— The new restaurant at the renovating Theater on the Lake, the previously-seasonal thespian outlet on Fullerton and Lake Shore Drive, will have a big-name chef when it hopefully reopens in late summer or early fall. Cleetus Friedman, known for his work at City Provisions and Fountainhead, has signed on to lead its new 125-seat restaurant named The Lakefront, Chicago magazine reports. In addition to a full sit-down menu full of Friedman’s fun comfort food twists, the space will include a 100-seat patio and lawn where he plans to have food carts, as well as an event space for cooking demos, dinner series, and more. The new performance venue will seat 330 people, DNAinfo reports.
— Esquire magazine has unveiled its annual best bars in America list, and two Chicago spots make the cut — both by the same group and same cocktail guru. Paul McGee and Land & Sea Dept. swept the local inclusions with Lost Lake and Milk Room. Check out the full list from around the country here.
— Bar hoppers near River North’s Hubbard Street strip get an easy new snack option this weekend: dim sum from Imperial Lamian’s new walkup window. Set to fully debut Saturday night, the window will offer bao, fried wontons, fried noodles, fried rice, and pumpkin puffs from 10 p.m. until midnight on Thursdays through Saturdays, according to a news release. Stop by tonight for free tastes.
— Opart Thai continues to have more trouble with the health department. After inspectors shut down the popular Lincoln Square Thai spot more than a week ago, the restaurant also failed a follow-up inspection and a sign on its door says it’s closed “until further notice,” DNAinfo reports. Paper now covers its windows too, which is rarely a good sign.
— The Lincoln Park storefront of Frozen Foodies, the chef-driven frozen meal company, is no more. The space at 2201 N. Halsted St., which was lined with freezers of food from local star chefs Lee Ann Whippen, Rodelio Aglibot, and Lettuce Entertain You, is closed up and covered with paper. The company, which is based out of suburban Burr Ridge, still exists, however. Owner Steve Menza of Menza Foods called the concept “a complete game-changer in the food industry” in this preview story back in June 2015, but the store was rarely seen busy.
— Lyfe Kitchens in Chicago are overhauling nearly half of their menus beginning today. The new menus feature more than 15 new dishes, according to a rep, including...poke bowls. Did you realize poke is trendy? Check out a photo of one of them below.
—And finally, Saturday is South Siders’ last chance to visit Joseph’s Restaurant and Bar in Mount Greenwood. The six-year-old spot at 3123 W. 111th St. will shutter following its owners death on May 6, DNAinfo reports.