Open now: Chicago’s first location of calorie-conscious Lyfe Kitchen (413 N. Clark St., River North, 312-836-5933), is now serving casual dishes safe for a laundry list of food restrictions, including a version of Art Smith’s fried chicken that clocks in at less than 600 calories.

Thursday, 11/21: Zia’s Lago Vista (3819 N. Ashland Ave., Lake View, 773-883-0808), a sister restaurant of veteran Edison Park Italian joint Zia’s Trattoria, will bring pizzas, pastas, and pan-Italian dishes, plus a sizeable wine bar.


  • Nominees for this year’s Jean Banchet awards, the Oscars of the Chicago food world, are out. Curtis Duffy (Grace), Carrie Nahabedian (Naha), Paul Virant (Vie, Perennial Virant), and Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia) are up for Chef of the Year honors; Acadia, Brindille, Embeya, and Grace are under consideration for Restaurant of the Year. See the full list of nominees here—winners will be announced January 31.
  • Although the news focused on chef Lee Wolen’s departure from the Peninsula Chicago (108 E. Superior St., 312-337-2888), the new hire Mike Wehrle replaces not Wolen but Kai Lermen as executive chef for the hotel. Wehrle will oversee Shanghai Terrace, Pierrot Gourmet, and the pastry kitchen, and until Wolen’s as-yet-unhired replacement begins, he’ll also run The Lobby, Wolen’s former domain. The Black Forest native (love their cake) comes from Peninsula Bangkok. “I’m moving now to Chicago,” Wehrle says. “I’ve never been.”
  • After a three-month closure due to owner Burt Katz’s illness, cult-favorite pizza joint Burt’s Place (8451 N. Ferris Ave., Morton Grove, 847-965-7997) is back open. (We ranked their deep-dish pan pizza with sausage as the eighth-best in Chicago in our 2010 guide to the city’s best pies.)
  • Two closures of note: West Loop wine bar the Tasting Room (1415 W. Randolph St.) poured its last glass Saturday night after 13 years, and Theo Gilbert (Terragusto, Ripasso) shuttered his Starland (1619 N. Damen Ave.) over the weekend as well.
  • In case you missed it on Twitter, Brendan Sodikoff shared his big plans for Bucktown with dining editor Penny Pollack (follow her @pennypollack). He’s planning for pizza by the slice at the former Café con Leche location at 1732 N. Milwaukee—no rush, he says, on an opening date.
  • To prep your digestive system for the big day, DMK Burger Bar (2954 N. Sheffield Ave., Lake View, 773-360-8686; 2370 Fountain Square Dr., Lombard, 630-705-9020) will serve a Thanksgiving-in-a-bun burger called the Gobbler ($10), with a turkey patty, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry relish through the holiday.
  • Which reminds us, a quick programming note: Thanks to Thanksgiving, there will be no Dish newsletter next week.