Monday, March 24, 2008

More buzzzzzzz . . .

Park 52 (5201 S. Harper Court), that delightful Hyde Park eatery that's the latest creation from Jerry Kleiner (Gioco, Marche, Carnivale, Room21, etc.), is really trying to open on April 8. That's the goal, their publicist tells us, but you know how these things go.

Perennial (1800 N. Lincoln Ave.), a contemporary American restaurant from the dream team of Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz (Boka, Landmark), is set to open in early May now.

And Texas de Brazil (51 E. Ohio St.) brings South American flair to the Mag Mile when it also opens sometime in May. It's going into the old Virgin Megastore space, so you know this will be a massive project. They'll be doing Churrascuria-style serving here at this Brazilian steakhouse.

Local Beard nominees announced

Drive Thru has the Chicago nominees for the 2008 James Beard Awards, including Bin 36's Brian Duncan, Lettuce Entertain You's Rich Melman and Naha's Carrie Nahabedian. Good luck, all!

An Ultimate Insider tells me . . .


. . . that the hottest chick in the music game right now—Rhianna—will perform during an exclusive concert at Vision (640 N. Dearborn St., 312-266-1944) on Wednesday. The Girls Night Out! event benefits a local charity and Rhianna's Believe Foundation, which provides everything from medical attention to clothing for terminally ill and low-income kids.

Hot new fragrance Escada Moon Sparkle has teamed up with her label Island Def Jam in support of her latest album, Good Girl Gone Bad, for a three-city tour of this exclusive Girls Night Out! event that comes to Chicago first (!!!), then Los Angeles and finally New York.

Tickets are probably sold out, but you should call the club to see if anything is available.


Earlier today, we broke the news that Jay's Amore Ristorante & Lounge (1330 W. Madison St., 312-829-3333) in the West Loop closed today in order to reconcept. But now, we've got even amore:

They're expecting to reopen the first week of April as VIAGGIO, with a spanking new contemporary look and feel. And, according to management, they're aiming to "introduce a new concept of fine dining to Chicago." Hmmmmm, I cannot wait to see this one. They're going to remain Italian focused, of course, keeping their executive chef and bringing aboard two additional ones. It's going to be really interesting to see what they've got up their sleeves. Developing . . . .

Deal(s) of the day . . .


Shift Drink Mondays continues over at the Filthy Libertine (1615 N. Clybourn Ave., 312-654-1782), the weekly industry event that gets prominent Chicago chefs behind the bar. Tonight's offering is chef de cuisine and souf chefs from Alinea (1723 N. Halsted St., 312-867-0110): Jeff Pikus and Nathan Klingbail. They'll be schmoozing and pouring their signature cocktails. Also, half-price pizzas, complimentary amuse, $1 cans of PBR and $2 shots of Makers Mark for everyone wearing kitchen clogs.

Also happening tonight is A Taste of France, a wine and cheese pairing at the Whole Foods-Lakeview (3300 N. Ashland Ave., 773-244-4200). Whether you're looking to gain info about new wines, or you just need a Monday night buzz, you'll get expert direction from a specialist on a variety of vino. Reservations recommended. 7-9pm. $10.

And as alway, every Monday night is also Taste Food & Wine's (1506 W. Jarvis Ave., 773-761-3663) weekly tasting event. Who knows what they'll break out, but we suspect it'll be on point. 6:30-8pm. Free.

Sign of the times . . .

From the mailbag, via an Ultimate Insider:

"We at Jay's Amore Ristorante & Lounge, want to inform our very special and valued customers, that we will be temporarily closing on March 24th, 2008 for remodeling. Unless otherwise informed, we will be reopening on April 3rd, 2008 under the new name VIAGGIO."

The West Loop venue is located at 1330 W. Madison St., 312-829-3333.