October 24, 2017 Last Updated 12:24 pm

Penny Pollack, 70, to retire from Chicago magazine after 30 years

CHICAGO, Ill. — October 24, 2017 – Chicago magazine today announced the retirement of veteran dining editor Penny Pollack, 70.

“Penny is a civic treasure whose name is synonymous with dining out in Chicago,” said editor-in-chief and publisher Susanna Homan. “We are lucky that her wit and insight have graced our pages for three decades.”

Pollack joined the magazine as a part-time dining assistant in 1987. “I began by calling all the restaurants to update our dining guide every month, and I’m very detailed, and I got to know all these people,” she says. Though she didn’t yet have her bachelor’s degree or a background in writing anything beyond her travel diaries, a career path opened, and by 1994 she had ascended to dining editor.

Under her leadership, the dining department was nominated for a James Beard Award and won gold from the City and Regional Magazine Association for a 1998 pizza feature, “Through Thick and Thin.” Many more awards followed. A lifelong pizza connoisseur, Pollack published Everybody Loves Pizza in 2005 with co-author and Chicago contributor Jeff Ruby.

One of her favorite accomplishments: “In the early days of websites, I created a weekly four-item online feature called ‘Morsels,’” says Pollack. That evolved into “The Dish” electronic newsletter, which is now devoured by more than 31,000 foodies every Wednesday.

Pollack is the subject of Chicago’s November issue “Back Room,” the back-page feature showcasing the earned wisdom of local luminaries. Her last day with the publication is October 26, with the final dining section she oversaw appearing in the December 2017 issue.

“There’s so much to do in this city that I have no intention of being bored,” says Pollack. “I’m going to take a whack at the pile of books on my nightstand. And I’ll finally have time to sort out my contacts on my phone.” Now that, after three decades of cloaking her identity as a diner to remain anonymous, she is “out of the pantry,” she says, “I’m going to be eating out and saying ‘hi’ for a change.”

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