A year ago, while doing a piece on Intro, I got to see the planned sushi space inside the former L2O private dining space—at that point the fixtures were all cardboard, a full-scale architectural model. The plan was to do it in partnership with Jason Chan and B.K. Park of Juno, to use Tock for reservations, to call it Nishiguchi—and to open in spring. Of 2015.

A lot happened—Chan left Juno, more recently Lettuce and Chan called it quits, and apparently Lettuce realized they already had a sushi chef in longtime Lettuce hand Naoki Nakashima of Shaw’s, plus a pretty good idea of where to get quality fish. So at long last, Naoki Sushi is set to open January 20—Tockless. One thing remains the same—to get to the room, you’ll go through the Intro kitchen. (Crain’s)


Two goodbyes in hotly competitive River North. The aptly-named but somewhat generic Epic gave up its quest and sold out to Hubbard Inn. (Eater) And au revoir to Paris Club Bistro, the remnant of the Melman Bros’ once-a-big-deal Paris Club (most of it became Ramen-San a while back). I had a tasty but noticeably half-hearted meal there once, and pretty much predicted its inevitable fate: it’s becoming a “rustic everyday” Italian restaurant, Il Porcellino, in case you’re really hungry for Italian food and your legs just broke between Bar Siena and RPM Italian.


Big happenings in the Rootstock alums world. Recent Rootstock chef Michael Simmons’ Cafe Marie-Jeanne, known as Calaugusta Cafe during development, has opened catecornered from Rootstock at… that’s right, California and Augusta. And one of his predecessors, Duncan Biddulph, who went to Kinmont and then Nashville, has come back to town to take over The Winchester… which is on Augusta. Eater has more.


I have to admit, I’m a little more disturbed than I expected by Alinea gleefully posting pictures of the demolition for its upcoming renovation. I’m excited to see where it goes… just, please, do not make a dish that looks like this pile of insulation.


Antique Taco is moving to Bridgeport—to take over an empty lot opposite one of our favorite old school Chicago joints, Johnny O’s. (At one point Johnny’s owner John Veliotis planned a healthier fast food joint for the same property.) Hard to think of anything that shows how Bridgeport has come back up in the world than a Wicker Park hipster taco spot popping up like a desert flower in the urban canyons of shuttered warehouse spaces down there.


Doug. At Publican Quality Meats. January 18. Big big line. Buried lede: The Publican will open for lunch that day too to absorb the overflow. (Time Out)


Despite a name that ranks with Florence of Oregano and Tucci Benucch among Lettuce’s corniest, Michael Nagrant raves about Lettuce’s new Oyster Bah: “It feels like a casual fish shack but sells pristine seafood prepared with impeccable technique at reasonable prices. Oyster Bah is a classic, one that will likely join the pantheon of other long-lived Lettuce spots such as Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba and Mon Ami Gabi.” (Redeye)


Everyone jumped on Latinicity as a lame food court, so you might have expected Mike Sula to deliver the moment of truth to this bull—but instead he offers a guide to a surprising number of standout dishes well worth your time: “A gloriously sloppy Sonoran-style hot dog ($6)… is worth all the chile mayo you’ll need to wipe off your gob… arroz aeropuerto ($14) is a frighteningly delicious soy-splashed, carb-loaded mess of crispy fried noodles and rice, chicken, beef, fish, and shrimp… The Brazilian-style Saladero Grill offers perhaps the best steak value in town: eight ounces of tender, beefy skirt steak drizzled with vibrant emerald chimichurri sauce ($11).” (Reader)


Shake Shack is just what Wicker Park deserves, but something even worse will apparently be replacing the Double Door, eventually. In the meantime, it’s not far to Red Hot Ranch on Ashland for a great burger. (Redeye)


Congrats to Time Out Chicago’s food editor Amy Cavanaugh, now off to (the wonderful, but trade focused) Plate Magazine. No word on a replacement yet.