Thursday, March 22, 2012

Why The West Loop Will Be On Fire This Summer

Musician Frank Orrall (left) and Yvonne Cadiz Kim and Bill Kim.

Here's evidence that the West Loop just got even cooler:

Poi Dog Pondering frontman Frank Orrall and mixology vet Peter Vestinos have signed on to some very important projects in the area.

The guys were dining separately at Nellcôte Wednesday with high-profile chefs working on two of the West Loop's hottest spots.

Vestinos, who's already a consultant with Cornerstone Restaurant Group, was dining with Yvonne Cadiz Kim and Bill Kim (Belly Shack, Urban Belly), and Cornerstone head David Zadikoff. Cornerstone's set to open the Asian BBQ-focused Belly Q with Kim later this spring, and Vestinos will be working on cocktails to complement the cuisine, Zadikoff told 312DD.

While Vestinos will be around for awhile setting up the new cocktail program, he still calls San Francisco home. At some point, he'll return home.

Over at La Sirena Clandestina, John Manion's Argentinean-inspired restaurant in Fulton Market, the music will play just as an important role as the food, thanks to Frank Orrall.

According to Manion, the Poi Dog legend (who also collaborates regularly with Thievery Corporation) will set the tone for the music at the venue when it opens in July. Orrall is charged with hooking up the regular playlist as well as scheduling an occasional quartet to perform downscaled Latin and dance music as guests dine.

Don't be surprised to see Manion step out of the kitchen every now and then to perform as well. And, of course, when Orrall's available, he'll spin records.

If that's not enough hotness for you, don't forget about the courtyard at the corner of Green and Halsted streets. This summer, it'll be the place to be with Nellcôte, the soon-to-open RM Champagne Salon and Graham Elliot's new spot, G.E.B., sharing space.

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