It seems that at its present rate of expansion, by 2019 Chicago’s restaurant scene will engulf the four innermost planets. We have so many openings we didn’t even know about until five minutes ago, we hardly even have time to go to Trenchermen previews. Let’s start with Piccolo Sogno Due, which you knew about (sequel to Piccolo Sogno, this time with Todd Stein joining Tony Priolo as the wacky but lovable Italian restaurant owners who can’t seem to keep out of hijinks). You knew about it, but now Priolo has announced an opening date: July 5. Now on to other openings you may not know about.
• Also in July will come The Savoy, described as “a seafood and absinthe” restaurant, at 1408 N. Milwaukee (formerly La Fonda del Gusto). As much as we love our Sazeracs, we’re not sure what exactly that means (Jeff Ruby tweeted “Seafood and absinthe? Yeah, that sounds like a horrorshow of an evening. We’ll all wake up naked at 79th and Pulaski”), but executive chef Brian Greene worked at The Purple Pig, which is automatically promising. The seafood focus seems pretty global, but perhaps especially Latin-tinged, which is fine by us. The most interesting thing, if kind of perversely limiting, is that the oyster bar will have one, permanent, exclusive beer on tap, a rye stout called Penitence. Why that beer? Because Greenbush Brewing of Sawyer, Michigan formulated it to go with oysters. As for cocktails… well, the place is named for this classic guide, so you figure it out.
• Chef Thomas Bowman of iNG is leaving to team up with Epic owner Steve Tavoso and Jeff Krogh to open Baume & Brix, in the 220-seat Rumba space near the East Bank Club. The description of the food is either still kinda vague (“globally inspired,” “divided into sections Small… and Large”) or else perfectly attuned to the clientele coming from a workout, or both. They also say the space hardly needs a change… which we find vaguely disappointing, that they’re not radically transforming it, even though we have no idea what Rumba looked like. [Eater; be sure to read comments #2 and #6]
• A pop-up restaurant at Navy Pier? Anything to keep us away from Bubba Gimp Shrump Co. and fudge, we suppose. City Porch will have a different celebrity chef designing a menu of contemporary noshes for the east end of the pier, and will include both indoor and outdoor seating. The current menu is from Heather Terhune; July will be Tony Mantuano’s turn, and August will be Jimmy Bannos’s. The pop-up is the brainchild of Manolis Alpogianis, a concession holder who has America’s Dog in Navy Pier and, to his credit, wants to not merely rake in the bucks from tourists but do interesting things in his locations.