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Four Chicago Restaurant Staff Shuffles to Know

Katana has hired a pair to handle drinks and Danny Espinoza has a new job

Kyleen Atonson
Courtesy of Honey’s

RIVER NORTH— Katana, the massive LA-imported Japanese restaurant and lounge coming to the former Bin 36 space inside Marina City at 339 N. Dearborn St. has made two more staff additions. Management has brought in Michael Simon as beverage director. Simon’s resume includes stops at Acadia, The Black Sheep, Carriage House, The Bedford, Qui, Charcoal Bar, Celeste, and Roof at The Wit). His experience at Charcoal Bar, underneath Sumi Robata Bar, will come in handy. That’s where he learned about Japanese bar culture.

Management has also hired Dila Lee to oversee the restaurant’s sake program. Lee will work as senior manager and sake specialist. She comes from San Francisco’s Ozumo, a posh Japanese restaurant that opened in 2001. The restaurant is known for an impressive sake list, along with a nice view of the Bay Bridge. Lee also worked at Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco.

FULTON MARKET— There’s a new pastry chef at Honey’s. Kyleen Atonson has worked at Everest, GT Fish & Oyster, and the MCA. She’ll bring a passion for classical French pastries to Honey’s with items like a black sesame tart with creme, toasted chickpea crust, charged banana, black lime, and cassis sorbet.

SOUTH LOOP— Danny Espinoza, the former Dinner Lab chef and consultant behind Holy Taco! in Lincoln Park has a new job. He’ll be the chef at the new Mexican spot from the team behind Scout. The name of the restaurant will be Lobo Rey (Wolf King), according to Chicago. Espinoza, who was on Top Chef Mexico, told Eater Chicago that he’ll even be doing seasonal tlayudas. Espinoza said tlayudas are better than pizza. Of course, Vice is jumping on the trend so it must be true, he adds.


93 Scott Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237 (347) 669-1473 Visit Website


339 North Dearborn Street, , IL 60654 (312) 877-5544 Visit Website