Chicago’s meals media will quickly lose one other lynchpin, as Steve Dolinsky’s 17 years at ABC 7 Chicago will finish in February. The Hungry Hound, the station’s roving meals character whose autographed portraits dangle in lots of of eating places throughout town, is leaving WLS-Channel 7.
Dolinsky, speaking to Chicago media reporter Robert Feder, says this was a mutual choice by him and the channel’s administration. Nevertheless, Feder additionally speculates that COVID-19, which has repeatedly suspended indoor eating in Chicago, performed a job in ABCs choice to not renew the Hound’s contract.
The pandemic additionally damage Dolinsky’s enterprise, as he had began a culinary touring firm taking individuals round city to his favourite pizzerias. This was an outgrowth of his Pizza Metropolis USA e book that allowed him to flex as a Chicago pizza skilled, making him a simple interview for national food writers compiling tales in regards to the metropolis’s scene (the e book additionally generated some frustration from pizzeria homeowners who thought they have been unfairly handled). The model additionally featured a pizza stall at Revival Food Hall within the Loop with eating places rotating out and in to showcase totally different types together with tavern and deep dish.
Meals halls will proceed to be in Dolinsky’s future, as in accordance with a station memo circulated Thursday, he’ll develop a consultancy “to curate culinary expertise for meals halls and music festivals across the nation.” He had been shifting away from conventional journalism lately, even bulking up his social media accounts via unorthodox means.
Dolinsky received 13 James Beard media awards and he additionally co-hosted a podcast with chef Rick Bayless. Dolinsky is understood for meals runs the place he visits lesser recognized eating places to deliver them publicity. Now he says he’s working to develop his protection past Chicago. In a Facebook post, Dolinsky — who has second e book releasing this 12 months — writes that he stays dedicated to spotlighting Chicago eating places, but in addition in increasing his attain.
“I’m excited for the numerous prospects — lending my identify to tasks and types I’m keen about, working with eating places and cooks I love, and curating the expertise for actual property builders, meals halls and music festivals across the nation,” Dolinsky writes.
Nonetheless, this information could also be disturbing to these already anxious that town doesn’t obtain sufficient nationwide highlight. Earlier this month, Phil Vettel retired after 31 years as Tribune eating critic. Vettel’s critiques made it simple for nationwide critics to maintain their eyes on Chicago, giving town (the place culinary tourism helped pay the payments earlier than the pandemic) a lot wanted consideration. That spotlight helps draw to town, encourages builders to construct eating places, and helps entice prime cooks to work in Chicago.
After Vettel’s announcement, Fooditor’s Michael Gebert advised Eater Chicago how, ideally, a metropolis must be represented by a number of critics, as totally different voices and views present for a richer image to tell locals. Gebert and Mike Sula stay town’s longest-tenured meals writers. Sula has been with the Reader since 1995. Even earlier than she joined the Tribune in 2016, Louisa Chu has been overlaying the native scene. She served as Anthony Bourdain’s information for his well-known journey to Chicago for the 2008 No Reservations shoot, and was a correspondent for Connoisseur. Chu would presumably be a candidate for Vettel’s previous job if the Tribune elects to fill the place.
With Dolinsky’s departure from native airwaves, this solely leaves Audarshia Townsend — who seems on WGN-TV — as the one native character usually overlaying Chicago’s meals scene on TV information. TV reveals like Test, Please! and Chicago’s Greatest match into one other class.
There appears to be a vacuum in Chicago for meals writing. As media firms spend much less, future alternatives might not exist with a significant community or publication. However latest departures might pave the way in which for extra range as Vettel and Dolinsky are each white males whose work dominated town’s crucial protection. Platforms, like Substack, have proven journalists there’s life for independents. That’s a highway Gebert has taken as he works on his personal e book.
Dolinsky’s final ABC Chicago story airs on February 20, in accordance with his Fb submit.
And in different information…
— Red Hot Ranch, the fabulous late-night sizzling canine stand that last year moved its unique Western Avenue location in Bucktown, made an look on the latest episode of Chicago P.D. The present aired on Wednesday, however RDR proprietor Jeff Greenfield says TV crews have been at his restaurant again in November. Greenfield tells Eater that the scene was initially written for a neighborhood bar, however the present’s location supervisor actually appreciated Purple Sizzling Ranch, in order that they’ve switched locales to deliver publicity to the restaurant through the pandemic: “Hope it generates extra enterprise at a time it’s sorely wanted,” Greenfield says.
— Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, a well-liked purveyor amongst well-known Chicago cooks together with Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill) and Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat), earned nationwide recognition this month with two wins on the 2021 Good Food Awards. It’s a comeback story for the farm in downstate Champaign, which is among many that have struggled because of the pandemic and mass restaurant closures.
— Veteran chef and restaurateur John Manion (El Che) will take over the kitchen at iconic live performance venue and bar FitzGerald’s in suburban Berwyn for a brand new spot known as Babygold Barbecue, according to the Tribune. A resident of Berwyn himself, Manion guarantees barbecue favorites like pork shoulder, in addition to Creole-inspired dishes and weird choices like a head of cauliflower that’s slowly smoked. FitzGerald’s has labored to keep spirits high during the pandemic with out of doors reveals, frozen drinks, and a chef’s burger collection. Possession hasn’t introduced a gap date however goals to launch this spring.