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An Acclaimed Chicago Chef and ‘Next Food Network Star’ Has Died

Plus, Nobu construction restarts and more intel

Judson Allen
Facebook/Chef Judson Todd Allen (Fan Page)

— Chicago native Judson Allen, the chef of West Loop restaurant Taste 222 who was a finalist on “The Next Food Network Star,” died over the weekend of a suspected heart attack at the too-young age of 36, according to multiple reports and the restaurant’s social media pages. Read more about Allen and his untimely passing in obituaries in the Sun-Times and the Tribune. Eaters can still taste much of his food as the restaurant remains open, where Allen reportedly created 75 percent of the menu.

— After multiple starts and stops, construction has resumed on Chicago’s long-awaited Nobu Hotel at 854 W. Randolph Street in the West Loop, Curbed reports. Reports of the star-studded hotel and namesake restaurant from chef Nobu Matsuhisa coming to Chicago date back as far as 2013 and a statement in 2014 pegged it to open in 2016. But construction stopped last November and there’s no word yet on a new projected opening date, although the construction restart is a good sign.

— Local breweries Horse Thief Hollow (Biere de Voleur) and Nevin’s Brewing Co. (Hook & Hatchet) won gold medals in this year’s World Beer Cup late last week. Two Brothers Brewing (Domaine DuPage) and Werk Force Brewing (Subtilus) won silver, while Half Acre (Tuna) took home a bronze.

— The owners of Chicago’s legendary Manny’s Cafeteria and Delicatessen are partners in a forthcoming new restaurant in Kansas City named Broadway Deli, the Kansas City Star reports.

— Former RedEye critic Michael Nagrant and former Chicago magazine dining editor Penny Pollack have launched a new podcast named “Dining Out Loud” that features restaurant reviews, interviews, and more. Check out the website here to listen to the first three episodes, which include a review of Brendan Sodikoff’s Radio Anago, and to subscribe.

— And finally, the national finals of the noteworthy all-female bartending competition Speed Rack come to Chicago on Tuesday, May 8. Julia Gordon (Lost Lake), Katie Renshaw (Drumbar), and Madelyn Kay (Beatnik) represent Chicago. Tickets for the event at Revel Fulton Market (1215 W. Fulton Market), which cost $30, are available here.

Half Acre Beer Company

4257 North Lincoln Avenue, , IL 60618 (773) 754-8488 Visit Website

Manny's Coffee Shop & Deli

1141 South Jefferson Street, , IL 60607 (312) 939-2855 Visit Website

Revel Fulton Market

1215 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (773) 486-9010


201 East Delaware Place, , IL 60611 (312) 933-4805 Visit Website

Taste 222

222 North Canal Street, , IL 60606 (312) 383-6620 Visit Website

Horse Thief Hollow

10426 South Western Avenue, , IL 60643 (773) 779-2739 Visit Website

Radio Anago

226 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654 Visit Website

Lost Lake

3154 West Diversey Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 293-6048 Visit Website


1604 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 (312) 929-4945 Visit Website