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Dining news: Waldorf's new chef; Jane's for sale; Indiana pizzeria
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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—The Waldorf Astoria Chicago announced that Michael Vaughn will lead the culinary team as executive chef. Vaughn, a Chicago native, will oversee all conceptualization and creation of cuisine at Balsan, the hotel's bistro, and at Bernard's Bar. Vaughn will also lead the culinary charge on in-room dining and spa cuisine at the Waldorf Astoria Spa & Health Club.

—A Bucktown staple since 1994, the owners of Jane's at 1655 W. Cortland Avenue have decided to sell their business, noted. The business has been up for sale since the middle of last year, and is currently listed via Loopnet and the MRED for $299,000. Note: Jane's will continue to operate normally with regular business hours until it has been sold.

—Staytion Market & Bar is now officially open at Chicago's Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel, 1 W. Wacker Dr. According to a press release, "Staytion's eclectic menu features unique street food with a Chicago flair, specially handcrafted cocktails and local hops." Items include Greektown salad, Chicago chop salad, deep-dish egg pie, bison meatballs and Chicago-style roast beef sliders. Visit .

—Through Sunday, April 19, Evanston restaurant Koi ( 624 Davis St. ) is serving one if its most popular maki rolls—dragon fire maki—from the sushi bar for $11 to celebrate 11 years in business. The Dragon Fire Maki roll includes shrimp tempura with salmon, super white tuna, tobiko, green onion, spicy mayo and unagi sauce, then baked and served warm. Call 847-866-6969.

—A northern Indiana pizzeria that closed after its owner said his religious beliefs wouldn't allow him to cater a gay wedding opened to a full house of friends, regulars and people wanting to show their support, The Huffington Post noted. Kevin O'Connor closed Memories Pizza for eight days after comments by him and his daughter, Crystal, to a local television station supporting a new religious-objections law. A crowdfunding campaign started by supporters raised more than $842,000, with donations from 29,160 contributors in 48 hours.

—Motivated by the success of the Memories Pizza fundraising campaign, a suburban Chicago sausage stand has launched its own online push to raise money and to make a point about bigotry in the wake of Indiana's Religious Freedom Act, Eater Chicago reported. Big Guys Sausage Stand owner Brendan O'Connor said he doesn't want people think he's exploiting the situation just to raise money for his business. He pledges to donate any money received to charity, while hoping to attract business, including the chance to cater gay weddings.

—An item for vegetarians: America's Test Kitchen has released The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook. The 700-plus recipes show techniques for making boldly flavored main dishes, appetizers, soups and stews, pasta, pizzas and more. There are also vegetarian makeovers of classic comfort food—for example, mushroom Bolognese. About 500 of the recipes are for gluten-free items, and 250 are vegan.

—Amorino opens Wed., April 15, at 838 N. State St. The globally recognized gelato brand combines an European atmosphere with gelato flavors, Lavazza coffee drinks, gourmet chocolates and other sweet treats.

—This April 15, guests who visit Hard Rock Cafe Chicago, 63 W. Ontario St., and sing a song on the cafe stage will receive a free burger. "Sing for Your Supper" will take place at 5-7 p.m. Hard Rock Cafe Chicago's Local Legendary Burger features a patty topped with Italian beef, provolone cheese, giardiniera, roasted red peppers and au jus. In addition, there will be tax-day specials for bar guests.

—Fast-casual restaurant GRK Greek Kitchen has opened its fourth location, at 400 S. Wells St. ( The 6,600-square-foot building once housed the former Cal's Liquors store. ) The space includes a first-floor/street-level restaurant offering items from the existing GRK menu, including Greek frozen yogurt. The lower level has been converted into a commissary and catering kitchen.

—Luella's Southern Kitchen, 4609 N. Lincoln Ave., has updated some signature items with a spring focus, and is presenting several new dishes to reflect the season. For instance, chef/owner Darnell Reed has created a lighter rendition of his chicken gumbo ( $7 ), made with a dark roux, creole seasoning, andouille sausage and Carolina Gold rice. Alos, the braised shortrib mac 'n' cheese is now a dry-rubbed smoked brisket mac 'n' cheese ( $11 ). Visit .

—Peruvian restaurant Tanta, 118 W. Grand Ave., will host a master pisco sour mixology class on Sunday, April 19, 1-3 p.m. During the hands-on Peruvian cocktail class—located on the second floor in the private dining room—ticket holders can mix and mingle with Pisco Porton National Brand Master Natalia Cardenas and Master Distiller Johnny Schuler. ( There will aso be gift bags filled with bar tools. ) Tickets are $59 each ( exclusive of tax and gratuity ), and only 20 tickets are available; call 312-222-9604 or email .

—Chicago-based charity Avanse ( fka Charity4LIFE ) will continue its monthly happy hour on Tuesday, April 21, 6-9 p.m, at Municipal Bar + Dining Co., 216 W. Ohio St. Tickets are $15 online and $20 at the door. The series raises funds and awareness, and all proceeds are invested in programs that benefit the lives of South American and Caribbean street kids. Visit

—The Chicago Humanities Festival ( CHF ) will present Chicago pastry chef Mindy Segal on Wed., April 22, at 7 p.m. at the Bottom Lounge, 1375 W Lake St. The James Beard Foundation Award winner will discuss her upcoming first cookbook, Cookie Love, with WBEZ Chewing the Fat podcasters Louisa Chu and Monica Eng. Tickets are $8-18; visit or call 312-494-9509.

—Dining Out for Life will take place Thursday, April 30, in dozens of cities across the nation—including New York City, one of the newest locations to help in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Chicago will also be among the 60 sites involved. Visit .

—The Lincoln Square Ravenswood spring wine stroll will take place Thursday, April 30, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Dozens of businesses will be among the shopping/noshing stops, including Bistro Campagne, DANK Haus, The Chopping Block, Flirty Cupcakes, Hazel Apparel and Steve Quick Jeweler. Tickets are $40 in advance for one route, and $60 for all routes; visit .

—Green City Market, 1817 N. Clark St., will host top chefs from around the country when it opens its 17th season Saturday, May 2. In honor of the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards, visiting chefs will gather and be joined by Chicago's chef community at Green City Market beginning at 9:30 a.m. Green City Market board members and fellow past James Beard Award winners Sarah Stegner ( Prairie Grass Cafe and co-president of Green City Market board ), Carrie Nahabedian ( Naha and Brindille ) and Bruce Sherman ( North Pond ) are the hosting chefs.

—The local meal-delivery service Home Chef is offering new low-calorie and low-carb menu items. Each week, subscribers receive a new box of meals containing all the ingredients needed to create a healthy, chef-tested meal at home. As an added bonus, new customers can receive $20 off their first order, using the code HEALTHY20. Visit .

—Downers Grove restaurant Barbakoa will will host a weeklong celebration ( May 1-5 ) for Cinco de Mayo featuring a pig roast, dining and drinking specials, live music from the Sones de Mexico ensemble and other live entertainment. With Mexican and French influences meshed into his dishes, Executive Chef Dudley Nieto has created a prix fixe menu available for $33 per person. Visit .

—Rioja Wine & Tapas Festival will take place Saturday, May 2, at Union Station, 500 W. Jackson Blvd. ( The VIP tasting is 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., with general admission 1-5 p.m. ) There will be flagship wines from more than 50 wineries, and 30 U.S. chefs will prepare Rioja-inspired tapas. There will also be live music, a jamon bar, a cheese cave and more. Visit .

—Tavern on Rush, 1031 N. Rush St., will host its fourth annual Kentucky Derby Party on Saturday, May 2. Guests are encouraged to dress in honor of the Derby, as the best hat will be awarded a bottle of Dom Perignon awarded immediately after the race. The restaurant will celebrate all day with special $5 mint juleps.

—In celebration of the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby, Chicagoans are invited to Millionaire's Row at Chicago q, 1160 N. Dearborn St., on May 2. For $60 ( not including tax or gratuity ), guests can cheer on their favorite horse while indulging in Derby-themed specials. Chicago q favorites like bacon cheddar hush puppies, smoked deviled eggs, Benedictine sandwiches, hot browns and pulled pork sliders will be served. Call 312-642-1160.

—For Mother's Day, Filini Bar & Restaurant, 221 N. Columbus Dr., will offer options that include the brunch buffet, a la carte menu, and a special Mother's Day menu item. The brunch includes a special of salmon risotto with a saffron sauce and heirloom tomato compote, served with exotic mushroom risotto. The buffet option is priced at $27 per person ( exclusive of tax and gratuity ), and includes what a press release calls Mom's favorite breakfast item." Visit .

—Glazed and Infused is offering special Flower Doughnuts ( $2.50 ) for Mother's Day on May 9-10. Customers can also pre-order a flower "bouquet" for Mom, available by the half-dozen ( $15 ) or full dozen ( $27 ). Glazed and Infused doughnuts can be purchased at one of the shop's five Chicago-area stores, or can be ordered online at .

—The Langham, 330 N. Wabash Ave., invites families to spoil moms this year with a savory and sweet Mother's Day Brunch ( $125 per person ) on May 10, and a special treat from Chuan Spa. Brunch items include brioche French toast, red wine-braised shortribs, Atlantic salmon and a Blood Mary bar. Chuan Spa gift cards are valid May 10-June 30. To make reservations, call 312-923-9988 or visit .

—For Mother's Day, Sepia, 123 N. Jefferson St., is offering a four-course prix fixe menu. Guests begin the meal with assorted breads and pastries. The main course allows guests to choose between entrees like confit pork shoulder hash, crunchy French toast and chilaquiles. The final family-style course offers buttercrunch cake or a chocolate Bailey's tart. Call 312-441-1920.

—For Mother's Day, Bistronomic, 840 N. Wabash Ave., is offering a French-inspired brunch menu and bottomless mimosas 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on May 10. Among the many items will be asparagus veloute, Bistronomic deviled eggs, eggs Benedict, house-cured duck confit, spring crepes and strawberry Napoleon. The price is $42 for adults and $20 for children under 12 years of age.

—Wine Riot, a cross-country wine experience tour, is coming to the Great Hall at Chicago's Union Station on May 15-16. Hosted by Second Glass, Wine Riot gives attendees the opportunity to sample up to 250 wines from around the world. Attendees can even keep track of their favorite wines they sample using the free Wine Riot app ( available on iTunes and the Android App Store ). Visit

—The Roscoe Village Wine Stroll, sponsored by Lush Wine & Spirits in partnership with Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce, will take place Thursday, May 28. Attendees can try more than 40 different wines of the world, including reds and whites, and check out boutiques and businesses along the way. All wine stops are located on Roscoe Street and Belmont Avenue and a complimentary wine trolley circles around Roscoe Village for convenience. The cost is $45-$60; visit .

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