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Restaurant News: Vera Opens Wednesday, Foodease Sets a Date

By Anthony Todd in Food on Oct 17, 2011 4:40PM

2011_10_17Vera.jpg - Some restaurant news that we're genuinely excited about - Vera, the recently-renamed restaurant from Mark and Elizabeth Mendez, opens Wednesday. Last seen at Carnivale, the Mendezes have had a restaurant in the works for quite a while. The teasing is finally over, though they did have a last-minute name change when a lawsuit threatened their use of "Uva," the original moniker. They have created a wine-focused Spanish small plates restaurant and wine bar that looks ready to take the West Loop by storm. After so many locally-focused openings in the last few years, they took a different direction - "worldly" wines, sherry and imported Spanish products. Don't worry, there are some good Midwestern cheese on their list. Grub Street Chicago has a pre-opening video, if you want some visuals. We'll be first in line. 1023 W. Lake St.

- Foodease, the new addition to Lettuce Entertain You's Foodllife section of Watertower Place, has finally set an opening date. During our pre-opening tour, the partners were understandably cagey about the exact moment of opening - you never want to have to reschedule your opening. But it's set - Foodease will open on Thursday. Most of the big ticket events (chef demos, wine classes with Alpana Singh) won't get going until November, so keep your eyes open. If you want a sneak peek, Foodease is inviting their facebook friends to a special preview on Wednesday morning.

- In about two weeks, Filini, a new Italian spot, opens in Aqua Tower. Details are still somewhat sketchy and their tagline ("Almost 100% Italian") is somewhat regrettable, but their enticing pre-opening menu includes wood-fired pizzas, signature bruschettas and homemade gnocchi. "High-value" wines dominate the drink list. Chef Christian Fantoni (formerly of Le Cirque and Le Bernadin) says that he wants to mix classic Italian flavors with upscale urban energy - we'll definitely be keeping an eye on this opening. 221 N. Columbus Dr.