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Perennial Virant

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  • Phil Vettel recommends: Beaujolais Nouveau events

    Phil Vettel recommends: Beaujolais Nouveau events
    The third Thursday in November is when Beaujolais Nouveau gets its official annual release. Beaujolais is a light, fruity, food-friendly and inexpensive wine, ready to enjoy immediately, preferably chilled. Truth be told, it's not a very interesting wine (regular Beaujolais in much better and, let it be noted, turkey-friendly), but its official release date is always an inspiration for celebration.
  • Restaurant reviews: Acanto, Vistro

    Restaurant reviews: Acanto, Vistro
    In August, restaurateurs Billy Lawless and Paul Virant separately opened casual concepts aimed at very specific audiences. Lawless, who owns The Gage and The Dawson, closed Henri, his fine-dining French restaurant, in June to create the more...

    Loud restaurants work to diminish noise

    Loud restaurants work to diminish noise
    Chef Brian Huston knew he was in trouble at the pre-opening party for his new Evanston restaurant Boltwood. "It was so loud," he said. "It was terrible," agreed partner John Kim. "But we weren't not going to open." So the 70-seat farm-to-table...

    Fundraiser at River Roast to benefit chef's children

    Fundraiser at River Roast to benefit chef's children
    By now, a lot of people know about the tragedy that befell chef Dean Zanella six months ago. His wife, Mary, gave birth two twin girls (Anna Grace and Nora Joan), but complications set in and, eight days later, she died. Tuesday, a number of Chicago's...

    Chicagoan Ben Weprin launching Graduate Hotels

    Chicagoan Ben Weprin launching Graduate Hotels
    The night after I graduated from Northwestern, I stayed with my parents in a Fairfield Inn in Gurnee, 32 miles north of campus. It was the closest room my family could find and afford. More than a decade later, downtown Evanston boasts all of five...