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."




It's finally time for the big release of the French vino Beaujolais Nouveau, which makes its annual debut at midnight. Several local spots celebrate the festive occasion of the boutiful red wine, but we're all about the party happening at Madame Tartine. Not only will diners and guests be able to partake in a complimentary glass of the vino, but they'll also get to mingle with the ladies of Maven, which hosts its weekly Diva Series. Tonight's honoree is, a community-based web site where women sound off on just about everything under the sun. That happens 7-11pm, with comped champagne cocktails until 8pm. No cover.

Prosecco's been doing budget deals all week for dinner and lunch, and even wine director Christian Fox Hood has been offering 10 percent off on all glasses and bottles of wine. Also get up to 15 percent off the average meal, with selections like risotto crab cakes and grilled wild salmon.

There's still time to RSVP for the Bacardi Flavor Exchange happening at Bon V. You'll get to sample all the various flavors with signature cocktails, mingle with a sexy crowd, and jam out to the resident deejay. 9pm-1am. RSVP info here.

Soul music star John Legend hosts a party at Vision Nightclub on Friday.


We love craft beer tastings around here, and Lush Wine and Spirits plans an after-work event certain to get you sudsy. They're pouring special releases, seasonal and holiday favorites. 5-8pm. Free.

John Legend should really think about buying a place in Chicago because he's here all the time! The R&B super star makes a stop at the Chicago Theatre as part of his world tour, and he'll also take time out to host an after-party at Vision. Also, check out local spin stars 33 & 1/3, Wicked Prince, Legacy and Mark Fullaflava, who'll be cranking out the best in R&B and hip-hop. 10pm-4am. Cover varies.

Three Headed Productions fetes its first-year anniversary as the new owners of Le Passage, and they're doing it up big. Chris "Big Black" Boykin and Bam Bam from MTV's hit show "Rob & Big" host; DJ White Shadow spins. 9pm-4am. Cover varies.

Celebrate Turkey Day a week early at PJ Clarke’s, which is hosting a pre-Thanksgiving holiday bash. Arrive early for complimentary mini burgers, beer and wine. 8:30pm-1:30am. No cover.

Lumen throws a Warhol Factory Party, hosted by Martini & Rossi. Expect an offbeat atmosphere, including body painting and eclectic, Warhol-inspired cocktails. RSVP to for comped admission. 9pm-2am.

Rednofive teams up with some of its most successful party promotions for Collective, reuniting special guest deejays John Curley, Greg Bauer and Jesse de la Pena. 9pm-4am. Cover varies.


Are you checking out the Festival of Lights?! After freezing your ass off for a couple of hours, you'll be thankful for the toasty environs of the David Burke’s Primehouse lobby bar. They're pouring Belgian hot chocolate, Hot Toddies and champagne cocktails paired with comped Kobe beef crostini, crabcake truffles, lobster fries, Kobe corn dogs and Angry Shrimp. 11am-11pm.

And also to get you in the holiday spirit is a tasting at Volo in Roscoe Village. Indulge in select boutique wines paired with appetizers inside and out on the rustic, heated cabana patio. Stick around for dinner! 3:30-5:30pm. $20.