Monday, May 7, 2012

'I Thought This Day Would Never Come'

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That was North Pond's Bruce Sherman on Monday in New York as he accepted his first-ever James Beard award for Best Chef: Great Lakes. He had been nominated previously for the prestigious award five years in a row, and this year he was up against exceptionally strong contenders in Chicago's Stephanie Izard (The Girl & The Goat), Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia) and Michael Carlson (Schwa).

He told ABC-7's Steve Dolinsky in his first post-win interview:

"The most difficult part of doing what we do is keeping it up. It's persistence, stubbornness, whatever you want to call it...and it's maintaining standards and keeping it up."

Sherman was one of three Chicago winners this year.

Mercer One Thirteen Opens Thursday

mercer interior
Mercer's interior boasts an "earthy" atmosphere. (Photos: Mercer One Thirteen)

This weekend, Mercer One Thirteen joins a jam-packed block of trendy favorites that range from the Asian-focused Slurping Turtle to fashionable steakhouse Epic.

It's owned by Roman Sanchez, who's been tinkering with sports-bar ventures lately with Social 25 and Moe's Cantina). Though it'll have televisions for sports viewing, Mercer promises to be a lot more glam, with a plushy, yet earthy setting and focusing more on food.

Here's a sneak preview of the menu:

Hot Chocolate Reopens This Week

Hot Chocolate's Mindy Segal. (Photo: Mindy Segal)

In mid-April, 312DD reported that Hot Chocolate was closing for a few weeks to undergo some renovations.

It's been open for more than 10 years and owner Mindy Segal (freshly crowned James Beard's Outstanding Pastry Chef 2012) decided it was time for an update. As scheduled, the Bucktown mainstay reopens in time for Mother's Day. Segal told 312DD Monday that she's "planning to reopen Wednesday."

What to expect?!