Thursday, November 20, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: The perfect partners?!

Highly placed sources say golden boy restaurateurs Kevin Boehm (left) and Rob Katz are partnering with "Top Chef" winner Stephanie Izard for a new venture.

"Top Chef" winner Stephanie Izard is making all the right moves, said an Ultimate Insider, as she continues to plan her new contemporary American-focused restaurant in West Town. Right now, we've confirmed that she's teaming up with the guys behind Boka, Landmark and Perennial for that venture scheduled to open sometime next year. UPDATE: Interesting! This was posted hours after 312 Dining Diva broke the news.

Also hot is Esquire magazine's John Mariani, who is in town this week palling around with high-profile restaurant types. Last night the glossy men's mag hosted a party at Mercat a la Planxa and all the heavy hitters came out (we hear that restaurant mogul Rich Melman cornered Mariani, asking him to check out his kids' new spot, Hub 51). The event was to honor Mercat a la Planxa, L.20 and Takashi as the only Chicago restaurants named to Esquire's prestigious "Best New Restaurants" list for 2008.

While in town, could Mariani be checking out who's up for next year?! Last night he dined at Randy Zweiban's Latin-influenced Province and today he's making his way to Publican for lunch. They're opening the Warehouse District eatery, which specializes in pork, seafood and beer, just for him.

UPDATE: Melman wins! From yet another Ultimate Insider: " . . . Just wanted to let you know that the writer you mentioned is indeed having dinner tonight at Hub 51 with the Big Dog from Lettuce."

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