create the full menu from Katakana.” The namesake roll ($16) features king crab and lobster that have been flamed for three seconds with saké and served with a homemade ginger-honey sauce. “We create art on those plates,” says Gonzalo Calderone. “We make flowers with sashimi and use chocolate in the sauce for the unagi.” The ambitious spot is BYO for now, and on the drawing board for early spring is Koko Sushi Bar, a 300-seat lounge with live music downstairs.

Things to Do

  1. If you’re a Jack Daniels fan—and who isn’t?—head to Carlucci (1801 Butterfield Rd., Downers Grove; 630-512-0990), which hosts a tasting of three Jack products along with pizza, beef skewers, and crostini on November 12th ($15 per person).
  2. Get one of Chicago’s best burgers for only $5 for lunch at David Burke’s Primehouse (The James, 616 N. Rush St.; 312-660-6000) through November 13th. Chef Rick Gresh is also doing all kinds of zany burgers involving lobster slaw, pastrami, and chorizo.
  3. Look in wine stores for Clos La Chance Legends 51 Cabernet Sauvignon ($14 or thereabouts), the new wine from Dick Butkus, the Bears legend. Once the toughest player in the NFL, Butkus now donates portions of wine proceeds to his organization that fights steroid use among teenage athletes.

Dot Dot Dot . . .

Jack’s on Halsted (3201 N. Halsted St.; 773-244-9191), a Lake View staple, has closed temporarily and will re-open on November 14th with a late-night concept and a recession-friendly menu. Think burgers, pizza, pasta, and sandwiches. . . . Anthony Martin, formerly the sous-chef of Tru  (676 N. Saint Clair St.; 312-202-0001) and a veteran of Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas, has replaced Tim Graham as Tru’s executive chef. Graham is still in the Lettuce Entertain You family, having taken over as exec chef at Brasserie Jo. . . . Naf Naf Grill (1095 E. Ogden Ave., Naperville; 630-904-7200), a popular 30-seat Middle Eastern restaurant that opened earlier this year, is already planning to move to a larger, “professionally designed” location. . . . Brandon Canfield, the former sous-chef at MK, is now running the kitchen at Deleece (4004 N. Southport Ave.; 773-325-1710). . . . Vito Mossa, the owner of Peppermill Kitchen (1742 W. Wilson Ave.; 773-293-4535), a two-month-old American spot in Ravenswood, says people are “going crazy” for Peppermill’s sloppy Joe. . . . Speaking of childhood favorites, Rida Shahin, chef-owner of La Farine (1461 W. Chicago Ave.; 312-850-4019), makes a grilled cheese sandwich with red onion and adobo sauce ($6) at his new European-style bakery in West Town. “It’s called ‘Not Your Mother’s Grilled Cheese,’” says Shahin.