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Restaurant News: Distillery Coming To Randolph Street, New Chef at Henri

By Anthony Todd in Food on Feb 26, 2013 6:40PM

Chef Christopher Gawronski, the new Executive Chef at Henri.
- Distilling is headed downtown. Until now, the in-city-limits distilling options were limited to Koval and Letherbee, both far away from the bright lights. Now CH Distillery plans to open right in the heart of the West Loop. Time Out reports that the new still will be turning out a ton of fancy vodka (for those who like that sort of thing) as well as gin, unaged whiskey and rum. There will also be small plates, served at a small bar with room for about 45 people. While we don't care all that much about vodka, we're totally into the idea of a distillery-restaurant, especially if they come up with special small batch boozes to pair with their foods. Look for an opening in early Summer.

- After Dirk Flanigan left The Gage and Henri in January, we were all left speculating about who would take over the kitchen. Well, they decided to promote from within; Chef Christopher Gawronski, former Chef de Cuisine at Henri, is now the big boss. He's already launched a slightly-modified menu, which we got to taste on Friday. Fans of Henri will not be disappointed, though we can't speak to changes at The Gage yet. New or modified dishes include a smoked steak tartare, a delicious coq au vin, and an intriguing salt-roasted pear pizza.

- Kendal Duque has surfaced again. After leaving City Tavern (which then spiraled through a couple different chefs in six months) he's now headed for American Junkie. Chicago Magazine reports that the bar and restaurant (sometimes referred to as a club) is going to have a menu that is "approachable, but with a chef sensibility." Fancy burger, hanger steak sandwich, and smoked pork shoulder will be among the offerings. Providing quality food for the 17,000 square foot, 2-level space (with a retractable roof) will be a challenge, so we look forward to seeing what Duque comes up with.