Beer Money | Morsels | Chicago Reader

Beer Money 

A new brewery gets a boost from Kickstarter, a proposed "mobile culinary center," bento boxes in Bucktown, and more

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By their January 1 deadline, Beejay Oslon and Gerrit Lewis of Pipeworks Brewing Company had not only met but exceeded their Kickstarter campaign goal of $30,000, raising $40,075 to help fund the microbrewery they plan to build on the north side. Now Northwestern MFA student Eric May has launched a modest campaign of his own ( He's seeking $3,000 by January 28 to add to a $9,000 grant he's received from Northwestern's Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts to buy and equip E-Dogz, a food truck—or as he prefers to put it, a "mobile culinary community center." "We just have a huge void here—we're so far behind that just regular food trucks won't cut it," he says. In addition to offering street food like hot dogs (both Chicago and Sonoran style), tamales, Jamaican patties, and soup, he plans on hosting guest chefs and cook-offs.

May, 32, has some experience in running kitchens. His Noble Square gallery, Roots & Culture, has one equipped with a 50-year-old professional range he salvaged four years ago from Ox-Bow, the arts camp in Saugatuck, Michigan, where he's worked as a chef since 1999. An ardent forager, he blogs on the subject for the Local Beet and has written a "cookzine," A Fungal Companion. At press time E-Dogz had raised $1,877.

click to enlarge Eric May
  • Eric May

Chris Curren, executive chef at Blue 13 (416 W. Ontario, 312-787-1400), has been named executive chef at Elate (111 W. Huron, 312-202-9900), in the Hotel Felix. He'll also continue as executive chef at Blue 13, where sous chef Paul Taufner has been promoted to chef de cuisine. Elate manager Anthony Fiore, who met Curren when they were manning food booths at Lollapalooza this summer, says opening chef Randal Jacobs, formerly of DeLaCosta, is out and "interviewing."

Rick Spiros, formerly of Red Canary and the short-lived Mantou Noodle Bar, has opened The Bento Box (2246 W. Armitage, 773-278-3932), a small eatery in the front of the storefront that houses his business Artisan Catering, where he's offering pan-Asian lunches and dinners—Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese. He says he adopted the concept to keep things simple: "You got your chopsticks, you got your bento box, you got your glass of water." The restaurant, which has seating for 12, is BYO.   

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