Centerstage - Chicago's Original City Guide

Virtual L ®

CRUMB and FestFile is Centerstage Chicago's Weekly E-Newsletter.
Enter your email to get
our weekly newsletter:

Who's Who Chicago: Centerstage People
Michael Nagrant
Personal Website:
Mike never met an organ meat he didn't like...until he ate the eyeball or "ojo" taco at Chicago's Maxwell Street Sunday market. He now chooses his mystery meat encounters more carefully.

He also thinks too many people rely on irony over talent. Seriously.


Articles by Michael

Let the Candy Outta the Bag
Dining Guides. 09/23/2009.
Treat yourself to some Halloween sweets from these creative candy spots.

Jason Vincent
Food and Drink. 11/17/2008.
Pilsen Lula's executive chef values taste over truffles...which means good things for your wallet.

Radhika Desai
Chicago's latest Top Chef contestant dishes on chili dogs, animal attacks and her favorite restaurants.

Randy Zweiban
Food and Drink. 10/27/2008.
After a decade at Nacional 27, the drummer-turned-chef makes new music at Province.

The Ultimate Tailgater's Companion
Dining Guides. 10/03/2008.
Score big points at your next tailgate by putting together a football fantasy feast.

Ryan Poli
Food and Drink. 09/29/2008.
The South Side native now runs an in-demand North Side restaurant.

Brian Huston
Food and Drink. 09/15/2008.
The chef de cuisine of the highly anticipated Publican prepares to unleash some sinful offerings on the city.

Nick Lacasse
Food and Drink. 08/18/2008.
The Top Chef slayer speaks on cooking for the cocktail-and-club crowd.

Mark Sparacino
Food and Drink. 07/28/2008.
The Prosecco chef/owner brings a little gourmet flair to classic Italian cooking.

Snap That Trap
Dining Guides. 06/16/2008.
Got some hungry tourists on your hands? Skip the usual suspects and hit the 'hoods for these hot spots.

Sean Eastwood
Food and Drink. 06/16/2008.
The Olo chef looks to bring a successful suburban concept to the city.

Laurent Gras
Food and Drink. 06/02/2008.
As chef of the recently opened L20, he's redefining the way diners think of seafood.

Louisa Chu
Food and Drink. 05/19/2008.
The culinary journalist's impressive resume includes a stint as an "Iron Chef" judge.

Jose Garces
Food and Drink. 04/29/2008.
The Mercat a la Planxa chef started his burgeoning restaurant empire in Philly, but his heart lies in Chicago.

Kendal Duque
Food and Drink. 10/21/2007.
Sepia's chef infuses his fare with passion and flair.

Jeremy Lycan
Food and Drink. 10/15/2007.
The chef of Geneva restaurant Niche carries on his mentor's legacy while crafting a menu of his own.

John Hogan
Food and Drink. 10/08/2007.
Tavern at the Park's chef keeps a cool head in the kitchen.

Christophe David
Food and Drink. 10/01/2007.
NoMI's chef keeps the focus on traditional, haute cuisine with finely tuned details.

Daryl Nash
Food and Drink. 09/24/2007.
Otom's chef adds touches of ingenuity to classic dishes.

George Bumbaris and Sarah Stegner
Food and Drink. 09/17/2007.
Prairie Grass Cafe co-owners swapped high-end cuisine for four-star accessible eats.

Richard Sandoval
Food and Drink. 09/10/2007.
This chef heats up Mexx Kitchen at the Whiskey Bar with chilies galore.

James Gottwald
Food and Drink. 09/04/2007.
The Rockit chef's haute comfort food shines in the limelight.

Saved by the Lunch Bell
Dining Guides. 08/28/2007.
Relive your lunchroom days by grabbing a tray at these cafeteria-style restaurants.

Natalie Zarzour
Food and Drink. 08/26/2007.
Pasticceria Natalina's chef doesn't skimp on quality ingredients when it comes to her custard-filled sweets.

Toby Maloney
Food and Drink. 08/19/2007.
The Violet Hour's mixologist turns foodies into drinkies with his intensely fresh cocktails.

Greg Christian
Food and Drink. 08/12/2007.
This chef's Organic School Project teaches students about healthy eating and sustainable living.

Carol Wallack
Food and Drink. 08/06/2007.
This surfer-turned-chef brightens up the city with sola's sunny fare.

Allison Levitt
Food and Drink. 07/29/2007.
This eco-minded pastry chef crafts elegant, simple sweets at 312 Chicago.

Quintessential Summer Eats
Dining Guides. 07/23/2007.
Make the most of the season by indulging in the must-have eats.

Mary Madison
Food and Drink. 07/22/2007.
Lagniappe's chef dishes up made-from-scratch eats for customers and community members in need.

Barry Sorkin
Food and Drink. 07/15/2007.
Smoque's chef lets you in on why you might miss his can't-miss brisket.

Shin Thompson
Food and Drink. 07/06/2007.
Bonsoiree Cafe's chef fishes out the freshest fare from the sea.

Bill Dugan
Food and Drink. 07/02/2007.
The Fishguy Market's main man reels in pristine fish and seafood-loving crowds.

Mindy Friedler and Mark Bires
Food and Drink. 06/25/2007.
The duo behind Jerry's Sandwiches talk up their Super Subway and upcoming second location.

Noah Bekofsky
Food and Drink. 06/18/2007.
Old-fashioned ice cream meets newfangled customized flavors in aria's kitchen.

Jorgina Pereira
Food and Drink. 06/11/2007.
Sinha's chef opens her home and her heart to Chicagoans to spread the Brazilian love.

Mike Sheerin
Food and Drink. 06/01/2007.
Blackbird's Paul Kahan successfully passes the tongs to this former WD-50 sous chef.

Chris and Mary Spagnola
Food and Drink. 05/30/2007.
The husband-and-wife team behind Emilio's Sunflower Bistro dishes on the importance of ingenuity.

Bridging the Diet Divide
Dining Guides. 05/21/2007.
Where herbivores and carnivores happily eat side by side.

Mindy Segal
Food and Drink. 05/18/2007.
Hot Chocolate's owner/chef masters the sweet and the savory of haute-comfort cuisine.

Shelley Young
Food and Drink. 05/11/2007.
The Chopping Block owner is making friends, one dish at a time.

Erwin Drechsler
Food and Drink. 05/08/2007.
Erwin's man of the kitchen, maitre d' of the house introduces fresh food and new talent.

Beyond the Burrito
Dining Guides. 05/02/2007.
Chuck the Meximelt and give Cinco de Mayo its proper due with our guide to Mexican bests.

Jorge Miranda
Food and Drink. 04/30/2007.
The Las Palmas chef rises to the top of the kitchen but keeps his pride in his past in-tact.

Susan Goss
Food and Drink. 04/20/2007.
West Town Tavern's chef dishes on her love of the life surrounding the food.

Frank Georgacopoulos
Food and Drink. 04/16/2007.
Meli Cafe's chef stitches together science and culinary imagination to create morning delights.

Michael Altenberg
Food and Drink. 04/13/2007.
The eco-minded chef shares his love of sushi, simple foods and local, organic goodness.

Where to Eat the Bunny
Dining Guides. 04/03/2007.
From braised rabbit stew to golden-fried spring rolls, these spots cover your bunny needs.

Alexander Cheswick
Food and Drink. 04/02/2007.
This chef takes his Le Francais and Tru training and whips up fancy fare at his own May Street Market kitchen.

Stephanie Izard
Food and Drink. 03/26/2007.
Scylla's chef rekindles the flame for clean and elegant seafood with neighborhood-friendly prices.

Tentori Giuseppe
Food and Drink. 03/20/2007.
Charlie Trotter's former right-hand man takes the helm at this acclaimed Halsted Street spot.

Jeanne Carlson
Food and Drink. 03/14/2007.
This native Chicagoan glams up Irish classics with haute flair.

Where's the Beef?
Dining Guides. 03/12/2007.
These unsung beef stand heroes sling thin slices, fresh giardineria and even cheddar cheese.

Unusual Suspects
Dining Guides. 03/04/2007.
The best food spots you haven't heard of.

Gil Langlois
Food and Drink. 02/26/2007.
Chalkboard's chef/owner explains who's the boss of his restaurant...his son.

Taking You Down to Chinatown…Bakeries
Dining Guides. 02/19/2007.
Replacing ham and havarti croissants with barbecue pork and bean paste-stuffed buns.

Malika Ameen and Mohammad Islam
Food and Drink. 02/12/2007.
The owners of Aigre Doux Restaurant and Bakery bring their Cali experience to Chi-Town.

The Bistro Breakdown
Dining Guides. 02/05/2007.
Kindle that romance over fabulous French...just save the messy French onion soup for the second date.

Taste of Polonia
Dining Guides. 01/22/2007.
Got a hankering for sauerkraut? Get your fill with a little help from our guide to Chicago's best Polish spots.

Get Sum
Dining Guides. 01/15/2007.
Fend off chopstick-wielding Chicagoans for a taste of dumpling zen at these local dim sum palaces.

Best Of The Buffets
Dining Guides. 01/08/2007.
All-you-can-eat spots that take a big step up from Golden Corral-status.

Hamid Javanbakht
Drinks go way beyond the Jack & Coke norm at Tru.

Look Ma, No Lines
Dining Guides. 01/01/2007.
Five spots where you don't need to wait an eternity for a plate of eggs.

Naeem Murr
Arts and Words. 12/19/2006.
Talking with the author of The Perfect Man.

Cheap Bar Burgers that Don't Suck
Nightlife Guides. 11/28/2006.
Sure, you're only paying a dollar. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't have a million dollar meal.

The True Blues Experience
Untrapping Tourism. 11/13/2006.
Setting out to find real-deal blues, compliments of Rosa's Lounge.

Adam Seger
Food and Drink. 11/13/2006.
The GM, Sommelier and Bar Chef at Nacional 27 shares a thing or two about cocktails.

Chilly? Think Chili
Dining Guides. 10/30/2006.
A multi-bean cure for the common Chicago winter.

Beyond the Hopleaf
Nightlife Guides. 10/23/2006.
We love it, too. But it's not the only good spot for a gourmet brew.

The World on a Plate
Dining Guides. 10/23/2006.
Exploring Chicago's ethnic markets.

Snobby Late-Night Dining
Dining Guides. 10/06/2006.
Dining late doesn't equal a stale-taco fate.

Elizabeth Crane
Arts and Words. 10/02/2006.
The Chicago author's real skill lies in her celebration of customary moments.

Grungy Punk Bars
Nightlife Guides. 10/02/2006.
Break out the Ramones tee and your best Johnny Rotten sneer and take a ride to the best drinking caves in town.

Getting High at the Signature Lounge
Untrapping Tourism. 09/18/2006.
Viewing the city in style with a martini by your side.

Mitch Einhorn
Getting the skinny on bourbon and more from the owner of Twisted Spoke.

Ayun Halliday
Arts and Words. 09/11/2006.
Talking with the author of Dirty Sugar Cookies.

A Steal on Suds
Nightlife Guides. 09/04/2006.
A quick primer on Chicago's bargain beer.

Is Science for Geeks?
Untrapping Tourism. 08/21/2006.
An exploration of the Museum of Science and Industry.

Haute Eats at the Hotel Restaurant
Dining Guides. 08/07/2006.
This ain't your grandparent's hotel dining.

The Culinary Adventurer's Guide to Chicago
Dining Guides. 07/24/2006.
Palate-pleasing options for the diner who's ready to take on tripe.

Beyond the Chimichanga
Dining Guides. 06/18/2006.
A Maxwell Street Market primer.

Theatre Reviews by Michael

Venues Reviewed by Michael

Check Out More Centerstage People
chicago, metromix