Warlord is the restaurant opening of the moment, and Nick Kindelsperger explains why, starting with Trevor Fleming, one of the three chefs behind it:

“We wanted something that was ours,” Fleming said. “We wanted the creative route. Instead of going to a big place where you have to follow all the systems, we wanted to open a small place where we could do what we wanted.”

…It gets more mystifying. Care to peruse the menu before visiting? Good luck with that. You won’t find it on the website, or on Warlord’s social media accounts. You could consult a menu uploaded weeks ago to Yelp, but know the chefs like to change it daily. In fact, sometimes they don’t even know exactly what will go on the menu minutes before service. “That’s the exciting part,” [co-chef John] Lupton said. “The restaurant is a living thing. Everything evolves constantly. You never really know what it will be.”


Steve Dolinsky visits the new, expanded (in many ways) Daisies:

But remember, it’s not an Italian restaurant.

“It’s more of the Italian philosophy for me, which is, you eat what’s in season, what’s around you, as simply as you possibly can with the best ingredients you can find,” said Chef-owner Joe Frillman.

In Spring, it’s ramps.

Dolinsky also was just in Copenhagen, and he has a video piece on smorrebrod and then on native South Sider Rosio Sanchez, who was pastry chef at Noma and is now introducing Mexican food to Danes.


Everyone has an opinion on Italian beef now, but Titus Ruscitti (still in Italy as I write) zigs where others zag by calling out variations on Italian beef at Rosie’s Sidekick in Logan Square:

There tends to be two types of Italian beef, three if you include the factory produced stuff. Beef from Italian beef stands and beef from Italian delis each have their own characteristics with deli beefs tending to be a thicker cut similar to roast beef. Rosie’s does what I would describe as a deli style beef. Another characteristic of deli style is sometimes to slice the beef to order before giving it a quick bath in the gravy. The beef stands tend to have more traffic so it doesn’t sit in the gravy as long and thus doesn’t need to be dropped to order. Rosie’s beef is very similar to hot roast beef. I’ve had it as is with hot peppers and it’s pretty good but I prefer “The Couch” which is a lesser seen combo when it comes to Italian beef. The Couch consists of beef and meatballs plus marinara and cheese and your choice of peppers. Rosie’s makes great meatballs (baked not fried) and the beef works well with them. I’m not sure it makes a meatball sandwich any better but it doesn’t make it worse. But if I had to pick between the two I would get the meatball over the beef. Then again meatballs just work better with marinara and cheese.


Ari Bendersky has a candidate for hot new Latin neighborhood—and you wouldn’t guess it offhand, but his case is pretty convincing (when you consider it has the new north side outpost of Birrieria Zaragoza). It’s Uptown:

A few years ago, Kie Gol Lanee opened just off Argyle on Sheridan, bringing something different to the area. This lively Oaxacan spot quickly became a go-to for high-quality Mexican food in an understated storefront. We were worried it may not survive the pandemic, but Michelin bestowed its spotlight on it and it continues to thrive today. If you’re a fan of tamales, tlayudas, rich mole sauce with flavors that just keep giving, and chapulines (fried crickets which, yes, are dammmmmn good. Seriously, they’re like eating little nutty snacks packed with protein), Kie Gol Lanee is a must. And they now have a full bar, which unfortunately replaced a coveted BYO option.

But there’s more, not just from Mexico.


Nick Kindelsperger tries 21 different types of retail hot dogs with Chicago connections to find the best. Some principles first:

First, I believe in the superiority of hot dogs with natural casings. Until the mid-1920s, essentially all hot dogs used natural casings, which come from the inner lining of animal intestines. But in 1925, a Chicagoan named Erwin O. Freund invented an artificial casing that was cheap and could be removed after the hot dog was cooked. It proved immensely popular.

He also believes in all-beef dogs—but is willing to accept something different, like the Duck Inn’s duck fat dog. Besides Duck Inn, I was happy to see my dog of choice on the list: the housemade old-fashioned wieners from Paulina Market. I have eight of them in my fridge for the 4th as I write this:

Paulina’s inclusion here isn’t much of a surprise. This venerable butcher shop has been refining its craft since 1949, and its textbook natural casing all-beef hot dog has everything you could want: a snappy natural casing, an extra beefy profile, a hint of garlic and a delicate smoke aroma at the end. While I’d prefer a slightly smaller size, I would never turn down one of these fantastic sausages.

Alas, he only gives his critique for his top choices—I’d have loved to know what else he found out there among the obscure store brands.


A piece at the Trib pushing Mexican and Chinese forms of barbecue. Okay, I know about all that, the best part is that they offer some choices of where to go in Chicago to find them, like Chile Toreado in McKinley Park:

“My father would make a beautiful barbacoa,” says Jaime Sotelo, owner and executive chef at Chile Toreado, a family-owned restaurant in McKinley Park that uses many recipes from Guerrero, a state in the south of Mexico. Most have been handed down from Sotelo’s parents and grandparents.

One of five brothers who grew up in a small village with no electricity or cars, Sotelo recounts his father’s traditional method of cooking with the underground pit by the light of a petroleum lamp.

“My father would cut ribs in pieces and blend all the combinations of chiles in a metate grinder to make a good marinade paste, while we’d put lots of wood in the ground oven to make it real hot,” Sotelo says.


Speaking of Daisies, The Infatuation has a review of the new location and menu:

The real standouts on the menu, though, are the housemade pastas, all of which feature vegetables heavily. Like the beet agnolotti (not something to order if you’re unsure of your opinion on beets) where the pasta dough is made with beet juice, there’s a beet and ricotta filling, and it all comes in a beet sauce. Apart from the slight risk of a beet version of the Kool-aid mustache, though, it’s fantastic. As is the bowl of potato-filled pierogies in a mussel and beer broth—like the non-pasta dishes, it highlights fresh produce while also incorporating meat or seafood elements.


Mike Sula on a new cuisine to Chicago: Sri Lankan.

South Indian food has a small but solid presence in Chicago’s culinary landscape, but until now there’s been nothing to represent the food of its southeastern island neighbor. Sri Lanka’s food is more intensely seasoned, more coconut-reliant (if possible) than, say, Kerala food, due to its proximity to the coastal spice trade. Consequently it features a distinct Indonesian and Dutch influence.

That changed with the opening of Cafe Nova near Loyola.


Froggy Meadow Farm is a vendor you may have noticed at Green City Market. This year’s drought could have done them in, but chefs rallied to support them, as Eater tells it:

While the burden lessened earlier this week as the area saw light rainfall, the dry conditions created a crisis for Jerry Boone at Froggy Meadow Farm in Beloit, Wisconsin: “Honestly, about a month or so ago, I was thinking about shutting the place down,” Boone says.

Froggy Meadow received a boost in June from fundraising efforts organized by famous restaurant customers including Lula Cafe, Obelix, and Smyth: “Once they got the thing going I realized it might be possible to save this place,” Boone says.

The drought has had a serious impact on the farm. Froggy Meadow’s entire melon crop is dead, and peas are about 1/10th of normal production, Boone says. Ginger is barely alive. Onions and shallots are struggling and even if Boone salvages any, they’ll be smaller than in past years. Boone, a fixture on summer Saturdays at Green City Market in Lincoln Park, is also known for his unique offerings, especially rare Japanese eggplants and peppers; there aren’t found grown stateside. The drought killed them, too.


Dennis Lee turns over The Party Cut to Whiney Moeller, who has a Substack called Dig In! and, more importantly, has views on gyros in Chicago:

I am here to challenge Dennis’ assertion that “The best gyros are just outside of Chicago.” The best gyros are available right here in the city, in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, at a restaurant called It’s Greek 2 U Grill (5449 N. Clark St.).

…The vibe may seem breezy, however, peek into the immaculate open kitchen and you’ll find Vicky and her team preparing your food with the efficiency and precision of culinary officers in a warship galley.

The combination of affection and exactitude is the reason the gyro (spelled phonetically as yeero) is a standout item on a menu full of outstanding dishes. It’s made with herb-seasoned pork belly that is sliced and stacked on a vertical spit. As the rotisserie slowly turns, the fat from this succulent cut of meat drips onto the layers below, developing a lacquered crust around the edges.


Here’s one I wasn’t expecting. A few years ago Chicago mag’s best new restaurants list included a Japanese izakaya in Wicker Park, called Yokocho. (Here’s the link to the piece, though it’s broken and I couldn’t get to the text.) I think it was actually closed by the time the issue hit newsstands. They promised to reopen soon, but it didn’t happen–and one assumed that COVID sealed that deal for good.

Well, here’s Yokocho, apparently the same one, now in the West Loop. They launched two weekends ago, with a sake dinner.


Did you recognize all the Chicago restaurants in The Bear? Axios has a piece pointing out the locations used, though the best part was talking to Michael Muser of Ever about kitchen protocol when the rather rough-edged cousin Richie goes to work there:

The character Richie trains at the fictional Ever and gets a small reprimand for cursing in the dining room but “foul language in front of a guest on the floor would mean removal from the floor,” Muser says.

In another scene he’s polishing forks and throwing them into a basket. “We would never allow that. It’s way too noisy.”

Though the piece doesn’t mention the location that stumped me at first. Sydney and her dad have a late night coffeeshop dinner, or something. There’s a sign on the building out the window that seems to say “Rave.” It finally dawned on me that despite the previous shots suggesting we were in the Loop, that’s the Raven Theater up on Clark in Edgewater—so it must be Alexander’s at Granville and Clark.

In other Bear news, Dominic Lynch asks, is the Bear the perfect TV show?

In season two, The Bear focuses its energy on character development. Carmy forms a real, loving, human relationship with childhood girl-next-door Claire (Molly Gordon). Richie’s first scene has him asking about one’s purpose in life — he is a fossil in this new restaurant world and he’s worried the team will cut bait with him when he’s no longer needed. Marcus is dealing with his ailing mother while also refining his pastry game by staging in Copenhagen. Sydney vacillates between menu and restaurant development and questioning her loyalty to Carmy; or, perhaps, his loyalty to her as a business partner. Sugar is pregnant and also working in an unofficial capacity as the restaurant’s project manager. Tina and Ebraheim are enrolled in culinary school at Kendall College. Fak, played very well by Matty Matheson, is Fak.

And one last beef item (h/t Eric Ziegenhagen): I haven’t been to that hot new Italian beef place in Navy Pier, because, well, Navy Pier, but Mario Ferraro, the owner of Ciccio’s, talked a lot of Italian beef history on WGN Radio here.

Fooditor will be off next week and return on the 17th.