Umami Burger’s sister spot for fast-fired pizza, 800 Degrees (812 Church St., Evanston, 224-307-2803), is now burning in its first Midwestern location. The pies are DIY: You pick a crust (Neapolitan, crispy, or gluten-free), a sauce base, and a plethora of toppings. If you’re overwhelmed by choice, you can also select from a handful of pre-planned combos.

Even more in Evanston: The owners of Lucky Platter now bring Mexican street food to the suburban masses at La Principal (700 Main St., 224-307-2444). It also has a walk-up window spot called Cafecito in the mornings, pouring coffee and the masa-chocolate combo beverage known as champurrado.

After a flurry of delays, the third location of Stan’s Donuts & Coffee (2800 N. Clark St., Lake View, 773-868-0173) has risen. Rejoice with a lemon-pistachio old fashioned.


The long-discussed planned closure of Alinea (1723 N. Halsted St., Lincoln Park, 312-867-0110) finally has a date: January 1. According to a Tribune story, this will mark the beginning of months of renovations and revamps of the iconic spot’s menu and presentations. In the interim, chef Grant Achatz is taking his show on the road, doing residencies in Spain and Miami through the winter.

In a post about chef Art Smith’s turning over of Table Fifty-Two into Blue Door Kitchen and Tavern, we noted that Smith would also take on duties as the pitmaster at nearby Chicago Q (1160 N. Dearborn St., Gold Coast, 312-642-1160). Which begged the question: What happened to previous BBQ runner Lee Ann Whippen? She told Chicago via e-mail that she left the restaurant at the end of August (the tail end of a five-year contract with the spot) and remains in Chicago. Currently, she’s working with the team at the forthcoming Frozen Foodies (2201 N. Halsted St., Lincoln Park) to develop some high-end microwaveable meals as she plots her next move.