The now-defunct Soul Kitchen has given way to the birth of Platiyo. A second location of the Clark Street Wrigleyville spot will soon open in Wicker Park, in the old Soul Kitchen Space. It will have a menu identical to the poplar North Side location.
Another Lincoln Park transplant is the South Loop location of Orange, on Harrison at Clark. The menu is the same, but what draws the crowds into the Clark and Belmont location may not be enough for this off-the-beaten-path space. On multiple visits, the two large rooms were not too full. In fact, only the front room was being used, but the food still took an inordinate amount of time to arrive on our table.
Perhaps people still need to discover that this Orange is even now open. Diners who have ventured in have found the same breakfast and lunch fare, from eggs and salads to the pancake sampler, served in a quartered off platter, that surely tests the strength of the servers.
A city location of Masck, Deerfield's popular eatery, will open on Dearborn and Ontario—once the building has been completed. In the meantime, hungry eaters can head up North for tithe signature floppy cheeseburgers.
Fortunato, the Division Avenue Italian restaurant, which garnered so much acclaim so quickly, has closed its doors.
Surprised patrons facing locked doors at Fortunato can walk a block or two west, and snag a table (only if they're early) at the quietly established Settimana Cafe. This Italian spot now features take out and delivery—most of Settimana's popular favorites are available, including their very thin crust pizzas. Choose the four cheese, Pizza Margherita, or pick two of a variety of toppings. My favorite is spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. Here's hoping that the cheeseless vegetable pizza (so much better than it sounds) reappears on the menu soon.
There is also a selection of boneless chicken breasts, either Marsala, smothered in mushrooms and a deep brown sauce, or rosemary, with a buttery wine sauce and quartered potatoes. The pasta unfortunately is not offered in a whole wheat variety, but is still offered in a big variety. The Escarole features the eponymous leaf, along with halved cherry tomatoes, and other veggies, while hearty diners can opt for a vodka cream sauce or pasta with chicken or seafood. The back courtyard with fountain, and well cordoned off front section make great dining environments in the summer months.
Why don't any of my friends know about Sweet Mandy B's? The very popular bakery and ice cream parlor, located on Webster, just west of Racine, is always packed. Packed with families. Strollers clog the doorway, and screaming, crying sugared-out kids roll around on the floor, while oblivious parents stand above, gossiping. Me and my partner? Happily childless, but we're still willing to wait in line for a slice of Key Lime Pie or one of their signature cupcakes. A sit-down area is available in back, and is perfect, as long as you bring ear plugs. We've tried the benches out front, but escape the wagons and wailing, just a block east, where the benches in the park provide a more peaceful environment to enjoy your treats.
Some Things Never Change
Wishbone. The big one on Morgan and Washington. It's still popular, crowded with locals and tourists, families, and singles. In fact, it seems more popular than ever. Hosts now pass out a pager when you check in, which flashes when your table is ready. Once seated, you can expect the same corn muffins, grits, catfish, and other Southern favorites that made the original Grand Avenue location instantly popular. The bean cakes and even the big bowl of oatmeal are tasty, as is the lunchtime salad with grilled chicken. Even the burger is tasty. You can also expect the same mind-numbingly lousy service you should expect if you've ever dined here before. Water? What's that? Coffee refills? Very funny. I hadn't been for two years, after having sworn off the place, after an especially frustrating dining experience, but friends wanted to go, I had a taste for their moist corn muffins with actual kernels of corn inside of them, and, well, I got what I expected.
Dining Out for Life
Chicago's 12th Annual 'Dining Out for Life' is April 29. More than 60 restaurants are scheduled to participate. This is an evening when area restaurants donate a portion of their proceeds to the battle against HIV/AIDS. In 2003, more than 100 local participating restaurants raised over $110,000.
The event's beneficiary is AIDSCARE, which provides housing, care and support to thousands in greater Chicago.