Taylor Street gets a new restaurant this week

 After working in kitchens across the country, Chef Emanuel Washington is bringing the soul back home, according to an article posted by DNAInfo.com.

Washington plans to open Grub, an "upscale, healthy" soul food restaurant at 1230 W. Taylor St., Friday, Sept. 26. With Grub, he’s aiming to set the soul food record straight.

“Real soul food is actually healthy,” he said, because the fare incorporates superfoods like legumes and vegetables that are packed with nutrition. “Some people cook [soul food] with a lot of pork and fat, but you don’t have to do it that way.”

Washington, who also lives in the University Village development south of Roosevelt, said the diverse neighborhood serves as the perfect location to bring sit-down, farm-to-table soul food to the masses. The restaurant is down the street from the Little Italy corridor and UIC.

Raised in the city’s Austin neighborhood, Washington returned to Chicago five months ago with the goal of opening a soul food restaurant in his “foodie” hometown, he said. And it will be the best, he promises.

“Grub will be the best soul food in America,” said Emanuel, who has perfected recipes over decades.

Washington has worked in restaurants in Chicago, New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. He also founded a soul food cooking school in Florida and has written a book on the fare.

The must tries on Grub’s menu? Double-crunch fried chicken, beef short ribs, cornbread  and “absolutely” the signature mac-‘n-cheese, Emanuel said. The restaurant will serve an extensive wine list and offer valet parking, too.

Before Grub, the Taylor Street building formerly housed casual Brazilian restaurant Sabor Express.

Grub will open daily for lunch and dinner.

Bascule opening on Taylor Street in October

The name of the previous restaurant has been removed, and Eater.com is reporting that Bascule Wine Bar owners Jason Prah and Scott Harney are making swift progress on their forthcoming wine bar and bistro in the former Urban Union space, slating the opening for next month at 1421 W. Taylor St. Construction and cosmetic work began the week of September 8. They're starting to fire up the wood-burning oven. And they've named their chef, eight-year Gibson's Restaurant Group vet Michael Burkauskas, who says his opening menu is "95 percent finalized."


Burkauskas will mostly fill his menu with interesting yet simple preparations of seafood, meats, and small plates at affordable price points that he hopes will appeal to the diverse clientele near Taylor Street. "I want to let the ingredients shine," he says.

The former Luxbar executive chef highlights a dish with a familiar name—his "Duck, Duck, Goose"—a play on corned beef hash. Burkauskas will make a hash with duck meat and add foie gras and duck egg.


Other dishes include rabbit porchetta, a skate wing with capers and raisins, and a burger with locally-farmed toppings. Also expect lots of shellfish, lamb and veal on the menu at opening.


Burkauskas, who opened multiple properties for the Gibson's group, has only good things to say for his former employer and says he joined Bascule for the mix of personal relationships and culinary control. "I wanted more freedom to do my own thing," he says. "I'm excited to let this thing fly."

· Acclaimed Sommeliers Bringing Bascule Wine Bar and Restaurant to Taylor Street [-ECHI-]
· Bascule Wine Bar [Facebook]

Three Aces expanding to West Town

This report is from Eater.com: With the sudden 2013 closing of the much-beloved West Town Tavern and the here-today/gone-tomorrow Chicago Taco pop-up, the space at 1329 W. Chicago has lain fallow for more than a year. However, emerging details about the new Three Aces spot indicate a high energy concept in line with the Taylor Street spot, as set by the phrase "Dine & Drink Rock & Roll" which has been hand-painted in gold above the main window.


Although cosmetic construction is still underway, signature components of the decor appear completed. A bronze-and-wood color scheme complemented by exposed weathered brick with wall-mounted pipes repurposed as lighting speaks to the sleek and chic vibe. Taxidermy also reigns as a major interior element, as three mounted animal heads are affixed to the main back wall against wallpaper festooned with black and white cartoon images.


A source who is slated to be a staff member describes a focus on rustic Italian fare paired back to European wines and classic mixed drinks, and a projected opening date of October. Eater has contacted Three Aces ownership for more information, including the name, so stay tuned. UPDATE: The new name is Charlatan Chicago.

· Three Aces Owners Taking Over West Town Tavern Space [-ECHI-]
· All Three Aces Coverage [-ECHI-]

—Stephanie Sack

Turning 65? How to figure out Medicare

Learn how to make heads and tails out of Medicare and Medicare supplement insurance plans in a free program at 2 p.m. Thursday, October 23 at the Roosevelt Branch Library.

This educational presentation will cover eligibility, enrollment and the benefits of Medicare Parts A and B and the standardized Medicare Supplement Plans available in Illinois. Attendees will benefit from this program if they will soon be eligible for Medicare, already on Medicare but losing their group retiree benefits, a caregiver of a Medicare beneficiary and anyone who would like to learn more about the hospital and medical insurance benefits of Medicare and Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans.
Program time is approximately 75 minutes, and will be presented by Money Smart Partner, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. The library is at 1101 W. Taylor St.



An organization is as strong as its membership, and the University Village Association is looking for a strong number of members and volunteers. 


Your membership dues will support the organization that is working for the good of the Little Italy/University Village. Volunteer, and you will actively help to improve the community for everyone.


Some of the areas that the UVA is working in:


• Planning and Development
• Neighborhood cleanup/beautification
• Festa Italiana
• Neighborhood history/heritage
• Community events


2014 Membership fees, which are tax-deductible, are:
• Individual $45
• Household $65
• Senior Citizen $10
• Student $10


What's in it for you?


A warm and fuzzy feeling for knowing that you are helping your neighborhood and a sense of accomplishment for having made an impact. Email kathy@uvalittleitaly.com for an application.