—After Sepia’s wine program garnered multiple James Beard Award nominations the last few years, the man behind the program has picked up a major individual award. Arthur Hon, the longtime West Loop standout’s beverage director, has been named a sommelier of the year by Food & Wine, which describes him as "a perpetual student, and his wine program evolves constantly." The Tribune caught up with Hon, who tells the paper that "I like for my work to speak for me...I’m constantly doing what I believe." Check out the full list to see the other seven acclaimed sommeliers from around the country.
—Although Chipotle just pulled the plug on its Asian spinoffs Shophouse last week, another chain has already purchased the restaurants. Bibibop Asian Grill, an Ohio-based 12-restaurant operation, has taken over all 15 of Shophouse’s leases around the country and are planning to open new restaurants in all the locations by early summer, Nation’s Restaurant News reports. The Chicagoland spots were at 24 E. Jackson Blvd. in the Loop and 1022 N. Meacham Rd. in Schaumburg. Click here for more on Bibibop’s concept and menu.
—Edgebrook restaurant The Elephant Thai Cuisine sadly went up in flames last night and is closed. No one was hurt in the blaze at 5348 W. Devon Ave., according to the Trib, but a deputy district fire chief tells the paper that damage was extensive and "they are going to be out of luck for a while." The restaurant posted to its Facebook page that it’s "temporarily closed until further notice."
—Porkchop has closed its South Loop location at 555 S. Dearborn St., according to Sloopin, which noticed a for rent sign in the window and another sign stating it moved to 29 E. Adams St. Both locations are currently listed on the local barbecue chain’s website.
—And finally, Serious Eats/Food Lab's Kenji López-Alt is back at taking big swipes at Chicago pizza. Lopez-Alt took to Twitter this weekend to rank pizza styles, where his trolling incited social media venom by listing "good Chicago" pizza fifth and "most Chicago" pizza tenth, after "etc. etc." He then elaborated by tweeting there is only one "good" Chicago pizzeria "and it isn’t in Chicago." Ouch. Lopez-Alt caused a similar uproar back in September 2015.
Best pizza styles by rank: New York, New haven, neapolitan, Detroit, good Chicago, bar, Roman, etc., etc., most Chicago, Greek, California.— J. Kenji López-Alt (@kenjilopezalt) March 20, 2017