I rarely bother writing about opening days of restaurants, since whatever a publicist promises, in terms of actual dates, usually gets pushed back due to forces beyond their control. So take this with a few bags of Maldon. But the reason I’m letting you know about White Oak Tavern & Inn is not because of its owner – John Manilow, the guy behind the legendary John’s Place in Lincoln Park – but rather, the other John they’ve tapped to run it (now more than ever, the old title really makes sense). John Asbaty, you may recall, was the driving force behind the late, lamented Panozzo’s Italian Market in the South Loop, which I still can’t figure out how it closed. I did a story for ABC 7 three years ago about the joint, specifically, the new era Italian beef that Asbaty created. His experience at Alinea and Trio, meshed with the quality of product he was getting, resulted in some of the best Italian deli food I’d ever had. I have no idea if the press releases are true, but I do know this guy can cook, so if they are, indeed, opening tonight, I suggest you head over to West Webster and see for yourself. Incidentally, that “Inn” in the title isn’t just for show. Like Longman & Eagle, this restaurant will house two apartments, one of which boasts four bedrooms, so looks like Manilow and his wife are not only restaurateurs, they’re Innkeepers as well.
White Oak Tavern & Inn
1200 W. Webster Ave., Chicago; (773) 248-0200