In early March, three weeks before it was to open, Lady Gregory's (5254 N. Clark, 773-271-5050), a pub from Martin Cournane (Wilde Bar & Restaurant, Beckett's Public House), was devastated by a fire that destroyed the entire newly furbished upstairs. (The kitchen, which is in the basement, was spared.) Now it's set to open Monday, June 13. Kyle McHugh, formerly of Drinks Over Dearborn, has been serving as beverage consultant for the bar, which will carry 100 beers and more than 300 whiskeys. He's also come up with a list of ten cocktails, five of them whiskey based. Each named after a work by Lady Gregory, the Irish dramatist and folklorist, they feature local ingredients such as Adam Seger's Hum liqueur, which McHugh uses in a twist on the Blood and Sand made with Irish whiskey rather than scotch. Cournane describes the menu as "approachable gastrofare" and says that as compared to his other pubs, there will be "new kind of sophistication to the food."
At North Center's Ribfest Chicago this weekend, running Friday through Sunday at the intersection of Lincoln, Irving Park, and Damen, the Reader's Julia Thiel, recently the winner of a Beard award for our chef challenge Key Ingredient, will be a judge for the amateur barbecue competition on Saturday from 2 to 4 PM. Reader food writer Mike Sula is one of the judges who will bestow the best ribs award on one of festival's 16 rib participants in a ceremony to be held Sunday at 9 PM. There will also be both amateur and professional rib-eating contests, the former a "prefest" event on Thursday at 6:30 PM, the latter Friday at 6 PM. There's a $5 suggested donation; for more see ribfest-chicago.com.