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Openings: The Southern, Prairie Fire

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Feb 5, 2010 6:40PM

The Southern's johnnycakes with pork and chowchow.

Two big restaurant openings are set to happen in the next four days. Well, one of the openings is more of a re-launch, but we're still stoked. Let's talk about that one first.

Chef Cary Taylor's Southern-rooted cuisine at Chaise Lounge was so good that it overcame the deficiencies of that establishment's artificial South beach-inspired atmosphere in the same way that Mark Mendez's cooking at Carnivale has transcended that restaurant's Jerry Kleiner décor. Chaise Lounge morphs into The Southern (1840 W. North Ave., 773-342-1840) today at 5 p.m. with a revamped menu (southern_menu.pdf ) and an interior that should better complement Taylor's cooking and influences, as well as dining well into the late night.

On Monday Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris serve their first dinners at Prairie Fire in the old Powerhouse space downtown (215 N. Clinton St., 312-382-8300). Lunch service starts Tuesday and brunch on the 13th. Stegner and Bumbaris will be bringing the casual, affordable contemporary American cuisine to a downtown audience that can't always make the trek to their Prairie grass Café in Northbrook. Take a look at the menu here (Prairie_fire_menu.pdf) .