Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bice Grill Closes for Renovation Until Spring


An astute foodie on her way to lunch at popular Streeterville spot Bice Grill alerted us all with a tweet that it was no longer:

"What?!? No more Bice Grill? So sad! Guess this will force me to branch out a bit more at lunchtime."

A call to the restaurant confirmed that it was indeed closed: The line was disconnected. But we followed up with a call to sister resto Bice Ristorante, where the manager said it closed last Friday.

"Business is slower at the beginning of the year, and it gets really cold for customers because of the ventilation system," he said. "Therefore we took this opportunity to shut it down, renovate and reopen in about six weeks."

Rumor has it that it'll transform into a completely new concept, so we'll just have to wait and see.

On the upside, if you're looking for a new lunch spot in the area, Epic launched service Tuesday, with contemporary menu items like hot-off-the-press paper-wrapped paninis; buttermilk fried calamari; raw bar selections such as jumbo prawn and King crab; and mini desserts from hot shot Pastry Chef Christine McCabe.

She Digs Delicious Eats Beyond Meat . . .


Chicago's a hardcore, meat-eating town.

So when Kelli Zink, the spunky entertainment news reporter for CelebTV.com, told me she was a vegetarian, I blurted out, "How can you survive here?!"

She's always making the scene at the hottest restaurants in town, surrounded by beautiful cuts of meat, so it's hard to believe she didn't feel out of place.

Zink makes it work, by getting creative at regular restaurants and not limiting herself to vegetarian-only spots. So for those considering a meat-free diet (or already on board), she offers her favorites of all time in the city:

Freshii: "They have soups, wraps and salads. You can customize all your meals and whatever crazy combination you come up with they will have it."

Green Zebra: "I can have everything on the menu and don’t have to worry about (biting into meat products by accident). It’s one of the few places you can go and it’s safe, but it can get expensive."

HUB 51: "I’ve taken my out-of-town vegetarian friends here, and they have the veggie sushi roll which has beets on top of it. Their veggie burger is amazing because they make it from scratch. They tested several recipes until they got it right. I also like that they allow you to substitute items on the menu. Their staff is very accommodating for special diets."

Karyn’s Fresh Corner: "They have the takeout stuff, and you can do shots of wheatgrass and it’s really convenient and cool."

Karyn’s Cooked: I can take my friends who eat like 'normal' people and they still enjoy it. You can get pizza that still tastes like pizza."

Lo-Cal Corner: "They have the cheapest and healthiest wraps and soups, veggie chili, vegan cookies and brownies. In the store, they sell coconut water and Kombucha(carbonated Japanese fermented tea), which has an acquired taste."