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‘Chicago’ Magazine’s Long-Time Dining Editor to Retire + More Intel

Plus, Rick Bayless will offer culinary training to West Side students

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Penny Pollack
Courtesy of Tronc
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

—It’s the end of a 30-year era for Chicago’s food and dining media. Chicago magazine dining editor Penny Pollack has announced her retirement. She joined the magazine in 1987 and worked her way to the top of the dining section. Pollack’s had her present job title since 1994. In her retirement announcement, the 70-year-old writes that she still gets excited to attend new restaurant openings and that she doesn’t understand why diners don’t want to complain about at a restaurant. Diners didn’t have Yelp to complain in the privacies of their own homes when Pollack started. The Tribune’s Phil Vettel caught up with his one-time rival. She said that she has a Halloween costume planned: She’s dressing up as Vettel. Maybe it wasn’t a joke? Her last magazine piece will run in December.

Rick Bayless wants to address the shortage of cooks in the industry by training culinary students from the West Side, ones who live in some of Chicago’s tougher neighborhoods. He’s launching a culinary training program in fall 2018 at The Hatchery, an upcoming food business incubator run by a trio of nonprofits in East Garfield Park. Curbed Chicago has renderings. Minorities struggle more with getting small business loans compared to white people and The Hatchery wants to help would-be restaurateurs by giving them better access to resources. Under Bayless’ program, students will pay a “nominal fee” to learn knife skills and basic cook techniques. A star-studded list of chefs have expressed interest in Bayless’ project. A press release lists Paul Kahan, Grant Achatz, Stephanie Izard, Jason Vincent, and Bill Kim (among others). The list also includes Cosmo Goss. While this is a positive idea for the community and industry, it also reminds Chicago about its lack of diversity in the restaurant world. Of the 21 chefs there are four women (Izard, Christine Cikwoski, Genie Kwon, Abra Berens). The neighborhoods the program aims to help are primarily African American. The list includes one African American: Erick Williams of the shuttered County BBQ and mK the Restaurant. Perhaps the program can help in that department.

A rendering of The Hatchery
Image courtesy of Wight & Company/Curbed Chicago

—An Edgewater brunch favorite secured its liquor license earlier this week which has prompted a slight name change. The Growling Rabbit, 5938-40 N. Broadway Street, eatery is now The Growling Rabbit Pub with a full arsenal of beer and liquor; they’re no longer BYOB. Check out the menu, which includes signature cocktails, below.

—There’s more details on the weekend shooting in Greektown outside Taco Burrito King. Besides the alleged gunman, two more have been charged, according to The Tribune. Two of the men arrested were convicted of second-degree murder the dates back to 2008. Friends of the 17-year-old slain man recognized the convicts, and that triggered the fight.

The Alinea Group, the company that includes Alinea, Next, The Aviary, and Roister, has launched a new website. Find out how to get an event catered by chef Grant Achatz and Co., and more.

Urban Crosta, the Streeterville pizzeria that opened earlier this year is now serving weekday lunch starting at 11:30 a.m. daily. They’ll have their usual thin crusts, salad, plus three sandwich options. Check out the menu below.

mk The Restaurant

868 N Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610 312 482 9179 Visit Website

The Aviary

955 N. Morgan St & W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 Visit Website


1475 W Balmoral Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640 773 334 7168 Visit Website


951 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 789-4896


1723 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 Visit Website

Taco Burrito King

114 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 526-3258 Visit Website