The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Restaurant News: Premise Is Gone, Cantu To Grow Truffles?

By Anthony Todd in Food on Aug 31, 2012 3:00PM


- Well, that was fast. Premise, which replaced In Fine Spirits back in April, had barely finished its first round of opening press before it was shut down and snapped up. And it's a darn shame: Chef Brian Runge's modern, fresh cuisine was great and their cocktail program was top-notch. The Reader spoke to Runge:

He said he felt blindsided, and that the restaurant, which had only been open for four months, had finally turned a corner, doing its highest sales on Saturday. "I was like, we've done it," he says. "We've beaten the neighborhood." Now Runge, with a wife and six-month-old at home, is out of work with no severance pay.

What's going to happen to the space? Well, the unstoppable juggernaut of sometimes-mediocre French food, LM, has taken over. They are in the midst of the fastest expansion that we have ever seen, opening Troquet, Brasserie by LM, a new location for the original LM in River North and now this, all in about six months. The menu at the new place looks like it will be a lot like the menu at all the others—French comfort food. The mystery of the LM empire? One of their restaurants (Troquet) is genuinely great. The others? Not so much. And they all have, substantially, the same menu. So color us not particularly excited about this substitution.

- Michael Ruhlman, author, foodie favorite and charcuterie-superstar, is coming to El Ideas for a workshop in October. He'll be joined by his co-author Brian Polcyn on a tour promoting their new book, "Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing." The workshop will be $165 and last for three hours. The authors will take you through the entire process of dry-curing sausages in El's magnificent prep space. If you're a meat nerd, this one-of-a-kind workshop is worth the price. Call 312-226-8144 or email

- Is Homaro Cantu going to try growing truffles in his aeroponic farm? We follow his always-entertaining twitter feed fairly closely, and geeked out earlier in the week about moto's deconstructed avocado, but this is a new level of ambitious. He tweeted this morning: "In the aeroponic farm @moto_restaurant, we will soon be growing French truffles in a perfect environment." He linked to a video of the aeroponic farm that gave no clues as to how he plans to pull off this impressive feat. Cultivating truffles in the ground is nearly impossible - we look forward to seeing how the science wizard/chef managed to grow them in the air.