—LEYE's Shaw's Crab House team is almost ready to unveil their new oyster spot in the former Coppervine space in Lincoln Park, but not without a change. Originally named Oyster on Halsted, the restaurant at 1962 N. Halsted will now be called Oyster Bah. Reps expect the opening within the next two weeks.
—Time Out Chicago has unveiled its annual list of the year's 100 best dishes and drinks, and the 2015 edition includes the ice cream and french fries at El Ideas, Bohemian House's pork schnitzel, and many more. Time Out national also released a listicle on America's 20 best Italian restaurants, which includes Osteria Langhe (15) and Cafe Spiaggia (17).
—Longtime Lakeview counterculture retail mainstay The Alley is sadly shuttering after 39 years on Clark Street, but ownership is hoping to open a multi-use spot in Avondale that will not only include retail and entertainment but also a coffee shop, beer and cocktail bar, and food truck space named Alley 1776, according to multiple reports.
—Joe Cecchini, chef de cuisine at the recently-opened North Shore Italian restaurant Ballaro, was victorious on last night's episode of the Food Network show "Chopped." Cecchini cooked three dishes in the mac and cheese-themed edition.
—Bloomberg critic Richard Vines recently payed a visit to Chicago, and came away with an interview with Grant Achatz and "Nine Chicago Restaurants to Try." Despite a healthy New York bias (he starts the story by writing that Chicago "lacks the gastronomic ambition and international reputation of New York"), he was impressed with new hotspots GreenRiver and Cantina 1910 as well as older favorites Au Cheval, Girl & the Goat and Pequod's. Check out the story for the full roundup.
—Chicago-based Middle Eastern chain Naf Naf Grill is getting set to embark on a large East Coast expansion based in Philly, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports. Naf Naf ownership is hoping to open 10 spots there by the end of 2016 and 25 in the next five years. It'll have 17 Midwestern locations open by the end of December.