Sun-Times + Tribune: Can You Schwa-Wing Me a Reservation?

• So, it’s impossible to get a reservation at Schwa. Michael Carson and co. refuses to hire even a free intern to answer the phone, and it’s starting to hurt them on cancellations; i.e., no one can get through to cancel, so they just don’t show up. While one interviewee thought the corporate overtones of OpenTable would be inappropriate to Schwa’s happy-go-lucky anti-establishment model, how about a bespoke system like Momofuku Ko’s in New York, whose 12 nightly seats usually fill up within literally 5 or 10 seconds of 10am, when the reservations go online. It’s basically a total crapshoot of whose browser makes a connection first, so it would be almost as frustrating as what Scwha does with its full voicemail box, but slightly more functional. By the way, we hear a rumor that they clear their mailbox on Wednesday midafternoon, although that could easily not be a regular thing. And a friend of ours tried dropping by once to get a reservation in person, and they wouldn’t do it. Good luck! [Sun-Times]

• Know what else is going to be hot? L.20, Laurent Gras and LEYE’s new restaurant that’s opening tonight. But electronically, they’ve been open for some time; they’re equipped with an OpenTable, a blog and even a flickr! If they’re as on-point on food and service as they are on technology, we’re all in for a treat [Sun-Times]

• A list of how far out the weekend tables at some popular restaurants are booked. We say, try Tuesdays. Or early Sunday! [Sun-Times]

• The famous Greenmarket superlist, now that there are things to buy [Tribune]

• Kevin Hickey of Seasons says spring peas are a valid critique of atheism, and he might be right (okay, he doesn’t actually say that) [Sun-Times]

• Hot new local martinis, including one that’s a gimmicky $199 [Sun-Times]

• A charming tale about the Leftover Queen, a classic frugal American [Tribune]

• The 2nd annual Chicago Green Festival is at Navy Pier this weekend, and sustainable food will be discussed [Tribune]

• Craft beer makers are branching out into the world of artisanal spirits [Tribune]

• Mace the spice is not mace the pepper spray! [Sun-Times]

[Photo: pea soup from bluestem in Kansas City via ulterior epicure/flickr. See also Ulterior Epicure’s blog]


Sun-Times + Tribune: Can You Schwa-Wing Me a Reservation?