Spotted in Chinatown: another prospective urban izakaya. Executive chef Kee Chan, formerly of Heat and Mulan, plans to open Lure Izakaya (2017 S. Wells, 312-225-8989) any day now pending inspections, and is currently accepting applications for all positions through his website (lurechicago.com) and Facebook page. In addition to Japanese small plates and grilled items in the $5-$8 range, he'll be serving rolls and a $10-$12 fusion menu with dishes like a seafood stew with cod, lamb, and greens. Chan has plans for late-night hours and brunch, and says he is also looking for "singers/performers/musicians."
On the horizon for later next year is a Chicago location of New York's City Winery, the SoHo restaurant, bar, performance space, and wine-making facility where members can buy house-made wines by the barrel. Founder and CEO Michael Dorf says that the group will be renting a 25,000-square-foot space across from the Palmer House; marketing director Alex Baldwin confirmed that they have their eye on the landmark Louis Sullivan-designed Carson Pirie Scott Building.
"We will have a 300-seat state-of-the-art concert hall for cabaret-seated shows with a full menu," Dorf said via e-mail. "The lower level includes cellar rooms surrounded by glass and temp-controlled barrel rooms filled with a total of 300 French oak barrels, with half the production targeted to individuals interested in winemaking and the other half for sale on premise. . . . We plan to host wine dinners, wine workshops, special pairings including our music and wine pairings, regular concerts, and many private events. Programmatically it will look like NY, but functionally, the space is a real improvement."
Twin Anchors (1655 N. Sedgwick, 312-266-1616), the longtime Old Town restaurant and former speakeasy that surprised some by winning a Bib Gourmand award from Michelin Guide Chicago, has introduced its first new barbecue sauce in 30 years. "Prohibition" is described as having a "fiery finish"—it's made with ghost peppers, said to be the hottest chiles on the planet. The restaurant, loved in some quarters and reviled in others for its fall-off-the-bone ribs, has also launched a catering service.
On Monday Dark Cloud (2122 N. Halsted, 773-857-2449) opened in Lincoln Park. A self-described "urban coffee lab," it will feature a roster of coffees that rotates every four weeks; currently they're offering blends from Alterra, Intelligentsia, and Barismo—along with espresso pulled from the Slayer, a hand-built $17,000 espresso machine.
Doughboys (626 S. Racine, 312-243-9799), a pizza and panini joint from Jimmy Bannos Sr. (Heaven on Seven, Purple Pig) and the prolific Scott Harris (Francesca's, Purple Pig, Davanti Enoteca), opened in Little Italy last Friday. It's mostly takeout and delivery, but there are also four tables, and once Salatino's (also a Bannos-Harris project) opens in the adjoining space next Tuesday, dine-in customers can bring in booze from the bar there. Salatino's manager Jimmy Psyhogios says the focus will be "casual, rustic southern Italian—the kind of Italian you'd get when you went out to dinner as a kid." The team has brought in Mary Jo Gennaro of the longtime Taylor Street fixture Gennaro's as a chef and partner.