As Chicagoans prepare to say a vigorous goodbye to 2021, a local vegan deep-dish pizza pioneer has announced a startling December surprise: Kitchen 17, the meat- and dairy-free destination that’s operated for eight years in Lakeview, is relocating to a much larger space at 2554 W. Diversey Avenue on the border of Avondale and Logan Square, ownership announced last week on Facebook.
“To celebrate the move and the end of 2021, we plan to open at the new location on December 31st,” they write. “We thank you all for supporting us during our Lakeview Years and are looking forward to this next chapter and sharing more details about it in the coming weeks!”
The restaurant initially launched in 2013 as Kitchen 17, a vegan sandwich shop — a rarity at the time — and eventually went on to expand its menu, even adding a vegan version of Chicago-style deep-dish pizza — despite a cramped kitchen space. The original location was on Briar and Broadway, but after an ownership change, Jennie Plasterer moved around the corner from the original location to larger location on Broadway. She tweaked the name to K17 and brought in Kevin Schuder (Fancy Plants Kitchen), to add new menu items. Schuder has since taken over the original location with Fancy Plants Cafe.
Vegan spins on indulgent street foods have proliferated over the years, including standbys like Handlebar in Wicker Park and newer entries like the rapidly-expanding mini-chain Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat. Even carnivorous Chicago brands are now getting in on meat-free treats: in April, 40-year-old restaurant chain Buona Beef introduced a meatless version of its iconic Italian beef sandwich, created in partnership with vegan food company Upton’s Naturals in West Town.
Virtue steps into national spotlight
Erick Williams of Virtue in Hyde Park chatted with Dana Jacobson on CBS Saturday Morning about his philosophy of cooking and hospitality, particularly his identity as a Black chef, the importance of reclaiming African-American cuisine, and the role of restaurants in the community.
A cold brew specialist explains the world of coffee beans
On Crain’s Daily Gist podcast, David Manilow nerds out over coffee with Justin Doggett, the owner of Kyoto Black Coffee, a cold brew specialist in Edgewater. Doggett explains the difference between hot and cold brew, how various levels of roasting affect flavor, and what to look for to get coffee with a flavor profile that you like.
Restaurant group owner argues that restaurant work is useful corporate training
A Crain’s op-ed in from Monday, December 20 argues that working in a restaurant is excellent preparation for corporate life. Restaurant work, writes Scott Weiner, teaches young people how to handle a stressful environment, deal with different personalities, and do many different jobs at once, all of which are valuable skills in an office environment. So hiring managers should not discount restaurant work on resumes! Of course, Weiner is also the co-owner of the Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, so he may be a tiny bit biased, but hey, you never know what will help in a job interview.
Hot dog stand roasts Gordon Ramsay for pricey, ketchup-y “dawgs”
Gordon Ramsay Burger opened in River North less than a week ago (and has now temporarily closed due to COVID), but it’s already getting dragged by other Chicago restaurants for serving ketchup on its $13 hot dogs. Big Guys Sausage Stand in Berwyn, for instance, announced on Facebook that it’s offering 10 percent off on gift cards with the code “GCRAMSAYSAWIENER.”
1462 E. 53rd Street, Chicago, IL