—Belinda Chang, one of the top sommeliers in the country, no longer works at steak-driven hotspot Maple & Ash. Chris Gerber, a veteran of many top Chicago restaurants who most recently was the director of service at The Aviary and Next, has replaced her, the Tribune reports. Chang — lauded for her experience at Charlie Trotter’s and won a James Beard Award during her time at Danny Meyer’s The Modern in NYC — tells Eater that "I am very proud of what we accomplished with the opening and the first two years (of Maple & Ash) and feel that I leave the restaurant in an awesome place. I know that Maple & Ash will stand the test of time." Stay tuned for her next move.
—Could the one and only Lagunitas Brewing Company add a rooftop bar to its Chicago brewery and taproom? Ownership is hoping to, according to Curbed Chicago, as they’re applying to implement the addition as well as expand bottling and storage capabilities. Stay tuned. Lagunitas previously added a concert/event venue to its Chicago home.
—Tony Hu, the chef/owner of a host of Chicago’s best Chinese restaurants who became known as the "Mayor of Chinatown," reported to medium-security federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. on Feb. 16 to serve his one-year sentence for fraud and money laundering, the Sun-Times reports. His fellow inmates could get a better eating experience if Hu is assigned to kitchen duty.
—Takos Koreanos, a Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant that opened in August 2014 at 1706 W. Foster Ave., plans to shutter within days. The restaurant revealed that February would be its last month in business due to "a dispute with our landlord that cannot be resolved" but announced yesterday it would remain open "for the next couple of days."
—Rub’s Backcountry Smokehouse, the popular barbecue restaurant in Rogers Park from The Budlong owner Jared Leonard, closed for "the next few weeks" to change names and remodel. Leonard plans to reopen it by the end of March as BBQ Supply Co. with a new retail section and expanded menu.
—The Loyalist, the hotspot bar and eatery below Michelin-starred Smyth in the West Loop, is now serving food until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. John and Karen Urie Shields’ new late-night menu includes "fancy" chicken glazed with chicken liver foie gras mousse and homemade hot sauce served with rice grits and fried egg, as well as its lauded cheeseburger.
—And finally, CraftBeer.com named its best beer bars in America this week, which features 50 bars — one for every state. Congratulations to Links Taproom in Wicker Park, which the online magazine chose as the best beer bar in Illinois.