Delicious DIRT. Opening Quickies.

DIRT Inside: Sandwich Me In, Lakeview, Duchamp, Troy Graves, Red Door, Green City Market

Troy Graves has Opened the Red Door

Alaskan Halibut Fava Beans, Strawberries, Pancetta, and Balsamic Gastrique from Chef Graves’ Old Spot, Eve via Star Chefs. 

So many openings, we are into. Earlier, we told you about Duchamp closing and Troy Graves’ Red Door opening. Now, it’s open. So check ‘em out! We love what they posted on their Facebook page: “We would like everyone to know we are not a restaurant with a great bar. We are a bar with great food. Salute!” 2118 N. Damen. [Eater]

Sustainability is Key @ NEW Sandwich Me In. Below.

Green City Market Kicks Off Outdoor Season. Below.

Green City Market by Nick Kindelsberger

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Delicious DIRT. JUICE WE LOVE: To Open -> To Check Out: Balena’s Desserts, Storefront Company’s Short Rib Fried Rice, and Old Town Pour House’s Brews

DIRT Inside: Balena, Storefront Company, Old Town Pour House, Bottleneck Management Group, Paul Katz, John Madden, Boka Restaurant Group, Bristol, Chris Pandel, Amanda Rockman, Wicker Park, Debonair Social Club, Bryan Moscatello, Food & Wine, Gary Weidner

Balena’s Got It: Chef Pandel and Pastry Chef Rockman Steal Our Hearts

Pistachio gelato with nougat and burnt-orange caramel. Photo: Jeff Kauck

Thanks to the lovely boys at Boka Restaurant Group and the Bristol crew, Balena is opens today (and for DD readers, that’s two amazing openings in one day). Balena and chef Chris Pandel have been on our To Open radar for some time now and it’s totally work the wait! We’re into their house-made pastas, wood-burning pizzas and amaro-based cocktails… oh yes, definitely worth the wait. This Tuscan-inspired spot’s tagline is “Italian inspired. Honest cooking” so look for Italian-style foods but with the benefit of being sourced from Midwest farms. We are loving all of this local attention! Speaking of attention, we cannot take our eyes off of pastry chef Amanda Rockman‘s sweet creations – watch her in action. And a Delicious DIRT insider: the Balena wine list is incredible, featuring 300+ labels of 95% Italian wines -> BONUS, there’s a glossary. Check out the full menu, and check out Balena for yourself. 1633 N. Halsted.

In Wicker Park: Storefront Company = Now Open

Photo via Storefront Company Facebook

Another long-awaited opening: Storefront Company in Wicker Park… and even better, this creation from the masterminds behind Debonair Social Club and chef Bryan Moscatello is now open! What you have to know: Chef Moscatello was a 2003 Food & Wine Best New Chef; Storefront is bringing a seasonal menu of farm-to-table goodness to the table; and the century old space features an enormous 34′ x 13′ mural by local artist Gary Weidner.

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Delicious DIRT. We Already LOVE

NOW OPEN: Brendan Sodikoff’s Done It Again @ Au Cheval

Bolognese w/ bucatini, charred tomato & parmesan @ Gilt Bar by MBK

Our lovely friend and insanely talented hot restauranteur, Brendan Sodikoff, (Gilt Bar, Maude’s Liquor Bar, Doughnut Vault,) has added another eatery to his fantastic mouth-watering resume. TODAY, Au Cheval, his classic diner with a gastronomic touch, opened in Chicago’s West Loop.  We can hardly contain our excitement!  Au Cheval is a dinner / late night joint, but Sodikoff hopes to eventually go 24 diner style.

This once gyro grease pit turned true beauty is not your typical diner folks…think more upscale local bordello you’ll want hit often (we already basically live at Gilt). The menu houses traditional diner items (patty melt) as well as more intense elaborate dishes (smoked whitefish pasta). Au Cheval is stocked with a full bar (36 draft beers), an open kitchen, menu items like chilaquiles (we die), burgers, melts, king crab, chopped chicken liver (think Jewish deli), fried-bologna sandwich, peppered bacon steak with truffle jus w potato purée, and classic eggs.  If you have not already left any diner stereotype you had at the door, you will.  Au Cheval is quickly becoming our new fave we crave.

***BONUS: eat/drink/be merry at Au Cheval TODAY and TOMORROW (Wednesday 2/22 and Thursday 2/23) and proceeds will go to Bright Pink and Heshima Kenya. 800 W. Randolph.

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Delicious DIRT. Get Dosed: Food and Fashion, One Sunday a Month

Dose Courtesy of Aaron Becker

You’ve spent many a Sunday trekking from Bucktown to Chinatown, Andersonville to the Gold Coast, and back again, in order to soak up everything Chicago has to offer. Life would be easier if there were just one stop.  CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

Fresh berries from Seedling Fruit

Dose Market is just that: The new food and fashion market takes place one Sunday a month at the River East Art Center. Heather Sperling (Chicago Editor, Tasting Table) and Emily Fiffer (DailyCandy Chicago Editor) helm the food end; April Francis (the Haute Closet) and Jessica Herman (Associate Shopping Editor, Time Out Chicago) add a healthy dose of fashion and design to the mix. The foursome’s goal is simple: to expose Chicagoans to the creativity that makes this city tick – and put Chicago on the map, once and for all.

Gluten-free salted peanut brownies from Defloured

At the July 10 market, Grant Achatz crafted complimentary cocktails for guests in the morning hours.

Grant Achatz concocted a custom Dose cocktail, based on his new Thai menu at Next.

Slightly sloshed, shoppers soaked up the booze with Fritz Pastry’s buttery croissants and smeared them with passion fruit lime curd from Rare Bird Preserves.

Fresh from the fryer doughnuts from Fritz Pastry.

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Delicious DIRT. Opening

Inside: Union Sushi & Barbeque Bar, D.C. Crenshaw, Brandon Baltzley, Ari Bendersky, Mike Schatzman, Worachai Thapthimkuna (Chao), Cheeky Chicago, James Goeke, Elevate Your Presence, Delicious DIRT, Food Mafia

Courtesy of Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar

We know you’ve been DYING to see the DIRT team’s pictures from Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar‘s Opening party… Here you go folks.   Congrats to friends Mike + Chao on a stellar space, divine unique cuisine (do not miss the Devon roll) and an overall awesome newbie resto!  Post will be updated with details + all our JUICE from the event.  For now –>  Wet. Your. Palate.


Union Co-Owner Mike Schatzman + Union Mixologist Quade Marshall @ Union

Opening signs @ Union

Chef Brandon Baltzley

Pure Deliciousness @ Union = Old City Market roll (inside): spicy tuna, seared salmon, spicy panzu, cilantro, green onion + fried okra. Plus our personal FAVE of the night: Devon roll (outside): sweet potato, curry mayo, chive and pickled radish. Divine Devon!

Executive Chef + Co- Owner of Union Chao w/ Scallop Roll

Hokkaido roll: grilled scallop, avocado, mayo, roasted pepper, jalapeno, @ Union

James Goeke & D.C. Crenshaw @ Union

Executive Chef Chao & Executive Chef Brandon Baltzley @ Union Party

D.C. Crenshaw Enjoying Union's Skewers

Going Going... Almost Gone! Union's chicken skewer + fish cake skewer with Wisconsin pepper jack cheese = surprisingly tasty.

Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar @ 230 W. Erie St.

Delicious DIRT. Now Open–> Doughnut Vault

Elevate Your Presence Newsflash — NOW OPEN —>> Doughnut Vault. In our all time top 5 favorite things = plain glazed doughnuts, fresh off the presses + smokin’ hot! What’s your crave? Thank you for the heads up Brendan Sodikoff, ♥ Elevate Your Presence. #DeliciousDIRT

Once you try a Doughnut Vault doughnut, you’ll never want to go back.
Photo By: Doughnut Vault

Courtesy of Doughnut Vault

Courtesy of Doughnut Vault

Get ‘em while you can… limited supplies each day… But follow D Vault’s tweets for alerts on our fave, our crave — when they’re fresh off the presses and you’ll feel like you just got lucky!!   Oh wait, you did.

Courtesy of Doughnut Vault

Courtesy of Doughnut Vault

Courtesy of Doughnut Vault

Courtesy of Doughnut Vault

Food PORN for all… now officially available at 401 1/2 N. Franklin in the Chi.

Delicious DIRT’s Chicago Resto Openings Update

Inside: To Open, Recently Opened, Been Open

Delicious DIRT. To Open

Fish Bar Lobster Roll, Courtesy of Myra Rubin

Delicious DIRT. Recently Opened

Delicious DIRT. Been Open. Old News

Breaker Breaker!!  Food Mafia’s live!! Check it on Eater and Thrillist.  Soon to come –>> 190 North feature.

Delicious DIRT’s Quickie Juice:

Newsflash: Boka Grp‘s Kevin Boehm announced via Twitter –> GT Fish & Oyster will open this Thursday in Chicago. Reservations start next wk, but walk-ins are welcome Thursday. Get there + taste the master, Giuseppe Tentoris cuisine –> sure to delight.

OYSTERS ANYONE? Elevate Your Presence ♥’s Shaw’s Crab House. Get there tonight if you’re able….

Photo by Shaw’s.  Stop by for a couple dozen fresh-shucked oysters tonight, a pint of Guinness and some great live Chicago Blues from Matthew Skoller and the Band.

Delicious DIRT. Juice, To Open, Recently Opened

Inside: Chef Shuffles, Tavernita, Perennial, Boka Group, Ryan Poli, Danny Grant, Ria, Balsan, Brandon Baltzley, Tribute, Kanela, Hubbard Inn, Towne in Boston, Britney, post-Fashion Week dinner spots, Eatocracy, Street Style, New York Fashion Week

Delicious DIRT. JUICE

If you have not heard by now, you must be hiding under a rock because it’s been the HOT topic of the week! @ryanpoli is leaving Boka Group’s Perennial March 7  to join Tavernita, which the Mercadito team will open this summer.  Our friends / owners of Perennial say a celeb chef is on the way but mum’s the word for a while.

Boston’s hottest resto, Towne Stove and Spirits, offers a dream-like experience. With their Alice in Wonderland-Esque kitchen, three “See and be Scene at” bars, and lobster menu with 11 different preparations of New England’s favorite delicacy to top off the whole experience, who wouldn’t fall in love with Towne Stove and Spirits? This is definitely on our list of New England restos to visit and we look forward to trying out the other delish offerings from the kitchen team including: an eclectic international menu of whole roasted local seafood, Peking chicken, steaks to share, tandoori meats, wood-fired rotisserie chicken and delish Persian rice.

Want more JUICE.  You’re in luck!

Delicious DIRT. To Open

Delicious DIRT. Recently Opened

Delicious DIRT. Weekly EVENTS. Too Many To Count

Delicious DIRT’s TO EAT This Restaurant Week

Delicious DIRT’s Juice: Vote Eatocracy Style, Girl & The Goat, Sushi Samba, Tavernita, Food & Wine, and Saveur

A Little Juicy Delicious DIRT: ING, Tribute, Whisky Fest and More


Elevate Your Presence is calling all Food Nerds, Chefs, and Cuisine Obsessives. Food Mafia is launching soon. To receive an exclusive invitation, email us @ Plus, send us your juiciest FOOD PORN and you might even get lucky…

Delicious DIRT. Upcoming

Heads up–>coming soon–>Elevate Your Presence‘s Delicious DIRT covers:

Inside: Frontier, Michael Kornick, Tru, Ari Bendersky, CC SKYE, Brandon Baltzley, Tula, Purple Pig, Food Mafia, Onie Bag

  • Frontier’s opening night – cocktails, oysters and 5 cheese Mac & Cheese– SHINES.

    Frontier's Mac & Cheese DELIGHTFUL BEYOND WORDS

  • Delicious DIRT contributor’s inside JUICE on the Tru experience.  AF’s day in Tru’s kitchen and night in the dining room.
  • Jose Cervante’s Pop Up dinner for his newbie, Tula Restaurante.  Oh and did we mention, hottie Brandon Baltzley cooked up a storm??

Stay tuned for all that and then some including Restaurant Week Juice….

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