Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Leona's chain plans to put more focus into urban areas, but Oak Park location on Madison Street still does well.
Crain's Chicago Business reports that the Leona's Restaurant chain is planning to close three of its suburban locations to focus more on its urban restaurants and delivery operation. Luckily, for fan's of Oak Park's Leona's, located at 848 Madison St., the restaurant might be spared the chopping block. Leona's owner and CEO Leon Toia told Crain's that he hasn't yet decided to close the Oak Park location, mainly because the restaurant's sales are similar to its eight locations in Chicago. The move to downsize comes from the brand's decision to focus on locations with greater opportunities for delivery and on smaller restaurants. According to Toia, locations in the city benefit from having a larger delivery base. Its Sheridan location in …
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…
Friday, January 25, 2013
ABC7's Steve Dolinski recently dropped by Piggyback Tavern in Forest Park. Watch it here.
Apparently, the Hound has been sniffing around Forest Park lately. Drawn by the scent of Piggyback Tavern's smoker perhaps. ABC7's Steve Dolinski, AKA, the Hungry Hound, had some high praise for the Forest Park BBQ spot recently. Head chef Jason Kurosaki told Dolinski that his BBQ roots run deep: the Arkansas native said he grew up on Memphis-style ribs and Texas brisket. "We try to do those really well," Kurosaki said. Kurosaki told us in an interview that he's not trying to reinvent the wheel, but just wants to provide great barbeque to Forest Parkers in our recent interview. You can read our interview with Kurosaki and Rachel Dennis, owner of Lake Street Kitchen + Bar in Oak Park, here. Check out our review of Piggyback just after it …
Thursday, January 24, 2013
This weekend, the menu at Shanahan's Creole Restaurant and Irish Bar gets hoppy.
Shanahan's Creole Restaurant and Irish Bar in Forest Park is cooking with beer this weekend—quite literally. The weekend's beer-centric menu features a range of hearty items designed to tempt you taste buds and make your winter weary soul happy. "It's January, so we're focusing on hearty dishes," said Randy Toledano, manager at Shanahan's. "We've got some interesting beers in this month." In addition to grabbing one of a variety of microbrews, Shanahan's is adding beer to pretty much all of it's weekend Beerfest menu options. For example, the cooks are serving up Corona beer battered shrimp, brown ale brined chicken wings with a Hacker Pschorr honey mustard sauce and Hacker Pschorr marinated grilled bratwurst. They're also mixing in some …
Friday, January 18, 2013
Berwyn's Autre Monde Cafe is back open and now serving an other worldly brunch on Sundays with a special food and cocktail menu.
Not only is the fantastically reviewed Autre Monde back in business after a July fire closed them down for several months, they've added to their menu and are now serving Sunday brunch too. The restaurant re-opened back in October, after a fire damaged their kitchen and backyard patio over the summer. A few weeks ago, they decided to start offering a new menu, specifically for diners looking for a little breakfast and a little lunch, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., on Sundays. New brunch menu options include Great Scrambled Eggs, made with Porcini mushrooms and a hint of black truffle oil; wood grilled bacon steak; French toast, studded with dried fruits; and Fennel sausage gravy, served with Swiss chard and brioche. Items like lamb hash and …
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Annual Opportunity Knocks Chili Cook-Off brings together local chili cooks and football fans this Sunday in Forest Park.
Chili and football: the two things go together like...well, chili and football! Opportunity Knocks presents its fifth annual Chili Cook-off and Raffle, from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20 at Healy's Westside, 7321 Madison St. in Forest Park. Football fans can enjoy a steaming bowl chili made by local cooks and the NFC Championship Game, between the Atlanta Falcolns and the San Francisco 49ers, which starts at 2 p.m. A total of 26 chili cooks have registered this year and three local celebrity chefs are ready to judge the contest. This year's judges include: A donation of $20 gets you a sampling of the area's finest chili, appetizers and dessert. For $10 folks have a chance to win a one-week all inclusive vacation to the Dominican Republic…
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Riddles Comedy Club opened their second location in Berwyn in November, Patch talks to the owner about what it takes to get up on stage and get laughed at.
There's only one profession I can think of where the best thing that happen when you speak in public, is to be laughed at. Public speaking hard—being a stand up comedian is harder. That's something that Ken Stevens, owner of Riddles Comedy Club, is familiar with. "As a kid, Johnny Carson was my idol," Stevens said. "In the old days, he'd have a comic on every night. I loved watching that." A class clown in high school, he seemed destined for a career in comedy. A teacher at his high school in Palos Hills even wrote in his yearbook that he was likely to end up there—and he did, but maybe not the way you would expect. After running a comedy club at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, Stevens decided to go into business for himself, and opened …
Monday, January 7, 2013
OPRF Infant Welfare Society Children's Clinic benefit will take place all day.
Whether you eat lunch, dinner, or get take out at Francesca's Fiore on Jan. 9, a part of your bill will go to a good cause. Francescas, 7404 W. Madison St. in Forest Park, will donate 15 percent of your bill to the Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society Children's Clinic. The clinic, entering its 95th year, serves thousands of underserved children from Chicago and 50 west suburban Cook County communities including Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park. For reservations at Francesca's Fiore, call 708-771-3063
Monday, December 31, 2012
Forest Park wine bar and restaurant celebrates the new year with five-course French menu paired with white wine.
Sticking around town this New Year's Eve? If you do, you're in for a treat at House Red Vinoteca, a Forest Park wine bar and restaurant. House Red will be bringing in the New Year with a French-inspired five-course prix fixe menu complimented by a series of French white wines. Diners will also enjoy music by the celebrated Cheryl Wilson Trio. Read our article about the new chef at House Red here. The star of the menu is Boeuf en Croute—a beef cheek braised in red wine and wrapped up in pastry dough and baked. The entree will be served with braised greens and a traditional Bordelaise sauce, and paired with a 2009 Chateau Plaisance Branne from Saint-Emillion. Other dishes on the menu include Bisque de Crevettes, a creamy broth with poached …
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Looking for a gift you can eat or drink, or give to a holiday party host? Check out our gift guide of local, small businesses in Oak Park and Forest Park.
In the last week, I've traveled to nearly every boutique, shop and store in Oak Park and Forest Park on the hunt for great holiday gift ideas. I've been amazed at the wide selection these stores have to offer and the great prices they offer their merchandise at. Shopping locally at small businesses saves money on shipping and gas, allows you to see and touch what you're purchasing and keeps your money in the community. We've managed to assemble a great collection of gifts that would look great in your home, or the home of friend. Many of these gifts are also priced right and are perfect for grabbing to give the host of a holiday party you're invited to. Here's what we found. Learn more about these businesses, give a review and find contact…