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Old Posted Jan 3, 2012, 5:56 PM
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Cool CHICAGO: Cultural News

It was announced today that Charlie Trotter's, an institution in the Chicago restaurant scene, will close this August, and I couldn't think of an appropriate thread for (discussion about) the news. I'm hoping this one will serve that purpose. Feel free to post anything related to cultural developments (restaurants, music, theater, exhibitions, etc.).
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Charlie Trotter's restaurant to close in August

...Shortly after midnight, in front of some 100 guests in his eponymous restaurant, Trotter dropped a bomb: At the end of August, after the acclaimed restaurant celebrates its 25th anniversary, Charlie Trotter's will close...

"He talked about wanting to go back to school and pursuing philosophy," Negovan said. "As much as we think of him as an incredible chef, he's first and foremost a brilliant mind and academic."

His restaurant has been the standard-bearer for fine dining, and perhaps more important, for fine-dining service, for at least 23 of its 25 years. Trotter and his every-day-a-new-menu kitchen have led and inspired a generation of chefs and have developed and cemented Chicago's reputation as a magnet for top culinary talent...

...Trotter says he's not closing the Lincoln Park restaurant for financial reasons, and that once he completes his master's degree he will open another restaurant...

Charlie Trotter's has long been considered one of the finest restaurants in the United States, with Trotter having won numerous awards from the prestigious James Beard Foundation over the years. Charlie Trotter's also has been a training ground for some of the city's top chefs, including Grant Achatz, Homaro Cantu, Curtis Duffy, Graham Elliot, Matthias Merges, Mindy Segal, Michael Taus and Giuseppe Tentori.
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Old Posted Jan 3, 2012, 6:09 PM
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Personally, I'm pretty bummed. The Michelin Guide was tough on Chicago this year: L20 lost two stars, NoMI and Sixteen lost theirs, and North Pond, Les Nomades and Next were all ignored. (On the plus side, Moto was awarded its first and the Bib Gourmand list grew from 46 to 56, but that's relatively small consolation, IMO.) With Charlie Trotter's closing, I'm kind of afraid to see what their 2013 publication will look like.
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Old Posted Jan 3, 2012, 6:12 PM
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Hey, world class restaurants help make a world class city. It's indeed a loss. Can't be upset with Trotter though. He's gotta live his life. That's a long time to be in the restaurant business. I wish him all the best.
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Old Posted Jan 3, 2012, 6:18 PM
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...also saw this all over Facebook the past few days. It's at least worth a chuckle.
EATER CHICAGO: Billy Corgan Opening 1930s Chinese-style Tea House this Spring in Highland Park

Billy Corgan is working on opening a cool little tea house in suburban Highland Park. The Smashing Pumpkins founder and frontman lives in the tony North Shore burgh and frankly is tired of not having cool cultural things to do.

"We want to open it because there's nothing really to do up here," Corgan said, adding that it's a beautiful place to live. "But [there's a] lack of culture for someone in their 30s or 40s. I think for such a nice place you need places to go and meet people and exchange ideas. That's the idea for the tea house ... a place to gather."

The unnamed tea shop will take over the former U.S. Post Office in the Ravinia neighborhood on Roger Williams Avenue. They recently signed the lease and have been working with Highland Park's mayor, who Corgan said has been incredibly supportive. The shop, which he's aiming to open in March or April, will seat about 30 people and have a 1930s Chinese-style tea house vibe. "It's a little bit of a salon vibe, not modern at all. Very old school," he said. "What we're going for is that Chinese-French style."

Corgan, a self-proclaimed tea guy, said he wants this to be a gathering place with rotating exhibits and speakers. He wants people of mixed ages to come enjoy either a simple cup of tea or become engaged in a lecture on archeology, view local or nationally touring art or listen to live music, but think more Fred Astaire than Radiohead as Corgan likes things with a more vintage feeling. "It has a whimsical feel to it ... it'll feel like you're stepping back in time in terms of space, but what we put into the space will change," he said. "My dream number is changing it 15 to 20 times a month where you're inviting people to talk about film or have an open mic night..."

...And they're working on designs for the space, but Corgan hopes Highland Park will let him put in a cool sign. "I'm envisioning something out of the '40s."
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