—In one of the stranger stories in recent times, Crocodile, a bar and lounge in the heart of Wicker Park that was popular for its DJ-fueled dance parties and free personal pizzas, quietly shuttered a few weeks ago — before a bartender under an apparent fake name that’s wanted for various alleged crimes temporarily reopened it. A pair of DNAinfo stories reveal that a man who has an extensive arrest record in Florida and skipped out on a pair of tabs in Wicker Park and Bucktown reopened the bar while the owner was "indisposed" — but that didn’t last long before he was exposed. In addition, it turns out that the state lists Crocodile’s business license as "not good standing" and it currently doesn’t even have a liquor license. Police promptly arrived on the scene and it’s now closed again.
—In less scandalous news, Shake Shack is releasing barbecue versions on Tuesday of a few items for a limited time. The "BBQ ShackMeister Burger," "BBQ Chick’n Shack," and "BBQ Bacon Cheese Fries" will be available at all U.S. stores, including the three Chicagoland locations (River North, Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, and Skokie). Check out a photo of the burger and chicken sandwich below.
—Eater 38 restaurant Sepia has a new acclaimed pastry chef. Sarah Mispagel, known for her desserts at the dearly-departed Nightwood, takes over for Cindy Shuman, the Tribune reports, and will also helm the sweets at Sepia’s forthcoming sister restaurant Proxi. Shuman was Sepia’s pastry chef for nearly nine years.
—After more than 20 years in Streeterville, Coco Pazzo Cafe has officially moved and combined with pizza-focused sister restaurant Tre Soldi at 212 E. Ohio St. It’s officially the relocated Coco Pazzo Cafe, combining with Tre Soldi, which is open in a smaller portion of the space.
—Wicker Park coffee shop and eatery Gallery Cafe (1760 W. North Ave.) is under new ownership who have added in-house coffee beans, art exhibits and installations, live music, yoga classes, and more. Perhaps the changes will result in more buzz for a spot that’s in a coffee-saturated neighborhood. For more on their events, including a gallery exhibition that kicks off on Feb. 11 and benefits the ACLU, go here.
—And finally, following an eventful 2016, Fat Rice has started 2017 by adding five interesting new dishes to its menu, including pork collar vindalho, Eurasian debal curry, and the hot buttered pancakes cocktail at adjoined cocktail bar The Ladies’ Room. Chef/owner Abraham Conlon says in a news release that, "this year, we’re going to focus on digging a little deeper to further explore the global influences of mainland Portugal, southern India, Malaysia, Africa and Brazil on Macanese cuisine."