— No one is hurt after a Tuesday night fire on Randolph Restaurant Row in the West Loop. The fire apparently started in a grease chute at Bad Hunter, according to the Chicago Fire Department. Flames spread to the roof shared by Bad Hunter, Lone Wolf, and Au Cheval. Diners were evacuated. Shortly before 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Chicago firefighters responded to a report of a structure fire at the restaurant at 802 W. Randolph Street. Passers-by mistakenly thought the blaze started next door at Au Cheval when they saw police stopping traffic at the corner of Halsted and Randolph. Au Cheval owner Brendan Sodikoff texted from Paris and said no one was hurt and that his restaurant wasn’t affected by the blaze. A spokesperson for Heisler Hospitality, the owners of Bad Hunter and Lone Wolf, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The extent of that damage is unknown.
UPDATE: Bad Hunter made a Facebook post stating the restaurant suffered some damage in the rear. They’re figuring out how long it will take to make repairs, but are closed until then. Pie pickup is taking place next door at sibling bar Lone Wolf.
— It sometimes takes a while for a restaurant to reopen after a fire. Take County BBQ in Little Italy. Ownership said they’re still on target to reopen the first week of December, two years after a fire forced the acclaimed DMK barbecue spot to close. They’ve released the menus for the relaunch. One of the bigger changes is that they’re going to focus more on catering. It’s also counter service using a meat and three format. Check the menus out below.
— Phil Tadros, founder of Bow Truss Coffee Roasters, scored a legal victory this week. It’s been a year since Tadros filed a defamation lawsuit against Crain’s Communications, alleging a profile unfairly ruined his reputation. On Monday, Judge James O’Hara denied Crain’s request to dismiss the case. That means a jury trial is in the cards. Tadros said the win “means a lot.” Former Crain’s reporter, Peter Frost, who’s named in the suit, declined comment. Crain’s editor Michael Arndt — who attended the opening of Rick Bayless’ new bar last week— is the chief defendant. He announced his departure from Crain’s last week. That move has nothing to do with the Tadros case.
— It’s been open for only a week, but Virtue welcomed a special customer. President Barack Obama, who was back in Hyde Park as his foundation held its summit, dined at chef Erick Williams restaurant. Obama seems intent in supporting South Side restaurants that don’t receive the same spotlight as its North Side peers. Perhaps Obama read Eater Chicago’s coverage of Virtue. Check out the photo with the staff and the president below. Happy Thanksgiving!