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DINING Restaurant closings, Portsmith dinner, Le Colonial
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-01-01

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—The owners of Schaumburg's El Meson Mexican Restaurant, which had been in business for nearly 30 years, permanently closed their doors at the end of business on New Year's Eve, The Daily Herald noted. Owner Juan Soto said his decision was based on both his wife Linda's not feeling well this year and the increasing competition in the area.

—Also, Italian restaurant Sabatino's served its last meals Dec. 23 after announcing it would close back in August, Eater Chicago noted. Owners Angelo and Enzo Pagni ran Sabatino's since 1977, and they thanked customers one last time via a message on the marquis outside.

—Portsmith, 660 N. State St., is partnering with Children First Fund and Chicago Public Schools for a one-night-only La Bestia Dinner on Thursday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m. Chef Nate Henssler wanted to create a dinner that gives thanks to immigrants in the United States and has chosen six cities along the La Bestia train route as inspiration for the six-course dinner. The menu starts in Tapachula, in the state of Chiapas, with a striped bass crudo ( heart of palm, roasted chili, avocado, corn pudding, cacao dressing ) and ends in Nogales, Sonora, with a Mexican Coke float ( churro, cinnamon ice cream ). Reservations are available on Yelp Reservations for $100 per person.

—Operating Partners Rick Wahlstedt and Joe King of Chicago's Le Colonial restaurant, 937 N. Rush St., announced that the French-Vietnamese spot will continue serving at that location through January. Le Colonial is slated to open at 57 E. Oak St. in early winter 2019.

—Logan Square spot Fat Rice is adding a 4-percent surcharge to all customer checks to help pay for employee health insurance and boost the wages of kitchen staff, The Chicago Tribune noted. "This is a massive risk for us," said Fat Rice chef Abe Conlon, who opened the Macau-inspired restaurant with business partner Adrienne Lo. "But hopefully we are established enough that we are able to do this without major hiccups."

—Big Star, 3640 N. Clark St., is now serving brunch. The menu—created by Executive Chef/Partner Paul Kahan and Brand Chef de Cuisine Julie Warpinski—includes items such as chorizo mulas made with house-made corn tortillas, fluffy scrambled eggs, pinto beans, salsa chipotle and queso chihuahua; griddled avocado huarache, a masa cake topped in grilled queso adasero, crema and spicy salsa macha; and others. Bloody Maria and the Jalisco Sunrise are among the cocktails. Visit BigStarChicago.com/wrigleyville.

—urbanbelly and Chef Bill Kim will bring back their event, Ramenfest, 12-3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 1400 W. Randolph St. This year's participants include chefs from restaurants such as Oriole, Smyth + The Loyalist, Somerset, Aba, Monteverde, Lula Café, Honey Butter Fried Chicken and more. Tickets are $75-$125 each; visit https://ramenfest2019.brownpapertickets.com/.

Send items to Andrew@WindyCityMediaGroup.com, or follow on Twitter @Azygous60610 or on Instagram at azygous333.


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