GOLD COAST—Barbecue queen Lee Ann Whippen, formerly the pitmaster at Chicago Q, has landed as the new executive chef at the Chicago Cut guys' American restaurant The Local Chicago. Whippen, who started there as a consultant and took over the chef role at the end of 2015, is working on changing over the menu, adding dishes including the "Mac Attack" and a barbecue sundae.
RIVER NORTH/AROUND TOWN—After more than two decades as Rosebud's corporate chef (with a break in the middle), and opening his River North Italian seafood restaurant Joe Fish, Joe Farina is out at the nine-restaurant Chicagoland Italian group, the chef confirms. Farina rejoined Rosebud in 2013 and opened Centro (now shuttered) and Joe Fish (now Joe Fish Italian) in high-profile River North locations, as well as helping run the eight other spots. Neither Farina nor Rosebud commented on the reasoning for the move, and reps say his replacement hasn't been hired yet.
WEST LOOP—Randolph Street Spanish hotspot Salero has a new beverage director and some upgrades to the cocktail program. Dan Marunowski, formerly of Blue 13 and most recently Paramount Room, has taken over the position and added three types of interesting gin and tonics—integrating rosemary, elderflower tonic, lemongrass, grapefruit oil, fennel and vanilla—as well as creatively tweaking a sangria with a whiskey-based cider. Expect more new drinks to come.