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Restaurant News: Baltzley Takes Over Pensiero, Esquire Honors Unopened Restaurant

By Anthony Todd in Food on Oct 11, 2011 4:20PM

Brandon Baltzley
- Every year, we post about Esquire's Best New Restaurant List. And every year, it seems to fall a tiny bit short of the mark. Last year, two restaurants (Longman & Eagle and Epic) made the list, and this year, unsurprisingly, Next (and Achatz generally) got a lot of attention. Chicago Cut steakhouse actually made the list. Phil Vettel pointed out that, shockingly, Girl and the Goat got left off the list - though it was mentioned in the also-ran column. We're more shocked that Tavernita, the as-yet-unopened restaurant from Chef Ryan Poli, managed to get mentioned in the article as an early contender for 2012. While we're sure Tavernita will be lovely, it seems a bit premature to pick it out of the significant list of upcoming openings. Anyway, check out the whole list for yourself.

- We've followed Brandon Baltzley's time in Chicago quite closely through the ups and downs. After a few recent successes with pop-up dinners, it looks like Baltzley's hard work, both in rehab and behind the line, has paid off. According to Eater Chicago, he has been tapped to take over at Pensiero Ristorante in Evanston. He's already been working there for three weeks and has significantly revamped the menu. Will his presence make Pensiero into a culinary destination worth the trip on the Purple Line? Time will tell - best of luck, Chef.

- Lovers of The Bristol, rejoice! They have finally joined the internet revolution. We have expressed our doubts about OpenTable before, but we still admit (as we did then) that we use it all the time to check available restaurants. Sometimes, when a restaurant isn't a member, they fall off of our radar. That could never happen with The Bristol, one of our favorite spots in Chicago, though we are occasionally reluctant to send visitors there for fear of long lines. No longer - they are now on OpenTable.