Wheel of Fortune


Sequels are tricky. They’re rarely better than the original. “The Godfather Part 2” which had a richness and depth that surpassed “The Godfather” is one of few exceptions. Usually what happens in a sequel is you get a tired, slightly different rehash of the original. Advertisements


Intro Dim Sum


Despite pimping black truffle-stuffed pasta or whiskey cocktails infused with bacon, most chefs don’t crave the things they purvey at their restaurants. After years of reporting, I’ve found a chef’s desert island meal is more like a Miller High Life and a piece of fried chicken.

Dungeons, Dragons & Donor Kebab


I was afraid I might get murdered if I played Dungeons & Dragons. My mom, like so many other parents in the late 1980s, got caught up in a moral uproar about the popular role-playing game. She cited news accounts of dungeon masters supposedly committing suicide and murder as a result of playing the game and warned me I should stay away. So when I heard that Dungeons & Dragons influenced DMen Tap, a new Logan Square restaurant from Donermen food truck owners Shawn Podgurski and Phil Naumann, I was a little apprehensive to visit. 



Ronero, a new Latin American/Cuban restaurant in the West Loop, is the kind of place where I’d imagine dictators or Scarface spending a night away from the rigors of managing a cartel. You could easily picture Fidel Castro hunkered down in one of the rattan peacock chairs, smoking a Cohiba and regarding the glass chandeliers while stroking the straggly tendrils of his prodigious beard.

Myron Mixon’s Smoke & Mirrors Show


If Jesus smoked a perfect brisket and followed that up by walking on water, he’d still have a lot of catching up to do to achieve the deity status of Myron Mixon. You see, Mixon is the Michael Jordan of barbecue. To be fair, Michael Jordan is more like the Myron Mixon of basketball. Jordan only won six NBA championships. Mixon has won over 200 grand championships in barbecue

The Budlong


There aren’t too many iconic foods that have been invented as a form of revenge. But according to legend, that’s exactly how Nashville hot chicken came to be.



STK, as their website preaches, is not your daddy’s steakhouse. But based on its name and extension of a vowel-challenged spelling paradigm to the menu (Lil’ BRGS, anyone? That’s little burgers, in case you didn’t get it), it’s clearly not a steakhouse for grammarians, either. Relative to Chicago’s rich bounty of steakhouses, STK’s selling points are a multitude of tables grouped really close together and optimized for mingling and regular late-night DJ appearances. All I could really tell before setting foot in the door was that STK was the 10th location of the New York-based chain from The One Group, a purveyor of something called “lifestyle hospitality.” Confused, I set out to discover what it was and, of course, answer the eternal food critic question: Did it SCK or was it AWSM

Pomp & Circumstance


“When food was food & drinks were stiff.” That’s the tagline for Pomp & Circumstance, the new Old Town restaurant from The 8 Group principals Carmen Rossi, Chris Bader and Kevin Killerman (Hubbard Inn, Barn & Company and Heating & Cooling Pub). That phrase is supposed to evoke the ’50s and ’60s era heyday of Jack Kerouac and the “Mad Men” world of expense-account martinis and ring-a-ding-ding elegance. I stopped in recently to see if Pomp & Circumstance would stir up Rat Pack gentlemanliness or the drunken shenanigans of advertising and Wall Street’s les enfants terribles.

Prime & Provisions


Prime & Provisions. It sounds like some kind of glamping retreat for investment bankers, right? With its luxury pricing and bevy of dry-aged steaks, that’s not far from the truth, but it’s actually the newest entry in the downtown steakhouse game from Dineamic Group. Though the founders—Luke Stoioff and David Rekhson—might be most known for creating bro-friendly bars Bull & Bear and Public House, their current strategy is to move from bars with good eats to mature, full-fledged restaurants. That brought on the opening of Italian restaurant Siena Tavern with “Top Chef” fan favorite Fabio Viviani in 2013, and now, Prime & Provisions, which opened earlier this month in the Loop

Laughing Bird


Have you ever wished you could eat at a place called the Tina Turner Tavern? If things go well for chef Chrissy Camba at new Lincoln Square restaurant Laughing Bird, you might just get your chance. “I grew up in a family where there was a lot of laughing and a lot of birds, so that’s how we got the name. But, the whole time I kept joking that we should name this place the Tina Turner Tavern. We’ll save that for the next one,” said Camba.