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Chi Represents in James Beard; The Check, Please Finalists

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This week's top dish from Eater Chicago, the restaurant, bar, and nightlife blog.

CHICAGO—The finalists for the 2013 James Beard Awards, the highest honor in food and drink, were announced this week. Chicago is killing it this year, garnering 16 nominations in food, drink and media. The winners will be crowned in May.

BUCKTOWN—Cult North Avenue BBQ joint Lillie's Q was nearly destroyed in an overnight fire on Friday, causing it to close indefinitely. It's unknown if they will ever reopen but owner Charlie McKenna is defiant, telling Eater "oh, yea."

CHICAGO—The Sweet Seventeen for the vacant Check, Please host position were also announced this week, and the list runs runs the gamut of chefs, restaurateurs, media types, and servers. Eater contributor Catherine De Orio, Charlie Trotter's wife Rochelle, and Food Network Challenge winner Sarah Levy are among them.

CHICAGO—A slew of openings happened in the past week, including an over-the-top River North bar/club/restaurant with a full-retractable roof and descending DJ booth, American Junkie. Takito Kitchen, Hash, Central Standard and Homeslice also opened up.