—Sarah Grueneberg's Italian hotspot Monteverde picked up a top national accolade this morning. Food & Wine named the West Loop stalwart one of the magazine's 10 restaurants of the year, saying "she and her team make some of the most outstanding pasta in the country."
—Giant, chef Jason Vincent's long-awaited first restaurant and return to a professional kitchen, is planning to open by the end of the month, DNAinfo reports. The story quotes Vincent and chef-partner Ben Lustbader about the food (expect "big comforting plates") and other tidbits. More to come before the opening in Logan Square.
—In other news on a highly-anticipated first restaurant by a star chef, Elske, the first restaurant from former Blackbird chef David Posey and former Publican pastry chef Anna Posey, is now slated to open in the fall. Read more about it here.
—It turns out that BYO restaurants that don't have liquor licenses can charge corkage fees—and have been able to for years—yet didn't due to "bureaucratic miscommunication," WBEZ reports.
—Graham Elliot will be a rotating judge on the forthcoming season 14 of "Top Chef," which is currently shooting in Charleston. The Graham Elliot Bistro owner left his six-year gig on "Masterchef" in July.
—Mirabell, the nearly 40-year-old German fixture in Irving Park, is finally under contract to a buyer, according to a real estate press release, and the longtime restaurant and beer garden held a going away party for longtime owner Jeff Heil this past Saturday. Heil announced the restaurant's closure in April 2015, backtracked to stay open will searching for a buyer, and reconcepted into M Pub while selling many items.
—Old Country Buffet is being sued by a group of former employees at the shuttered 6125 N. Lincoln Ave. location, alleging the restaurant violated federal act by telling them they were losing their jobs on the same day they closed the location, the Tribune reports. 92 Old Country Buffets closed on March 7.