Posts for February 4, 2013

Watch the Teaser for Waffle Hut, a Food-Focused TV Pilot

Welcome to Waffle Hut, a fictional restaurant in Traver, Ohio, where everyone is a talented sketch-comedy veteran. There's Wendi McLendon-Covey (Bridesmaids, Reno 911) as restaurant owner Reba, plus Colleen Camp, Melanie Hutsell (SNL), Beth Crosby, Jack Plotnick, Sam Pancake, and Drew Droege, who is playing a woman who has "deer tick's disease." It's a pilot that was written and directed by William Butler and shot last year, but has only popped up online in the last couple of days. And it appears the show is still up for grabs, so check out the trailer and decide for yourself if Waffle Hut deserved (deserves?) to be picked up for a cable slot.

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Pipeworks Brewing in Bucktown, Best New Brewery in World (But Three Floyds Slips a Notch)

The local beer scene continues to rack up the accolades. Ratebeer, the user-review site, gave its best new brewery prize to Chicago-based Pipeworks Brewing Co., founded last year by two former employees of West Lakeview Liquors who raised money via Kickstarter to launch it. That's best out of 1,914 new breweries, by the way; they also placed #39 out of breweries overall. The news is slightly less good for Three Floyds, which has dominated the list over the last few years; it slipped down a peg at Ratebeer, to being only the second best brewery in the whole known universe. As bad news goes, that's pretty good. [DNAInfo]

Vander Mill Cider Will Be In The House This Week

Vander Mill Cider is Michigan's largest craft cider producer, and you'll have a chance this week to try several of its wares. Actually many chances, as founder Paul Vander Heide will be in town for a series of events this week. He'll be at Sheffield's on Wednesday, and Bangers & Lace on Thursday, both events including special cider-focused menu items to go with the ciders he's bringing. Then he'll be pouring at Beercade on Friday, before attending the Cider Summit at Navy Pier this weekend. See the list of what he's bringing to town below.

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Takeru Kobayashi Reduced to Pay-for-Play Stunt Eating at Low-Rent Frat Parties

So, speaking of Nathan's Famous, last night six-time Hot Dog Eating Contest champion Takeru Kobayashi ate a Domino's pizza at some dude's Super Bowl party. He was paid $1,500 for this, Deadspin reports, and as you can see in the video ahead, the competitive eater almost doesn't pull it off. Also, a vaguely xenophobic beer-chugging contest went down after this. Awesome.

"Thirty seconds!" »

Your Guide to Restaurant Week Guides!

Restaurant Week is underway through Sunday— unless Phil Vettel sees his shadow and we get six more weeks of it— but we're still hung over from compiling our Super Bowl preview and we've got Valentine's Day starring down at us like Tommy Lee Jones with a shotgun, so we're going to turn to everyone else who has looked at the more than 270— 270!— restaurants participating and found some way to reduce it to a manageable number of prospects.

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Chefs Who Served Whale Sushi Are Going to Jail

Spicy blubber rolls: Not worth the jail time.

In 2010, the documentarian-activist team behind the Academy award–winning movie The Cove
— which exposed the cruelty and the clandestine practice of dolphin-slaughter in Japan — made waves stateside when they revealed that a popular sushi restaurant near the Santa Monica Airport was serving endangered whale meat in plain sight. After two undercover diners at the Hump were offered "pink broad slices" of what turned out to be Sei whale, the team circled back with federal agents. While for a moment it seemed like charges might be dropped, a federal jury last week indicted the owners of the restaurant's parent company and two former sushi chefs for conspiracy to import and sell an endangered species. In addition to the parent company facing fines of up to $1.2 million, one of the two chefs may serve 67 years in federal prison. [LAT, Earlier, Earlier]

NY Restaurant That Held Sandy Fundraiser in Chicago Won't Reopen

Governor, a popular new Brooklyn restaurant that had won acclaim for the cooking of chef Brad McDonald, then was badly damaged by five feet of water during Hurricane Sandy, has decided not to reopen, and McDonald has left the group that developed the restaurant. This would be unexceptional if not for the fact that many restaurants and chefs around the country held fundraising events for the restaurant, including one in Chicago with Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark and Kitchit Chicago, which was held at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum in early December. So where's the money that was raised going? Grub Street New York looks at the controversy this move is stirring up. [Grub Street NY]

Leona's To Close Three Restaurants

In the 80s, everybody ate at Leona's— the deep dish pizza, more contemporary menu of pastas and salads, and a warmly irreverent and customer-service-oriented attitude in its advertising (Leona's would send out apology coupons to its entire list, explaining that it must have screwed up something at some point) made it a standout among Chicago pizza joints. But expansion into the suburbs and a spinoff chain called Hop Haus didn't pay off, and owner Leon Toia, grandson of Leona (who was a real person), announced plans to retrench the company and focus on its core market, delivery in the city. Hop Haus, which already sold its downtown location to Mercadito, will close its Rogers Park location, ending the brand, and a Sheridan Road Leona's will move into that space (which is less than half as large). Three suburban Leona's will also be closed, but the remaining urban locations, bolstered by strong delivery demand in the city, will remain. [Crain's]

Pizza Perfection: 101 Awesome American Pies (and Slices)

It must be hell to be a carbophobe these days, particularly in New York. After all, you can't swing a cat in this town without hitting a delicately crisp, brightly flavored, meticulously crafted pizza. All over the city, you can see these tortured souls muddling through their starch-free lives, battling temptation at every turn.

That goes for the rest of the USA, too. »

Restaurant Gives $4 Discount for ‘Well-Behaved Kids’

Still doesn't cover the tax.

If you haven't been reading your restaurant receipts closely, start now. Receipt rants are all the rage these days, and whether you're offended or flattered, you'll certainly have a viral Reddit hit on your hands. A waiter at the Sogno Di Vino restaurant in Poulsbo, Washington, apparently gave a customer a $4 discount for having "well-behaved kids." Isn't that expected when you bring your children out to a nice Italian restaurant and wine bar? [Earlier, MSN]

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