Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, September 28

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« Chicago Food Film Fest Kicks Off Tonight, Buffalo-Style The Dinner Party: Where It's Okay to Talk at the Dinner Table »

Restaurant Wed Nov 19 2014

$200 for a Year of Ramen: Furious Spoon's Kickstarter Campaign

ramen.jpg"Free" ramen for a year for only $200? Yes, read that again. The math is startling: assuming a ramen bowl costs $8, one can break even within a month, leaving 11 more months of free-ramen bliss.

Of course, you only get that by pledging support for Furious Spoon, a new ramen concept set to open February 2015 in Wicker Park. The restaurant is the latest project by Shin Thompson, the Michelin-starred chef behind Kabocha and Bonsoirée, now both closed. According to their Kickstarter website, "Furious Ramen will resemble a dive bar, and the décor will need to look rugged and somewhat dingy to reflect an authentic Tokyo-style ramen shop." Furious Spoon aims to mimic a typical ramen shop in Tokyo, including late night hours, fast eating and slurping (less than 10 minutes recommended), and an open kitchen facing a sunken bar.

Despite my infatuation with authentic ramen, I'm hesitant about the concept succeeding in an American climate. First, American dining is far more social than Japanese dining, so 10-minute meals may not appeal to diners who seek a more communal atmosphere. Tokyo ramen bars are usually filled with old Japanese businessmen, slurping down their food alone (before a drunken night at the karaoke hotel). Second, Americans emphasize aesthetics and service more than the Japanese. Do Chicagoans want dingy? The Japanese are not cursed with indignant Yelpers.

And yet, I'm pumped. Furious Spoon will never be Mitsuwa, but I hope it'll be close.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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