Sunday, February 10, 2013
Scratch Kitchen and Lounge in Forest Park is open for business with the restaurant's grand opening to come later this month. Patch took a seat the bar recently for a burger and some mac and cheese. Here's what we thought.
The name says it all at the newly opened Scratch Kitchen and Lounge, 7444 Madison St. in Forest Park—even the ketchup and mustard is made from scratch, in-house. Although only sporting a preview menu before their grand opening in mid-February, Scratch has the potential to become a neighborhood favorite with its focus on locally sourced, house-made burgers and mac and cheese. Owner and chef Patrick O'Brien has deep roots in the area, having grown up in River Forest. Although Scratch is his first foray into the restaurant business on his own, he's helped launch several popular local spots, including Avenue Ale House in Oak Park and Francesca's in Forest Park. O'Brien has big plans for his new establishment, even if those plans call for …
Thursday, February 7, 2013
The fun starts at Shanahan's Creole Restaurant and Irish Bar this weekend and continues through next week at FitzGerald's Nightclub.
Stir up a sezerac and bust out the king cake—Mardi Gras is almost here. While the local celebration doesn't heat up as much as it does in good ol' New Orleans, there's still going to be plenty of celebrating going on around town. Festivities kick off this weekend at Shanahan's Creole Restaurant and Irish Bar, 7353 Madison St. in Forest Park. Shanahan's will have a special Mardi Gras menu up from Feb. 8-12. The Mardi Gras menu includes, jambalaya; shrimp creole; crawfish etouffee; red beans and rice; gumbos; shrimp, oyster or catfish po'boys—even alligator picante, which is alligator and shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce served over rice. The Southern Comfort girls will be in house on Feb. 12—also known as Fat Tuesday. Shanahan's hurricanes …
Friday, February 1, 2013
Scratch Kitchen and Lounge in Forest Park is now open and serving. Get a first look here.
Scratch Kitchen and Lounge is Forest Park's latest restaurant with a downtown feel to open up on the Madison Street strip. I took it for a test drive on Thursday, and was definitely pleased with what I experienced. The menu is still small, but that's actually kind of the point. A few more options will be added down the line, but the owner and chef tell Patch they would rather be really great at a few things, then just throw as much on the menu as possible. I'm not going to give too much away. You'll have to wait until early next week to read our profile on the owner (he's got deep roots in the area) and our review of the food. What I will say is that they do what they do right. I can say with some certainty that this place will soon become…
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Scott Kupferschmidt, the new head chef at Forest Park specialty wine store and restaurant, House Red Vinoteca,—is approaching food from the bottle first.
While his kitchen may be small, that hasn't kept Chef Scott Kupferschmidt from thinking big. Kupferschmidt is the new(ish) chef at House Red Vinoteca, 7403 Madison St., recruited in October to bring new life and ideas to the ever-expanding menu and restaurant focus that is growing to define the wine boutique. "We've continued to shift the focus more and more towards the restaurant," Kupferschmidt said recently at House Red. "As a result people are coming in with a different expectation and we're always trying to surprise [customers] with something new and different from what else is on the street." Kupferschmidt seems to be the perfect chef to recreate the menu at the wine-focused business. Between culinary school and working at various …
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Maya Del Sol will be celebrating the end of the world—as predicted by the Mayan calendar—with a party, so you can go out with a blast!
How do you celebrate the end of the world? Throw the biggest party of your life, of course. That's what Oak Park's Maya Del Sol is doing for Friday, Dec. 21 this year—the date predicted by the ancient Mayan calendar for the end of the world. "As a restaurant called Maya we felt it was important to throw a huge party for the end of the world," said Paul Abu-Taleb, manager at Maya Del Sol. At Maya, the thinking goes, if you're going to go out, you might as well go out in style. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 21 and will include three bands, multiple chef's stations from some of Chicago's top restaurants (more on this later this week) and an ice sculptor flowing with margaritas. The event costs $85 for the public and $75 for members …
Monday, December 3, 2012
Piggyback Tavern is now open in Forest Park featuring barbequed meats, delicious sides and strong cocktails.
Piggyback Tavern: barbequed meat in a cozy setting. I could end the review right there and it would be enough, right? If I did, it would probably still bring in for a visit, but it wouldn't do justice to the expansive and varied menu of appetizers, entrees and drinks available at the new Forest Park BBQ joint. Although Piggyback is brought to you by the same owner of Lake Street Bar + Grill in Oak Park, the vibe and menu is decidedly different. When I talked with Jason Kurosaki, head chef at both restaurants, back in October for a preview article on the new dining establishment, he assured me that Piggyback was all about the staples and the basics. "We want to do BBQ really well, not reinvent the wheel. It's perfect as it is," Kurosaki …
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Circle Theatre in Oak Park has announced that it will be leaving the village for rented spaces in Chicago.
Oak Park will soon bid adieu to the Circle Theatre, 1010 Madison St. in Oak Park. According to the Forest Park Review, the theatre announced on Monday that it will soon leave the rented space they held performances at on Madison Street for the city of Chicago. Kevin Bellie, artistic director, told the Review that the troupe will now need to work to convince Oak Parkers to make the short commute to Chicago, instead of the other way around. The group plans to focus on four shows per year that will be held at various rented spaces in Chicago. To read the full story on the Forest Park Review, click here.
Friday, November 16, 2012
The Annual Holiday Lights night on Harrison Street brings bands, openings and special sales on Friday and Saturday.
The cafes, boutiques and galleries will glow on Friday evening in the Oak Park Arts District on Harrison Street for Holiday Lights, the district's annual shopping and open house event. Holiday Lights kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16 and runs until 10 p.m. Can't make opening night? No worries, Holiday Lights will continue on Saturday too, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The boutiques and galleries that line the street will be offering special entertainment and sales to draw customers looking to get started on their holiday shopping lists. Musical entertainment will be provided at The Eastgate Cafe, The Buzz Cafe and Val’s Halla. And, if you're looking for a stocking stuffer for your favorite rock and roll fan, Val's will also be holding a …
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Owners say Forest Park's Piggyback Tavern will offer an experience like no other around town.
Sometimes the right place to open your business finds you. When that's the case, plans are thrown to the wind and you just get things done. That's according to Lake Street Kitchen + Bar owner, Rachel Dennis about her new Forest Park restaurant and bar, Piggyback Tavern, 410 Circle Ave., set to open in mid-November. "I might not have done another [restaurant] so soon," Dennis said recently at Lake Street Kitchen + Bar. "But I just loved the space." Dennis first saw Piggyback's home when she was scouting locations for Lake Street Kitchen + Bar, but the space was unavailable at the time. When an opportunity came to take it over, Dennis jumped in feet first. "[Piggyback] will be a place you can go for excellent food and drink, but it will be …
Monday, October 22, 2012
FitzGerald's hosts the Chicago premiere of 'Charlie Louvin: Still Rattlin’ The Devil’s Cage' followed by musical performances to honor the late country singer.
Those mood for some classic country can get their twang on this Thursday, Oct. 25 at FitzGerald's Nightclub in Berwyn as they pay special tribute to a late, great of the genre—Charlie Louvin. FitzGerald's will begin their tribute at 8 p.m. with the Chicago premiere of the documentary, Charlie Louvin: Still Rattlin’ The Devil’s Cage. The film chronicles Louvin's more than 50-year career in music and includes musical performances and interviews with George Jones, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Marty Stuart and John McCrea from Cake. The film's editor, Todd Tue, will also be on hand to answer questions about the film. Following the film screening, The Louvin Lovers and Morning Shower Scotch will perform classic Charlie Louvin songs and other …