Here’s one way to find a space for your restaurant concept— take over the place where you had a pop-up dinner. That’s what Dish reports John Manion is planning to do. Manion earned admiration at Mas and Goose Island, and was regarded as one of the up-and-coming chefs of the nose-to-tail, farmer’s market bunch. He left Goose Island for West Town’s Branch 27 a couple of years ago, and though he enjoyed generally good reviews, never quite made it into a place reflecting his personal vision (which includes a strong Latin influence from time he spent in Brazil and elsewhere). Early last year he left Branch 27 with the stated goal of opening his own restaurant, and occasionally turned up with a South American-themed pop-up restaurant, notably at Dodo on West Fulton Street opposite Next and Moto in August.
Now Dish reports that Manion is set to take over Dodo from owner Kim Dalton (who will collaborate on the new concept) and rename it La Sirena Clandestina. He plans to feature what he calls "Latin local" cuisine— his take on Latin and South American food, utilizing what he finds at the markets. Hence the name of one of his dishes at a recent pop-up dinner— Things That I Bought At The Market Today Empanadas. [Dish]