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Quick Bites

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Aug 14, 2008 4:30PM


  • Big Brother is watching you. So, apparently, was Julia Child. The CIA released over 35,000 declassified documents this morning shining a light on the operations of the World War II-era precursor to the CIA, the OSS. Other notable spies included Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Miles Copeland, Jr., the father of Police drummer Stewart Copeland. [AP, via Yahoo]

  • Hot on the heels of the Bennigan's bankruptcy comes news that Uno Restaurant Holdings, the parent company behind Pizzeria Uno, could be on the verge of bankruptcy itself if the company goes ahead with a plan to miss a bond payment. The company said that they will utilize a 30-day grace period written into the terms of its $142 worth of notes due in 2011 and not pay the interest owed this week. Uno CFO Louie Psallidas told the Wall Street Journal that the company is not in danger of filing for bankruptcy, but its 200+ restaurants have expanded their focus past deep dish in recent years. (h/t Jasmine) [WSJ, Bloomberg]

  • Stephanie Izard joins the growing list of participating chefs for September's Chicago Gourmet event in Millennium Park. Tickets also went on sale for the festival's Whole Foods Market Family Village. That's a mouthful. [Chicago Gourmet]

  • Flat Top Grill responded to our Tuesday item regarding the shutdown of their North Avenue location by the Health Department. "(T)he city... found a violation related to the unit’s lower level, including suggestions on obtaining a new cooler door, ensuring that all temperature-controlled areas and those subject to water are properly sealed as well as obtaining new shelving units and lighting," they said in a statement. "We invite our frequent and loyal guests to come back to Flat Top Grill’s North Avenue location when it reopens on Friday, August 15, 2008 and look forward to serving them in the high standard we have always maintained."
  • Also doing some damage control is Hecky's, the longtime Evanston-based barbecue king, after the identically named Hecky's of Chicago was shut down yesterday for multiple health code violations. Owner Hecky Powell released a statement to media stating that his company licensed the Hecky's name to Hecky's of Chicago owners Bijan "Brian" Ghofrani and Michael Koertgen, Jr., but have been trying to revoke the license to the trademark for some time due to multiple violations of the licensing agreement. Powell also says that if another Hecky's opens in the city limits, he will personally oversee the operation.

  • Mike Nagrant minces no words in this week's New City, whacking the pee-pee of Cajun-by-way-of-Indianapolis eatery Yats (955 W. Randolph). "Eating there last week was the worst dining experience—and that includes trips to the now-shuttered Bennigan's—of my career as a food writer." [New City]

  • We had a Nagrant-like experience at the newly-opened Buffalo Wings and Rings in Bridgeport (3434 S. Halsted, 773-579-9464), part of an Ohio-based restaurant franchise recently rated #1 on Restaurant Business magazine's annual Future 50 list. We won't go so far as to say that our experience here was worse than eating at Bennigan's — we've been in some shitty Bennigan's over the years — but the crazy wings with atomic hot sauce we ordered were served lukewarm. Cajun fries were served with no seasoning at all, when we sent them back they were returned two minutes later even colder with a heavy dusting of cajun seasoning. The atomic sauce on the wings also didn't phase our taste buds; these don't reach the level of Wings Around the World's Chipotle, let alone their kamikaze. But if you like ogling at attractive waitresses and bartenders, this is the place for you.