Spring Brings New Openings

Thu. April 19, 2012 12:00 AM
by Rick Karlin

Spring always brings with it many openings, not just flowers and buds, but restaurants as well. Here are a few soon to open and recently opened spots we're looking forward to checking out.

A new, wine-focused bistro named Southport & Irving is moving into the old Deleece space at the eponymous intersection, with an opening date scheduled for Friday, April 20. Geri and Tom Foley, owners of the acclaimed Broadway Cellars, are behind the neighborhood spot, which will offer dinner seven days a week, and brunch Friday through Sunday. Frankie Bocardo, who has experience most recently at Ceres Table, rounds up the team as chef de cuisine.
(Rate | Review Southport & Irving)

Top Chef's Dale Levitski's new Lakeview spot, Frog N Snail, is now serving up morning, lunch and dinner fare. Sidewalk seating is expected to begin soon. I hear that the ricotta dip with bacon, broccoli and herbs is killer. Other dishes that've gotten raves are both classic "continental" dishes, croque monsieur and comforting chicken Kiev. The bakery component will be up and running in the next few weeks. Success couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
(Rate | Review Frog N Snail)

Speaking of Top Chef, Chuy Valencia, another contestant on the show, and until recently the chef at Chilam Balam, said he's in talks with Philip Tadros (Dollop, Kickstand) to team up on a new cafeteria/microbrewery idea. He wants to stay on Broadway and is in the process of securing a location just south of Belmont. No news on an opening date yet.

Mario Maggi, who opened the legendary Bice more than 20 years ago, is back in town to open La Bricola on Damen in the Ukrainian Village space formerly occupied by Jam sometime this month.

Chef Dominique Tougne didn't waste much time when Bistro 110 closed. He started working on his own bistro, taking over the Cafe Bernard space. Tougne will open Chez Moi in early May and will focus on somewhat non-traditional French bistro dishes

Premise, a new Andersonville space focusing on bar snacks and light meals, just opened in the space that formerly was home to In Fine Spirits. Chef Brian Runge (formerly of Graham Elliot) in the kitchen.

In other news
Crofton on Wells in River North has closed with plans to re-concept (meaning going with cheaper fare)…Riva Crab House at Navy Pier features a dollar oyster special, available in the upstairs bar and dining room from 11a.m though 5 p.m. daily through Apr. 15…. Tavern On Rush recently unveiled a new menu featuring many fresh additions. The updated menu features new appetizers, salads, pastas, pizzas and burgers. The new burgers include Kobe beef, turkey, and the Tavern steak, a blend of short rib, brisket and ground chuck….Henri is presenting La Carte de France, regionally inspired food and beverage specials, during dinner service every Sunday and Monday evening. The specials are in addition to the regular menu and will change every six weeks….Quay has started a new house brunch on Saturdays. Located in the restaurant's Atrium Lounge the event will feature house music from DJ Jordan V, and bottle specials. The brunch menu includes items such as smoked salmon Benedict, bananas Foster French toast, chicken hash as well as more traditional breakfast fare, beginning at $7… Chicago French Market's Pastoral, the artisan cheese, bread and wine shop, will host its second annual artisan producer festival from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, Apr. 28. More than 70 culinary producers will be on hand offering samples… On Wednesday, Apr. 25 ENO Wine Room will present a tasting event co-hosted by the Tuscan winemaker Cosimo Maria Masini, who will be on-hand to answer guests' questions about his wines. Guests will have the opportunity to sample these unique wines by the glass or flight.