— Yugen is the name of the forthcoming Japanese fine dining restaurant in the Grace space. Crain’s also reports that Jeanine Lamadieu (Smyth + The Loyalist, Le Bernardin) is its pastry chef, joining previously-announced chef Mari Katsumura (Gideon Sweet, Entente) in the kitchen, who’s working on a less-expensive menu than Grace that’s homey yet avant garde. An extensive renovation has come to its space to make it lighter and simpler than Grace, including changing the front waiting room into a separate dining area with small bites and late-night cocktails. It’s slated to open in October, so stay tuned for more details.
— Longtime Rogers Park all-day restaurant and community beacon Heartland Cafe is for sale, multiple publications report. But owner Tom Rosenfeld believes the options he’s giving prospective buyers will keep it in business, although it may relocate.
— Former porn star-turned-outspoken celebrity Mia Khalifa is a huge fan of Smyth. Khalifa visited John Shields’ two-Michelin-starred West Loop restaurant solo for the second time around a week ago, laying on superlative after superlative in an Instagram post.
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The first time I dined at @smythchicago, I flew up to Chicago for 18 hours just to experience @chefjohnshields brainchild. As a solo diner, you sometimes find yourself spending an exorbitant amount of time on your phone between courses, but not here. The staff becomes family faster than you can say “Omaha” on center. Before our waiter Cameron could even finish his “welcome back to Smy-“ we hear a cracking of a can of Miller Life ushered in by my favorite Somm @richieribando grinning from ear-to-ear. This is one of the few Two Michelin Star places you can quite literally “crack a few cold ones with the boys.” This level of comfort takes away all the pretension and makes you feel comfortable snort-laughing, and joking around at the table. Picking up food you’ve been given utensils for with your hands, and drinking Miller Light straight from the can as Uni and Foi are placed before you . If you go to @SmythChicago, please say hi to the sweetest general manager and my friend @officialchrisgerber for me, and the sweetest companion a solo diner could wish for: @rokhardallnite. I had brought @robertsandberg here like a kid leading his mom into Toys R Us (RIP) the morning after xmas with a big fat gift certificate burning a hole in his pocket. As each dish came I earnestly looked at him the way you do someone you’re showing what you think is “the funniest video” to on your phone. Mission accomplished, he loved it. We’re sitting in bed this morning reflecting on the dishes and perusing through the photos. Thank you thank you thank you to everyone involved in this special place, from @___the__farm___, to the waitress interning who overheard us questioning an ingredient and politely interjected to answer our curiosity. It takes a village to make any restaurant run, but this one just feels different than the rest. Congrats on two years, here’s to many more! . My menu favorites: Shima Aji ribs barbecued over spruce with kaluga caviar. Dungeness crab & foi with soft scrambled egg. Lightly steamed halibut with fermented green tea. . Shot on #SonyA7RII with FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA lens. Lightroom presets by @dcfoodporn
— The Stephanie Izard-curated Fulton Market Harvest Fest happens for the third time next weekend with a slew of booths from the neighborhood’s many acclaimed restaurants, demos from an impressive chef lineup, plus classes, dinners, and more. Tickets are available here, which start at $30 for general admission.
— A Northwest Side bar is temporarily closed for an unusual reason — it was struck by lightning. The Cabin at Old Irving plans to reopen on September 10.
— And finally, ownership of beloved Wrigleyville dive bar and Malort enthusiast Nisei Lounge say they sold the “record single gift card for a bar in Chicago.” The “Nisei Lounge Golden Pigskin Gift Card” allows its purchaser, a Roscoe Village attorney, to dictate the games shown on four TVs, choose which beer will flow from one tap, and have reserved seating for four every Sunday throughout football season for a cool $5,009.00.