By Maggie Shea, Chef Magazine
The days may be getting shorter, but longer nights are welcomed by a chef in Philly opening a late-night Italian eatery and wine bar, and a long-time restaurateur who will offer build-your-own burgers to the night owls of Sin City. And as comfort food continues its reign, two Food Network hosts in Chicago are serving up their own upscale versions of dishes Mom used to make, while a gastropub in D.C. turns up the volume on traditional British pub fare. Meanwhile, an 18-year-old New York staple gets a makeover and a seasonal fine-dining spot opens in the heart of Oregon wine country.
Grind Burger Bar & Lounge
Long-time Las Vegas restaurateur Mark DiMartino is at it again as he and business partner and real estate developer Barry Fieldman launched a build-your-own-burger concept on Sept. 25. Grind Burger Bar & Lounge will specialize in customizable burgers using fresh ground chuck, hand-pressed turkey and meatless burgers made with ground chickpeas and Mediterranean spices. But burgers just aren't the same without toppings. Guests can choose from a variety of premium cheeses, 20 toppings that include a fried egg, Sicilian olive salad and grilled asparagus; as well as 20 specialty sauces ranging from wasabi mayonnaise and San Marzano tomato salsa to cayenne pepper ranch dressing. The indecisive diner can simply opt for the chef's suggestion: "The turkey burger with provolone cheese, ajvar [puréed roasted eggplant and peppers], mayonnaise, sautéed spinach and garlic on a wheat bun," DiMartino said in a press statement. The menu also will include appetizers, chopped salads, specialty sandwiches and three preparations of potatoes.
Grind Burger Bar & Lounge is located at 360 E. Tropicana Ave. in Las Vegas, Nev. Open daily for lunch, dinner and late night. Visit www.grindburgers.com, or call (720) 262-9181.
Opening for dinner on Nov. 4, Hearty is the latest addition to the growing empire of caterers, Food Network hosts and "accidental experts" on all things entertainment, The Hearty Boys. Chefs/owners Dan Smith (pictured, right) and Steve McDonagh (pictured, left) are returning to full-fledged restaurant operations with the launch of Hearty, an upscale American comfort food restaurant with vintage-twist cocktails and an all-American wine list. Smith and McDonagh offered a teaser of their upcoming menu at a preview dinner on Sept. 9, serving playful dishes like Cheddar and Havarti mac 'n' cheese squares rolled in cracker crumbs and deep-fried, pork belly and beans, foil-wrapped "campfire" fish with market vegetables and herb butter and a rice, butterscotch and cornmeal Indian pudding flight for dessert.
Hearty, located at 3819 N. Broadway, Chicago, is currently open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. It will be open daily for dinner. Visit www.heartyboys.com, or call (773) 244-9866.
Againn, which loosely translates to "with us" in Gaelic, is a European-inspired gastropub opening this October in Washington, D.C. Offering a fresh take on British pub cuisine, the family-style menu incorporates such dishes as shepherd's pie, ale-battered fish and chips with gribiche sauce, Cumberland bangers and mash, grilled Amish country aged cheddar sandwich with scallions and chips and smoked fish cakes with lemon-horseradish cream. The concept plays off of co-owner Mark Weiss's childhood split between New Zealand and London. As such, Againn also promises an extensive beer and single-malt Scotch selection to complement the high-end pub fare as well as a selection of international wines and artisanal cocktails. Weiss and his partner Bahar Makinaci, of boutique hospitality company Whisk Group, announced the launch Againn with the promise of more restaurant ventures to come.
Againn is located at 1099 New York Ave. in Washington, D.C. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Visit www.againndc.com, or call (202) 297-0601.
For a late-night take on seasonal Italian food, chef/partner Steve Gonzalez is set to open Zavino in October on the trendy 13th St. Corridor in Philadelphia's Midtown Village. The Italian kitchen and wine bar will be open until 2 a.m. daily serving wood-fired pizzas, charcuterie, seasonal salads and pasta until late as well as cocktails, wine and beer. Zavino's menu will change seasonally, as is customary in Italy. Thus, be on the lookout for items such as pizza with sliced fresh artichokes, Swiss chard and Pecorino Romano cheese, roasted red and golden beets with pistachios and goat cheese, roasted lamb with fried eggplant and mint and homemade beef ravioli with brown butter and sage. Gonzalez spent years working in Italy, Spain and New York, in addition to working under Philadelphia's acclaimed chef Marc Vetri.
Zavino is located at 112 S. 13th St., Philadelphia, Pa. Open daily 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. No reservations. Visit www.zavino.com, or call (215) 732-2400.
An 18-year staple in the New York City dining scene, American seafood restaurant Oceana reopened its doors on Sept. 15 at its new home just west of Rockefeller Center. The flagship restaurant of Livanos Restaurant Group, the new Oceana offers a raw bar, a full-service bar and a Chef's Table in the kitchen. With the arrival of warmer weather next year, Oceana will also provide outdoor seating for up to 60 guests. Executive chef Ben Pollinger will provide a daily selection of fresh, whole fish, prime meats and naturally raised fowl on the lunch and dinner menus. Pastry chef Jansen Chan will offer playful favorites from Oceana's menu like the doughnut platter as well as new creations. Signature cocktails incorporating fresh juice, house-made syrups and seasonings are complemented by a wine list made up of 500 selections featuring 37 grape varietals.
Oceana is located at 1221 Avenue of the Americas at 49th St. in the McGraw Hill Building. Open daily for lunch and dinner and brunch on weekends. Visit www.livanosrestaurantgroup.com, or call (212) 759-5941.
Named for a soil type that produces Oregon's famous Pinot Noirs, Jory Restaurant opened Sept. 26 at The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, Ore. The fine-dining restaurant offers cuisine in the style of the Pacific Northwest, with executive chef Nathan Lockwood at the helm offering dinner menu items like grilled Berkshire pork chop and Harmony peach with farro and charred scallions and crispy potato-crusted halibut over sautéed broccoli rabe, potato-olive oil emulsion and olives. Jory's 1 1/2-acre chef's garden will provide a bounty of seasonal vegetables, fruit and herbs that appear on the menu as in the Jory Garden zucchini soup with poached mussels, bacon and chives. Food and wine director Ercolino Crugnale and restaurant manager Tom Bean are also heading up the restaurant. And given The Allison's locale deep in the Willamette Valley wine region, the wine list is a hefty one, offering 700 bottles and 50 wines by the glass.
Jory Restaurant is located at the Allison Inn & Spa on 2525 Allison Lane, Newberg, Ore. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, reservations are available. Visit www.theallison.com/restaurant.php, or call (503) 554-2525.