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Astir in Andersonville

Behind Pasticceria Natalina's closing, and why our Acre review is already outdated. Plus: kickstarting a brewery.



The Reader's review of Acre last week became obsolete almost immediately. The seasonally oriented Andersonville spot, which shares chef Carlos Ysaguirre with neighboring Anteprima, originally offered separate menus for the tavern side and the dining room, though you could order from either wherever you sat. That was one too many menus to please critic Mike Sula, who experienced some misses alongside the hits. But just after the Reader went to press, the restaurant tweeted: "After much debate, Acre is moving to a single dinner menu next week." It debuted Tuesday, offering a blend of the two lists—the burger with house-made mustard from the pub menu, the changing risotto from the other side—holding on to dishes like the bone marrow and the house-cured salmon salad, and adding some new items such as rabbit confit. Co-owner Marty Fosse says the original tavern menu will still be available at lunch from Monday to Friday.

Also last week, Natalie Zarzour of Andersonville's Pasticceria Natalina announced that the bakery will be closing in September, tweeting, "friends & fans: plz enjoy the fuck out of Xmas sweets this year. Pasticceria Natalina announces last holiday season. 10 months & counting . . ."

Back in October Zarzour told the Reader's Mike Sula she was closing, but a few days later changed her story, declining to provide additional details. That might have been politic, given that in the course of a two-hour rant she called the bakery business "the biggest scam in all of food," adding that "the people of Chicago need to come to terms with the fact that they do not know almost anything about the art of pastry." This includes the critics, "from Dolinsky, who knows fucking nothing about pastry, to Nagrant, who knows fucking nothing, and to you as well."

Zarzour went on to complain, "I feel like I run a museum, there's no five-dollar entrance fee to help curate the place. Nobody makes a donation to me to keep up the good work. I get, for every maybe—let's just say on a busy day, on Saturday, for every 12 people that come in, one person makes a purchase. . . . Everybody wants to ooh and ah and just be bedazzled by the work, but at the end of the day, they're like, you know what? I'm not willing to spend that much on that, no matter how much I want it."

As for her future plans, Zarzour told Sula, "I would like to make erotic films. I would like to master flamenco dance. I would like to climb mountains. I would like to learn further about pastry in, you know, I would like to go to the greatest restaurants in the world and learn at the hand of their pastry chefs. I mean, I would like to do a lot of things."

The fledgling Pipeworks Brewing Company is trying to raise $30,000 on Kickstarter by January 1 to get a micro-microbrewery up and running by next spring. Owners Beejay Oslon and Gerrit Lewis, who apprenticed at Belgium's De Struise last year, had raised just under two-thirds of their target at the start of this week, with investors lined up to match the funds if they meet their goal. Read more about them on our blog: There's a free tasting of their beers Friday at West Lakeview Liquors, where the pair met; see Heads Up for details.   

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