Also in this week's newsletter: Blu 57, Veruca Chocolates, The Whistle Pig, Salero
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{ DISH }

August 2, 2017

By Penny Pollack, Carly Boers, and Carrie Schedler

The Capone at Honeygrow

The Capone at Honeygrow Photo: Courtesy of Honeygrow

Prepare for Pastas, Stir-Fries, and a “Honeybar” at Honeygrow

Another week, another Fulton Market restaurant hits the scene: This time, it’s Honeygrow (179 N. Morgan St.), a Philly-based company known for its customizable stir-fries, salads, cold-pressed juices, and honeybar (more on that later). It debuts Friday, and is the nineteenth location (the first in the Midwest) for the counter-service chain, which has been around since 2012.

Culinary director David Katz applies a fine-dining background (he previously owned the Philadelphia restaurant Mémé) to the menu, using fresh produce (the restaurants don’t even own freezers) and ingredients sourced locally whenever possible.

“I really liked what Honeygrow and Justin [Rosenberg, the company’s founder and CEO] were doing,” Katz says of why he came aboard in 2015. “Everything fresh. Making all the sauces and all the dressings. It’s like fine dining minus the server,” he adds.

Katz has taken it upon himself to gift each Honeygrow city with its own special stir-fry flavor. For Chicago, this proved challenging: “Chicago is an interesting one. Italian beef, hot dogs, deep-dish pizza: You can’t really do a stir-fry out of those. So we decided to move away from food and on to Chicago icons: Cubs, Ditka, Jordan. My assistant brought up Capone, and we finally settled on a ‘spaghetti’ dish.”

Prepare to meet the Capone: egg white noodles with a tomato-basil sauce incorporating Butcher & Larder’s Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, organic baby spinach, red onions, grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and Parmesan. Salads, like stir-fries, can be ordered in pre-set flavor combos or customized via a proprietary touchscreen kiosk ordering system.

Honeygrow’s pièce de résistance, however, is arguably the “honeybar”—a create-your-own bowl of fresh fruits and toppings such as plain yogurt, dark chocolate chips, granola, coconut shavings, house-made whipped cream, and the restaurant’s namesake. “You create the bowl and we drizzle local clover, wildflower, or buckwheat honey over it at the end,” Katz explains.

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Openings

As part of the Ritz-Carlton’s $100 million reno, the swank hotel replaces twelfth-floor tenant Deca Restaurant with Torali Italian – Steak (160 E. Pearson St., Magnificent Mile). On chef Gregory Elliot’s (Remington’s, W Chicago Lakeshore) menu: house-made pastas; prime and dry-aged meats; seafood; and reimagined Italian classics.

Joe Sukjam (Arun's) trades fine-dining Thai for a BYO seafood and small plates spot: He’s in the kitchen at Blu 57 (5701 N. Clark St., Andersonville), offering diners a taste of his globally inspired fare via either an à la carte menu or a six-course prix fixe ($85).

Boutique chocolatier Veruca Chocolates has relocated from Bucktown to a new, roomier space in Lincoln Park (1332 N. Halsted St.). Veruca devotees can still score all the bonbons, turtles, truffles, and caramels offered at the former location, but the new cafe features a small seating area, serves draft kombucha, and will soon host chocolate-making classes.

Honey 1 BBQ’s former Bucktown home (the restaurant now resides in Bronzeville) has yielded to a new barbecue joint: The Whistle Pig (2241 N. Western Ave.) offers smoked meat aplenty, plus seafood with Creole flair.

Video: You Can Now Get the Pickle-Peppermint Snow Cone You Never Knew You Wanted

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Morsel

It’s a good time to be Elske (1350 W. Randolph St., West Loop): The Nordic-influenced restaurant has picked up some major accolades. Eaters national restaurant critic, Bill Addison, named it one of the country’s 12 best new spots. It also landed on the longlist for Bon Appétit’s Best New Restaurants feature, alongside Giant, Mi Tocaya, and Smyth & the Loyalist.

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