Top story: All hell is breaking loose because Spuds McKenzie bought Goose Island? Relax everyone. It's going to be fine. I, for one, can't wait for the hilarious Goose Island commercials with young drinkers doing whatever it takes to get a 312 or a Honkers Ale. Honkers Ale? I'm sure the fine people at Leo Burnett are already working up a line of ads that give us "Honker Man," who despite his big nose and geeky persona, scores with the ladies because of beer. Gold! Man, I should work in advertising...
B story: So Jerry Kleiner is just folding up shop and moving on? How will we live without his colorfully striped rayon shirts?
The restaurant magnet that helmed KDK group for years and brought high-concept dining to the forefront in Chicago has run into tax problems. Giocco in the South Loop closed last week because they weren't paying select taxes. And then Red Light in the West Loop was closed for operating without a liquor license, which was not renewed. Throw in the closing of Marche in the fall and KDK is in a free fall. Kleiner is interesting because he made fine dining hot without star chefs. Today, he has to compete with the Izards and the Achatz of the world. It's a sad ending to a very instrumental time in Chicago's culinary scene. It seems to be kind of a chaotic mess, but I guess that's how restaurants do it: Burn bright and flame out. They rarely tell you they are closing, or do a liquidation sale for two months like Borders.
But here's the thing, Jerry: Haven't you learned anything about running a business in Illinois? When you don't want to pay taxes, don't close up shop. Just threaten to leave the state. In other words, pull a "Caterpillar."
C story: The Better Government Association and Fox Chicago did an investigation into CTA buses and red light camera tickets. It turns out that a tremendous amount of those tickets are slapped on cars and buses with M plates, not to mention CTA buses. But do the CTA bus drivers pay? Nope, CTA does - $227,000 since 2006. That means it gets passed on to taxpayers and riders in the forms of more federal/state funding and fare hikes. So the next time you want that bus to get through that yellow light so you can get home faster, remember it will probably cost you about $4 - maybe even more if the bus isn't packed.
Weather: Still unseasonably cold. Although my iPhone tells me we might hit the 50s by Sunday.
Sports: Okay fine, you got us, Blackhawks. We'll start paying attention now. The Blackhawks were on the verge of playing golf this April. They lost some key games down the stretch and were watching from the bottom of the playoff brackets. Last night, they gave Chicago a taste why they won the Stanley Cup with a 3-2 OT win over the Red Wings in Detroit. Will this be the game that wakes up the Hawks? Come on Hawks, we need a playoff run! We want mass hysteria in the West Loop for both the Hawks and the Bulls. For a while there, it looked like we might get it - but the Hawks need to hold up their end of the bargain. So let's put our rally caps on and hope the Hawks pull a UCONN and win 9 or so in a row. Think of the local economy, fellas. A good strong surge? And those t-shirt/hat shops on Michigan Avenue (just south of Wacker) can stay in business.
Kicker: Mission Amy KR never ceases to amaze me. Another great mission last week, where Amy Krouse Rosenthal asked her readers to send in pictures to show solidarity and support for the Japanese people. You did. And she put together this great slideshow: