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The Chicago Restaurant, Bar, and Nightlife Blog https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/community_logos/52682/favicon-32x32.png 2018-05-23T16:35:19-05:00
Updated: 1 hour 43 min ago

Lettuce Entertain You’s Ramen-san Is Now Open in the West Loop

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 16:35

Take a tour and check out the new bowls

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises increases its West Loop/Fulton Market footprint today as Rich Melman’s company has opened Ramen-san in between Randolph Street and Fulton Market. Ramen-san debuted in 2014 in River North, giving the area a playful spot with soup, Japanese dumplings, and late-night fried rice. The new location at 219 N. Green Street takes the elements from the original and throws in a few new curveballs.

Check out the new restaurant’s menu here. The restaurant brings late-night fried rice to the area after 10 p.m. when a special rotating selection will be available after that time. Take note: this location is credit card payments only. The location also serves three new ramens including a spicy yuzu (smoked chicken thigh, enoki, molten egg) and a katsu curry (fried pork cutlet, onsen egg).

Ramen-san isn’t the first ramen spot in the neighborhood. Ramen Takeya’s chicken-based broth stands out on Fulton Market, and the spicy bowls at High Five Ramen just south of Randolph Street are among the city’s best.

Take a tour of the space below. Ramen-san’s second location is now open in the West Loop.

Ramen-san, 219 N. Green Street, (773) 645-0085, open 4 p.m. to midnight on Sunday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Ramen-san’s windows open up to make use of the average three days of spring Chicagoans expect. The simple aesthetic is the same as in River North. Ramen is served here. Order a sake bomb here. Hello, kitties. Japanese whisky and beer to go with that bowl. It’s a compact space on Green Street. Ramen-san caters to small parties, too. Spicy Yuzu Katsu Curry Imperial Shio

Alpana Singh Says She’s Returning as ‘Check, Please’ Host

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 14:33

Singh was replaced by Catherine De Orio in 2013

After a five-year absence, it looks like Alpana Singh is returning to Check, Please!, PBS Chicago’s dining show that assembles three strangers who share their dining experiences, Crain’s reports. Singh hosted the show for 10 seasons before going into the world of restaurants as she owns Boarding House in River North and Terra & Vine in suburban Evanston. Singh reportedly signed a two-year contract to return.

Singh’s replacement, Catherine De Orio, wasn’t reached for comment. The reasons for the reported change aren’t clear. The show’s creator, David Manilow, recently unveiled a new dining show on PBS Chicago. Dishalicious features Monteverde chef/owner Sarah Grueneberg as host with a rotating group of chefs. Manilow told Eater Chicago last month that he saw his new show as complement to his old one. Check, Please! has ran since 2001. Manilow wasn’t immediately reached.

Crain’s broke the story, and Singh told the publication that she wants to create a voice for restaurant owners who seemed swallowed in a vortex of online criticism whether it’s from Yelp, Facebook, or Instagram. Singh, a master sommelier who helped Chicago secure Beard Awards, also talked about the need for diversity on TV. Singh was born in California and is of Indian descent. This is shown by a series of marketing materials made by the city of Chicago. Singh, when reached on the phone, confirmed what she told Crain’s, but couldn’t immediately share details. She had a wine class.

De Orio, a former attorney and Kendall College graduate, hosted the show for five seasons. She’s now the executive director of the Kendall College trust.

The show’s original host, Amanda Puck, was onboard for two season before Singh took over in 2003. The show’s success has begotten versions in other cities. Check back for updates.

River North Gets Another Rooftop Bar With Boozy Rose Ice Pops

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 10:27

Plus, Big Star Wrigleyville opens its to-go window and a Food & Wine sommelier of the year exits The Gage Group

— River North is getting another rooftop bar destination Thursday at 3 p.m., just in time for summery weather and Memorial Day weekend. Bounce Sporting Club, the new-ish sports clubstaurant at 324 W. Chicago Avenue, will serve an array of frozen cocktails, boozy ice pops, bottle service and other alcoholic beverages; plus a full food menu in a rooftop space that includes bleacher seating. Check out the full food and drink menus below.

— Wrigleyville has already gotten its own location of Wicker Park icon Big Star, but now the ever-popular honky tonk whiskey taqueria has unveiled one of its most-popular features: the to-go window, which is now open to serve its full taco menu on Sundays through Fridays until 11 p.m. and Saturdays until midnight.

—Sommelier Jon McDaniel has left Billy Lawless’s Gage Hospitality Group where he spent five years as beverage director for restaurants including The Gage, The Dawson, Beacon Tavern, and Coda di Volpe. The latter is a collaboration between Gage and Gemini parent Ballyhoo Hospitality. McDaniel is a Food & Wine Sommelier of the Year for 2018, and worked at Purple Pig, among other spots. McDaniel tells Eater Chicago that he’ll be staying in Chicago with the hope of growing the city’s wine community. He’s working on a few possibilities: “I cannot begin to thank Billy Lawless, family, the whole Gage staff and their guests on supporting my journey and growth with this company,” McDaniel wrote in a Facebook post.

— Uptown Chinese favorite Hon Kee, which originally opened in 1981, is in the midst of a large expansion that encompasses the entire building at 1064 W. Argyle Street, the Tribune reports. Look for a remodeled space, a larger menu, and more features when its complete hopefully around the year’s end.

— West Loop staples Morgan Street Cafe and M2 Cafe have been sold to new ownership, according to hospitality real estate firm Kudan Group. The restaurants, at 111 S. Morgan Street and 850 W. Jackson Boulevard respectively, will continue to operate as is under the same names.

— And finally, a thief outside Indian Garden in Streeterville on Sunday stole the restaurant’s van which was full of custom-designed Indian-imported food carts, trays, platters, candlesticks, and other dishware, Fox 32 reports. Owner Anu Sharma tells the TV station that she’ll offer $1000 to anyone who returns the equipment and doesn’t even care about getting the van back.

Bounce Rooftop Menu by Daniel Gerzina on Scribd

Cocktail Menu Rooftop by Daniel Gerzina on Scribd

Correction: The Bounce Sporting Club blurb was edited to reflect that it’s opening on Thursday, not today.

Inside Boxcar Betty’s Fried Chicken’s First Chicago Location

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 16:32

The South Carolina chain will soon debut at Ogilvie

Chicago’s first Boxcar Betty’s could open later this week inside the Ogilvie Transportation Center, but right now management is waiting for the city’s OK on an inspection. The Midwestern debut could take longer so the official word from the Charleston, South Carolina fried chicken sandwich mini-chain is that it’s opening soon in the West Loop. Fans will have to wait a little more to taste fried chicken breasts that are brined overnight in three styles (traditional, Buffalo, and sweet waffle-style).

The design for the 1,725-square-foot space is inspired by a boxcar, according to a spokesperson. The back wall is made of barn wood, a throwback to the original location. They’ve taken over the former Eastman Egg Company space inside Ogilvie.

For now, take a stroll through the 22-seat restaurant at 500 W. Madison Street. The chain started in 2014 and they’ve got two locations in South Carolina. Ownership hopes to open a few more locations in the city and suburbs. Come back later this week for an update on an opening date.

Boxcar Betty’s entrance The back wall’s made of barn wood, inspired by the original location. The two registers and menu. Sandwiches come in three styles, and in fried or grilled chicken as well as a pimento-stuffed mushroom. The design is inspired by a boxcar. The chickens are from a local supplier. Sweet tea is part of the experience. Some merchandise behind the counter. Buffalo fried chicken sandwich (Buffalo sauce with lettuce, tomato, and blue cheese dressing). Seasoned fries and sweet potato fries The original Boxcar fried chicken sandwich (spicy mayo, peach coleslaw, pickles, pimento cheese) and fries. Not-So-Waffle fried chicken sandwich (pimento cheese, bacon jam, maple syrup, tomato) Fried green tomatoes Fried pickles

Where to Eat at O'Hare International Airport (ORD), Summer 2018

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 15:18

Don't settle for depressing airline food

Millions of passengers will be taking to the skies in the coming weeks with Memorial Day approaching. As one of the busiest hubs in the world, O'Hare International Airport has lots of hungry mouths to feed. Fortunately, upgrades in the dining lineup over the last several years mean visitors won't have to start their journeys off on the wrong foot with a bad meal. So don't despair when that inevitable flight delay occurs; check out the Eater Chicago O'Hare Airport Dining Guide to find the best spots to grab a bite and drink.

O’Hare’s 10 Standouts HMSHost

1) Tortas Frontera: By now, everyone knows about Rick Bayless’s airport oasis. But here’s a pro tip: Fliers can order ahead of time online and have those griddle-baked tortas magically waiting once they get through security. Conversely, when the plane lands, pull out that phone (but don’t bother to text a loved one; tortas are important), place an order while on the tarmac and, again, the food will be ready after de-boarding. (Terminals 1, 3, and 5; Gates B10, K4, and M12)

HMSHost

2) Publican Tavern: One Off Hospitality Group has brought a miniature version of their beloved Publican brand to O’Hare and it’s been a huge success. The bar features 10 draft beers alongside craft bottles and cans from lower brewers such as Half Acre. Guests can pair them with signature bites ported over from the Publican menus, including pork rinds, a pub burger, and Slagel Family Farm roasted chicken. (Terminal 3; Gate K1)

HMSHost

3) Wicker Park Seafood and Sushi Bar: This sushi bar has nothing to do with the Wicker Park neighborhood, as HMSHost management discovered customers responded well to the name. The 104-seat restaurant gives travelers the option of enjoying nigiri, sashimi, maki, and specialty rolls. The full bar serves sake and shochu, and also has a sushi takeaway counter. (Terminal 2; Main Hall)

HMSHost

4) Summer House Santa Monica: The airport version of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprise’s Lincoln Park restaurant offers counter service and grab-and-go items. California-style items like salads, tacos, burgers, and breakfast sandwiches are available. The restaurant’s signature house-made cookies and pastries are also here. (Terminal 2; Main Hall)

Westfield

5) Tocco: As part of the Terminal 5 overhaul, this Wicker Park Italian eatery has an outpost at O'Hare. The contemporary restaurant dishes out Neapolitan wood-fired pizzas alongside an assortment of trattoria fare including pastas and salads. Diners can get a fresh taste of Italy, even if it's not their final destination. (Terminal 5; Gate M7)

Berghoff Cafe

6) Berghoff Cafe: The iconic Chicago German restaurant has an O'Hare location with its own seating area and a selection of sandwiches that range from breakfast creations to corned beef and Reuben. Flatbread pizzas are also available alongside Berghoff beer drafts. (Terminal 1; Gate C26)

Yelp

7) La Tapenade: A Mediterranean-themed cafe that offers flatbread pizzas, salads, wraps, and grilled panini sandwiches. There's also a full bar and an assortment of dessert pastries. As a bonus, it's located in three different terminals as well. (Terminals 1, 2, and 3; Gates B4, E9, F20, and H14)

Yelp

8) Bubbles Wine Bar: Settle in for a spell at this jazz club-like bar with soft blue lighting and a grand piano. Sparkling wine is the focus here, paired with meats and cheeses. (Terminal 3; Gate H4)

HMSHost

9) Beaudevin: This European-inspired wine bar sports a granite-topped bar, wine glass chandeliers, and more than 20 wines available by the glass, bottle, or flight. Pair them with olives, figs, or various tartines like roasted herb chicken and Scottish smoked salmon. (Terminal 1; Gate C17)

Yelp

10) Garrett Popcorn: Chicago's cult-favorite popcorn shop offers signature flavors such as butter, CheeseCorn, and CaramelCrisp. For those not hungry enough for a full meal, it’s the perfect light snack. Grab a bag and and watch in amazement as it quickly depletes. (Terminals 1 and 3; Gates B8 and H2)

Meanwhile, here's a geographic breakdown of existing dining options:

Terminal 1 | Concourses B and C Full Service/Sit-Down
  • Beaudevin: Wine bar (C17)
  • Berghoff Cafe: Sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, pizzas and beers on tap (C26)
  • Billy Goat Tavern and Grill: Burgers, breakfast, beer (C19)
  • Chili’s Too: Sandwiches, salads, burgers, bar food (B14)
  • Galileo Bar & Grill: Bar, hot dogs, sandwiches (B19)
  • Goose Island Beer Company: Sandwiches, salads, bar (B1, C10)
  • Jazz Bar: Bar (C19)
  • La Tapenade: Pizzas, pastries, wraps, sandwiches (B4)
  • Tuscany Cafe: Italian, pastas, pizzas, beer, wine (B18)
Yelp Tuscany Cafe A Quick Meal
  • America’s Dog: Hot dogs, soups, salads (C17)
  • Auntie Anne’s: Pretzels (C18)
  • Brioche Doree: Sandwiches, espresso, pastries (C21, ticketing)
  • Cafe Zoot!: Sandwiches, smoothies, pastries (C19)
  • Chicago Style Hot Dogs: Hot dogs (C8)
  • Ciao Gourmet Market: Sandwiches, salads (C15, baggage)
  • Eli’s Cheesecake: Cheesecakes, desserts (B9)
  • Farmer’s Fridge: Salads, grain bowls (B20)
  • Fresh Market on the Go: Salads, sandwiches, chocolates, salads (C23)
  • Garrett Popcorn: Popcorn (B8)
  • Great American Bagel Company: Bagels, sandwiches (B14)
  • Jamba Juice: Smoothies (B7)
  • Manchu Wok: Chinese (C19)
  • McDonald’s: Fast food (B11, C10)
  • Nuts on Clark: Nuts, chocolate, popcorn (C19)
  • Reggio’s Chicago Style Pizzeria: Pizza, hot dogs (C19, C22)
  • Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory: Chocolates (B14)
  • Salad Works: Salads (C19)
  • Smoothie King / The Grove: Smoothies (B6)
  • Starbucks: Coffee, tea, pastries (B5, B9, B14, C1, C27, baggage)
  • Tortas Frontera: Sandwiches, soups (B10)
  • Wolfgang Express: Sandwiches, salads (B7)
Terminal 2 | Concourses E and F Full Service/Sit-Down
  • Chili’s Too: Sandwiches, salads, burgers, bar food (F9)
  • La Tapenade: Pizzas, pastries, wraps, sandwiches (E9, F20)
  • Sky Bridge Bar & Grill: Mediterranean (F15)
  • Stanley’s Blackhawks Kitchen and Tap: Sandwiches, breakfast, bar food, sports bar (E3)
  • Summer House Santa Monica: Tacos, salads, sandwiches, pastries (Main hall)
  • Wicker Park Seafood and Sushi Bar: Sushi, sake (Main hall)
HMSHost Stanley’s Blackhawks Kitchen and Tap A Quick Meal
  • Argo Tea: Tea, coffee (E5)
  • Auntie Anne's: Pretzels (E4)
  • Brioche Doree: Sandwiches, espresso, pastries (F19)
  • Carry-Out Carry-On: Sandwiches, salads (E4)
  • Chicago Style Hot Dogs: Hot dogs (E5)
  • CIBO Express Gourmet Market: Sandwiches, wraps, salads, fruits, vegetarian (Main hall)
  • Connect to Chicago: Food delivery from various restaurants (F3)
  • Farmer’s Fridge: Salads, grain bowls (F9)
  • McDonald's: Fast food (F7)
  • Nuts on Clark: Nuts, chocolates, popcorn (E4)
  • Starbucks: Coffee, teas, pastries (E2, E11, baggage)
  • Uno's Pizza Express: Pizza (E3)
Terminal 3 | Concourses G, H, K, and L Full Service/Sit-Down
  • Bubbles Wine Bar: Wine bar (H4)
  • Chicago Cubs Bar & Grill: Paninis, burgers, chicken, salads, bar (Rotunda)
  • Chili's Too: Sandwiches, salads, burgers, bar food (G10, H2)
  • Facades Bar: Bar (K15)
  • Goose Island Beer Company: Sandwiches, salads, bar (L10A)
  • ICE Drinks & Dishes: Cocktails, salads, charcuterie, cheeses (L1)
  • La Tapenade: Pizzas, pastries, wraps, sandwiches (H14)
  • Macaroni Grill: Italian, pastas (K2)
  • O'Brien's Restaurant and Bar: Burgers, Hot dogs, sandwiches, bar (H5)
  • Prairie Tap: Burgers, sandwiches, bar food, bar (K4)
  • Publican Tavern: Sandwiches, salads, beer, wine (K1)
  • Rush Street Bar: Sandwiches, bar food, bar (H14)
  • Skyscrapers Bar: Bar (K9)
HMSHost The oddly-named ICE Bar A Quick Meal
  • Argo Tea: Tea, coffee (H1, main hall)
  • B.J.'s Market & Bakery: Southern soul food, bakery (K15)
  • Brioche Doree: Sandwiches, espresso, pastries (K15, rotunda)
  • B-Smooth: Smoothies, salads (K4)
  • Burrito Beach: Mexican (K4)
  • Chicago Style Hot Dogs: Hot dogs (Rotunda)
  • CIBO Express Gourmet Market: Sandwiches, wraps, salads, fruits, vegetarian (H1)
  • Dunkin' Donuts: Coffee, donuts, bagels (H5)
  • Farmer’s Fridge: Salads, grain bowls (K6, baggage)
  • Farmers Market: Sandwiches, salads, chocolates (Rotunda)
  • Fresh Attractions: Sandwiches, salads (H6)
  • Garrett Popcorn: Popcorn (H2)
  • Gold Coast Dogs: Hot dogs (L4)
  • Great American Bagel Company: Bagels, sandwiches (H10, K1, rotunda)
  • Green Market: Sandwiches, salads (L3)
  • Manchu Wok: Chinese (H5, Rotunda)
  • McDonald's: Fast food (H5, H9, K9, L4)
  • Nuts on Clark: Nuts, chocolates, popcorn (H8)
  • Reggio's Chicago Style Pizza: Pizza (G8, K4)
  • Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory: Chocolates (H5)
  • Starbucks: Coffee, teas, pastries (G13, H1, H6, H14, K4, K15, L1, baggage)
  • Subway: Sandwiches (Rotunda)
  • TCBY: Frozen yogurt (Rotunda)
  • Tortas Frontera: Sandwiches, soups (K4)
  • Uno's Pizza Express: Pizza (Rotunda)
  • Wolfgang Express: Sandwiches, salads, bar (K12)
Terminal 5 | Concourse M Full Service/Sit-Down
  • Big Bowl: Chinese, Thai (M7)
  • Hub 51: Sandwiches, salads, bar (M10)
  • R.J. Grunts: Burgers, salads, milkshakes (M10)
  • Tocco: Italian, pastas, panini (M7)
  • Urban Olive: Mediterranean (M10)
Westfield R.J. Grunts A Quick Meal
  • The Goddess and Grocer: Sandwiches, wraps, salads, soups, coffee (Ticketing)
  • Kofe Powered by Intelligentsia: Coffee (M8)
  • McDonald's: Fast food (Baggage)
  • Nuts on Clark: Nuts, chocolates, popcorn (Baggage)
  • Tortas Frontera: Sandwiches, soups (M12)
  • Wow Bao: Asian steamed buns (M10)

Where to Eat at Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW), Summer 2018

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 12:09

There are dining changes aplenty at the South Side hub

Midway International Airport is in the midst of its first significant dining upgrade in 15 years. The South Side travel hub has multiple new food vendors, many of which have local ties. There were some casualties, though: Potbelly, Harry Caray’s, Manny’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Lalo’s, and others have all departed Midway. A new airport concessions operator is under contract and perhaps those brands couldn’t broker a deal to stay. It’s part of the $75 million renovation plan. Forthcoming additions, like Big & Little’s, hope to ease those losses. Keep on reading for Eater Chicago’s guide to Midway.

Best Dining Options at Midway Airport

Cafe L’Appetito: The Italian chain has locations downtown and in Lakeview. Before that it had an outpost inside the John Hancock Center. What does that mean? It means the staff knows how to deal with crowds. It also means bagels are toasted properly, bacon is crisp, and service is fast. These are qualities not to be overlooked when travelers don’t want a sit-down meal, but don’t want a grab-and-go sandwich either. (Midway Triangle Food Court)

Ashok Selvam

Go-Go White Sox Grill: The White Sox are rebuilding on the diamond, but construction on the team’s first restaurant away from Sox Park is complete. It replaces Harry Caray’s on Concourse B and offers a tribute to Chicago’s South Side baseball squad. It serves breakfast, sandwiches, flatbreads, and more, including a selection of local beer. See the menu here. (Midway Triangle Food Court)

Ashok Selvam

DeColores: A breakfast burrito can be a wonderful traveling companion. DeColores hopes to serve travelers a taste of Pilsen (the neighborhood is included on the signage). It has chips and fresh guacamole, burritos, tacos, and more. (Midway Triangle Food Court)

Home Run Inn Pizza: The venerable pizza chain has a location at the airport in the main terminal. Nowadays, most people know the brand from its frozen pizzas. But Home Run Inn is an iconic South Side staple that slings a variety of pizzas by the slice. (Midway Triangle Food Court)

Tabo Sushi: Chef Takashi Yagihashi continues to expand his brand. He has two locations of his sushi project at Midway: One in the food court and another in Concourse B, which concentrates more on grab-and-go items. Find California rolls and the such, plus nice pieces of sashimi here. (Midway Triangle Food Court, B14)

Ashok Selvam Quick Snacks at Midway

Nuts on Clark: Pick up assorted nuts, caramel corn, cheese popcorn, chocolate-covered pretzels, and more from this Chicago-based store. (Midway Triangle Food Court)

Dunkin’ Donuts: Part of the upgrades include new Dunkin’ kiosks spread through the three concourses. Chicago runs on Dunkin’ and patrons can pour their own coffee and grab a doughnut. Just hope that there’s coffee in the dispensers, as the coffee is brewed elsewhere and it may take time for staff to refill. (Midway Triangle Food Court, A7, B14, B20, Baggage Claim, Midway Triangle Food Court)

JetBox Sandwiches: Travelers who frequent other airports, such as New York’s JFK, know the drill. It’s the typical grab-and-go sandwiches and salads for folks who have little time. (A7, B14, B20, Baggage Claim)

Midway Triangle Food Court

Reilly's Daughter: Reilly’s doubled its space after taking over the former Miller’s Pub across the hall. Chicago is full of authentic Irish bars and Midway is no different. Tucked away from the bustle, the space features brass railings and a beautiful etched wood bar with a built-in clock so fliers won't miss their flights. Belly up for some Jameson, Guinness, Smithwick's, or a breakfast Bloody. The incredibly friendly bartenders have even been known to pour drinks into a "to-go" cup. (Midway Triangle Food Court)

Ashok Selvam

Gold Coast Dogs: Looking for an authentic Chicago hot dog? Here it is. Don't worry about the whole "no ketchup on a hot dog" rule, but prepare to get a few harsh stares from some folks. (Midway Triangle Food Court)

Pegasus on the Fly: Pegasus is one of the holdovers from before the renovations. Chicago is serious about its Mediterranean food and Pegasus, along with sister spot Artoplis Cafe, are cornerstones of the city's Greek Town. Grab a spinach and feta pie, gyros, chicken kabob, classic Greek salad, and more. Breakfast is served, too. (Midway Triangle Food Court)

Ashok Selvam

HVAC Pub: There’s a taste of Wrigleyville down on Concourse B. HVAC is a full-service restaurant with plenty of beer, as well as sandwiches and salads. There are also breakfast options. It’s a good sit-down option for those who have more time. (B19)

Ashok Selvam

Tap & Pour: Tap & Pour is a quintessential airport bar. If student tour groups bug travelers, this is where they can escape fidget spinners and other youthful annoyances. (B7)

Ashok Selvam

Windy City Taproom: Hunker down at this full-service bar and enjoy an eclectic menu that includes breakfast tacos, Korean barbecue wings, deviled eggs, and half-pound Chicago dogs. (B9)

Miscellaneous
  • Bin 5700 (Unrelated to the shuttered Bin 36 in West Loop; A15)
  • Café Espresso (C1, Midway Triangle Food Court)
  • Glacier City Frozen Yogurt (B19)
  • The Market (B16)
  • Midway Pour House (A5)
  • Pizza Vino (A7)
  • Rebar No. 9: (A4B)
  • True Burger Co. (A5)
  • Windy City Taproom (B9)

Heisler to Close All-Star Bartender Jim Meehan’s Chicago Bar and Neighboring Restaurant

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 09:22

After eight months Meehan says “it just wasn’t enough to make ends meet”

Despite all-star bartender Jim Meehan’s presence, Heisler Hospitality has pulled the plugs on Prairie School and Regards to Edith, their neighboring bar and restaurant in Fulton Market inside Google’s 1K Fulton building. The last day of service for both will be Saturday after staying open for eight months. The spot hasn’t had much luck, as Smack Shack — a seafood spot — lasted 11 months at 326 N. Morgan Street before Heisler took over.

“While there has been much success over the past eight months, it has not been without its challenges,” part of a statement from Heisler read. “We are faced with the reality that the businesses are not sustainable.”

Prairie School blended Midwestern sensibilities with Japanese flavors and had a decor inspired by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. That mix led Eater Chicago to name Prairie School its 2017 Bar of the Year. Coincidentally, it’s the second bar of the year to close less than year after it won the award. Mezcaleria Las Flores, the 2016 winner, shuttered in November in Logan Square.

Meehan’s a suburban Chicago native who made his mark nationally by opening PDT, a renown speakeasy-style bar that opened in 2007 in New York. His brother, Peter Meehan, was a partner at the defunct Lucky Peach food magazine with Momofuku chef David Chang and a co-producer of Netflix’s Ugly Delicious.

When contacted directly, Jim Meehan replied that he’s “proud of what we did there... it just wasn’t enough to make ends meet.” He went more into specifics in a lengthy Instagram post on Monday night. He tried to take responsibility for the shutter, which he described as “entirely financially driven.” He also called Prairie School “the most ambitious bar I’ve ever been a part of and its shortcomings are mine if you’d like to view them that way.”

Regards to Edith was kept separate from Prairie School. It stumbled out of the gate and that led to the departure of chef Jared Wentworth less than two months after the opening. He created an homage to Chicago street foods that included a prime rib shaved Italian beef that cost $19. Restaurant management later knocked $2 off the price of the sandwich and re-named the $17 item the “Prime Rib Sandwich,” a Heisler spokeswoman wrote via email. The company also continues to enjoy success on nearby Randolph Street with its craft beer bar Lone Wolf. Bad Hunter’s veggie-centric menu and second-floor private event space continue to draw crowds in the West Loop, but this is the second shutter the company’s had to endure in eight months. Heisler closed Trench in September in Wicker Park. Wentworth, the former Longman & Eagle chef, created Trench’s menu. He is now at Mordecai in Wrigleyville.

Heisler Hospitality/Anthony Tahlier Prairie School

Meehan’s statement mentioned the surrounding area. He envisions more construction as developers wipe out any trace of Fulton Market’s meatpacking history. But foot traffic is a problem. Construction to make the area more pedestrian friendly has actually made the area difficult to walk in the interim with sidewalks ripped up and streets closed. Google employees also have the benefit of the company’s own commissary with chef-prepared meals. So there’s competition, along with the Ace Hotel across the street and its restaurant, City Mouse, and rooftop bar, Waydown.

“[A]nother bar operator will hopefully take this space and find great success here,” Meehan wrote. “I wish them my very best and thank everyone who supported us — and even those who didn’t — over the last eight months.”

Read Meehan and Heisler’s full statements below. Prairie School and Regards to Edith close on Saturday night.

Here’s Meehan’s statement:

Today my partners from Heisler Hospitality announced we will close Prairie School and Regards to Edith after our last service this upcoming Saturday. While I’m still processing all the fraught emotions around this decision- one that was level-headed and entirely financially driven- I’m refusing to allow doubt or despair cloud my feelings about our efforts on Morgan Street. Prairie School is- till Saturday- the most ambitious bar I’ve ever been a part of and its shortcomings are mine if you’d like to view them that way. The outcome of this week’s decision certainly don’t reflect the efforts of one of the best teams I’ve ever worked with under Kristina Magro’s leadership. Or Kevin Heisner’s design, our purveyor’s best products, and so much support from the industry and media. We don’t close till Saturday, so please come visit the bar one last time if you can. Pick up your mug if you bought one, or buy one of the few remaining, and make Japanese Whisky Highballs at home in them. Please support and thank the bar team one last time. We’re proud of what we did here, why we did it, of our city, and all our purveyors who saved their best for us to share with those of you who made it in. As the neighborhood grows around 326 N. Morgan Street, another bar operator will hopefully take this space and find great success here. I wish them my very best and thank everyone who supported us- and even those who didn’t- over the last eight months. It’s been the honor of a lifetime to contribute to the diverse dining and drinking tapestry of my home town over the past eight months

A post shared by Jim Meehan (@mixography) on May 21, 2018 at 6:21pm PDT

Here’s Heisler’s statement:

“It’s with much sadness that we announce the closure of both Regards to Edith and Prairie School, with final service on Saturday, May 26th. When we took over the space at 326 N. Morgan St. in 2017, our goal was to offer two distinct concepts to the neighborhood. While there has been much success over the past eight months, it has not been without its challenges. We are faced with the reality that the businesses are not sustainable. We have immense pride and gratitude for our staff, who brought Edith and Prairie to life and taking care of them is our first priority. Thank you to everyone who has visited, supported and shared kind words about us. We’re forever grateful.”

McDonald’s New Chicago HQ Is Targeted by Protestors

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 16:00

Some West Loopers say the chain will make them a target for traffic and crowds now

Last week, West Loop residents shared worries that McDonald’s new headquarters would lead to more traffic and unwanted attention to their neighborhood. Cue to the scene this morning when protestors marched toward the not-yet-open office building to show their support for an increased minimum wage. While McDonald’s executives haven’t yet moved to the new building, the company did debut a fancy ground-floor restaurant just a month ago at 110 N. Carpenter Street.

Similar protests have taken place downtown in years past, knowing McDonald’s is America’s best-known fast-food chain with deep Chicago roots. But protesters needed a new location. The Rock ‘N’ Roll McDonald’s — arguably the city’s highest-profile Golden Arches — has been demolished. The parcel is more or less an empty parcel right now as workers will eventually build a futuristic new McDonald’s in River North. But now, as the company’s headquarters has moved back into the city from the suburbs, the company has a new focal point.

Once more, the protests were organized by The Fight for $15, the coalition of fast-food workers supporting a $15 per hour minimum wage and improved employee benefits. Video posted to the group’s Facebook page show protestors blocking the restaurant’s entrance and chanting “McDonald’s, McDonald’s, you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side!”

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.0'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Hey McDonald's you can't hide, we can see your greedy side

Breaking: McDonald’s workers storming the corporate headquarters in Chicago. McDonald's makes billions and pays us pennies; NO MORE. We demand $15 and union rights. No exceptions. #FightFor15

Posted by Fight for $15 on Monday, May 21, 2018

McDonald’s nine-story building sits on the former Harpo Studios site where Oprah Winfrey recorded her talkshow. It’s also on Randolph Street, a stretch of road the includes some of Chicago’s trendiest restaurants including Stephanie Izard’s Girl & the Goat and Rick Bayless’s Leña Brava. A McDonald’s spokesperson didn’t immediately return a message for comment.

Boka To Open Restaurant Across From Wrigley Field on Thursday

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 14:10

Dutch & Doc’s is the final piece of puzzle next to the Hotel Zachary

Cubs fans have only gotten a taste of what the Hotel Zachary, which opened last month across the street from Wrigley Field, can do. But come Thursday, customers can finally experience the fully armed and operational building when the final piece of the puzzle opens on the northwest corner of Addison and Clark. Boka Restaurant Group, one of the country’s most respected restaurant companies, debuts its only planned opening of 2018, Dutch & Doc’s this week.

Reservations are already up on OpenTable. The restaurant sits next to the hotel at 3600 N. Clark Street. It’s got a separate entrance; customers can’t enter through the hotel. The cold and rainy spring hasn’t been ideal for baseball fans, but it’s been a boon for the restaurants inside the hotel. Instead of being chilly or soaked inside the stadium, fans have stayed dry while noshing on tacos at Big Star, sipping whiskies at Mordecai, enjoying cake pops at West Town Bakery & Tap, and chewing on barbecued ribs at Smoke Daddy. The hotel’s own restaurant and bar has actually seen the largest crowds in the middle of the building on the second floor.

Now it’s time for Boka’s Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz — two huge Cubs fans — to enter the fray. Customers can enjoy their meals sitting next to a window overlooking Clark Street and Wrigley’s red and white marquee. There’s also a private dining room that offers similar views.

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A table with a view ⭐️ #DutchandDocs #BokaRestaurantGroup #OpeningSoon

Posted by Dutch & Doc's on Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Chris Pandel is the chef in charge. Pandel’s worked at Swift & Sons, Boka’s Fulton Market steakhouse and Balena, where his unique pastas were featured in Lincoln Park before the restaurant burned down last year. Boka and B. Hospitality co-ran Balena, and there’s no update on its return quite yet. Over in Wrigleyville, Pandel will serve lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch inside a two-level, 200-seat restaurant. Customers can order small snacks like crispy giardiniera or chicken wings. There’s also salads like a watermelon & tomato, and sandwiches like a pan-fried perch. A news release called out the macaroni and cheese with Jarlsburg, grana, white cheddar, and cavatappi. Burgers and prime steaks are also on the menu.

Desserts are handled by Swift & Sons’ pastry chef Lauren Terrill. Her menu includes soft-serve ice cream with salted caramel, flourless chocolate cake, and tres leches cake.

Perhaps baseball, among all sports, has the best collection of player nicknames. That’s the inspiration behind the restaurant’s name. Scouring the 148-year-old history of the Cubs, Boka found that 14 players had been nicknamed “Dutch” and nine were nicknamed “Doc.”

The Tribune first reported the opening date. Come back later in the week for more details on the menu and a look inside Wrigleyville’s latest.

45-Year-Old Carol’s Pub Will Rise Again Under New Ownership in Uptown

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 12:00

The sale to Joe’s on Weed Street’s owner has been finalized

The sale of Carol’s Pub, the venerable country dive bar that closed in September 2016 after a revoked liquor license ceased more than four decades of operations, has been finalized. The bar’s new owner is Ed Warm who also owns Joe’s on Weed Street, the multi-floor sports bar and country music venue in Lincoln Park. Warm will take over Carol’s, an Uptown fixture that hosted live music and served whisky and cheap domestic beers until 4 a.m. on most days.

Carol’s had been in operation for 43 years until its shutter. Earlier this year, Warm attended community meetings with local officials to discuss his intentions to purchase the bar. At this point, he’s still waiting to reveal his plans for the space at 4659 N. Clark Street. He said he still needs to clear regulatory hurdles including getting state and city licenses. There’s no public timetable for a reopening.

The dive bar was a member of Eater Chicago’s essential dives in the city before its shutter. Customers would dance late night while listening to performances from bands including Diamondback and The Lone Wolf Band. Many patrons know Carol’s strictly from Diamondback and lead singer and co-founder Reva Goodman. The band’s bassist and other co-founder, Michael McKeehan, died in March. The band’s in mourning and continues to play shows with a new lineup at new venues including Bub City, which is owned by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. LEYE is a partner with Joe’s, as evidenced by Bub City’s Rosemont location which has a Joe’s attached to it.

Goodman is excited about Carol’s reopening: “Ed is a successful bar owner and knows how to make things happen,” Goodman emailed. “He wants to keep that honky tonk feel to the place!”

While the band has had difficulty coping with McKeehan’s death, the sale is a good news for them and loyal Carol’s fans.

“We’re devastated that he’s not here to share the fruits of his labor but we will do all we can to make him proud,” Goodman emailed. “We’ll be back playing at the new Carol’s as often as possible, while still pursuing some of the new venues we’ve cultivated.”

Stay tuned for more news on when it could reopen.

Mi Tocaya’s Diana Davila Gets Another Huge Accolade

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 10:51

Plus, Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud made the Chicago rounds this weekend and more intel

Food & Wine named Mi Tocaya Antojeria’s Diana Davila one of the magazine’s best new chefs in America for 2018. The honor adds to a slew of recent accolades for Davila, including Eater Chicago’s chef of the year award, two James Beard Award semifinalist nods, and a Jean Banchet Award rising star chef of the year finalist nod. Writer Jordana Rothman describes Davila’s cooking as “confident and joyful, and each course lands like the first few lines of a story you’re going to want to remember.”

— Legendary chefs Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud were in town and ate at Smyth and The Loyalist with Nick Kokonas last night. Chef/owner John Shields cooked them a French omelette, which he wrote on Instagram “could be the highlight of my career.” Boulud also stopped at Marisol and BellyQ.

Thank you @chefjohnshields @theloyalistchicago @smythchicago for a great meal and great fun with @chefthomaskeller and @nkokonas , your omelette pass the test ! You are hired

A post shared by Daniel Boulud (@danielboulud) on May 20, 2018 at 10:11am PDT

Hanbun, Eater Young Gun Dave Park’s sadly closed suburban Korean stalwart, will pop up at Kimski in Bridgeport tonight starting at 6 p.m. The event is no-reservations, counter-service, and first-come-first-served. There’s no word yet about a possible new Hanbun brick-and-mortar location.

Spoiler Alert: A Chicagoan won season six of “Masterchef Junior” on Friday night. Beni Cwiakala is a fifth-grader from Pilsen. Check out a clip of her winning moment here.

— Downtown mainstay RL now serves continental breakfast on weekdays beginning at 7 a.m., Crain’s reports.

— And finally, “Bar Rescue” featured River North spot Blue Frog’s Local 22 last night in a “Back to the Bar” episode which followed up on Blue Frog’s original feature back in 2011. Blue Frog shuttered on May 11, however, nine days before the episode aired. The episode was taped in late 2016, the Tribune reports.

Mexique, Chef Carlos Gaytan’s Pioneering Mexican-French Restaurant, Has Closed

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 09:30

The former Michelin-starred restaurant ended a 10-year run

Mexique, chef Carlos Gaytan’s pioneering West Town restaurant that fused Mexican and French cuisine, closed over the weekend ending a 10-year run. The restaurant was empty on Saturday, and diners who had reservations arrived only to find the restaurant’s doors locked.

Mexique earned a Michelin star in consecutive years in 2013 and 2014. Gaytan confirmed the shutter on Sunday night and said after a decade it was time to try something new.

For now, Gaytan’s going to focus on Ha, his new restaurant at the Hotel Xcaret in Mexico. It may take a few months, but Gaytan vows he’ll have an announcement that will surprise Chicagoans. He had been traveling between Chicago and Mexico since his new restaurant opened in December.

His ex-wife, Iliamar, owns the West Town space that housed Mexique at 1529 W. Chicago Avenue. Gaytan didn’t blame the separation from his wife for the shutter, but did make it clear that he’s ready to embark on a new adventure at a new location. Any new Chicago restaurant from Gaytan would open at a new address.

“We have something around the corner for you,” Gaytan said. “It will be a great surprise for Chicago.”

When Mexique earned Michelin-star status, it was historic as Gaytan became the first Mexican-born chef with a Michelin-starred restaurant. He said he’s eager to make the restaurant inside the Hotel Xcaret one of the world’s best. Gaytan is a former Top Chef contestant, competing in 2013 in the New Orleans season. He placed third. Gaytan immigrated to Chicago in 1991 and worked at the Union League Club of Chicago and Bistrot Margot in Old Town before opening his own restaurant.

Despite not providing a timeframe for the new announcement, Gaytan promised that he will return to Chicago. On Sunday he celebrated Mexique’s 10-year anniversary as it opened in May 2008. The chef is bittersweet about the shutter.

“It’s not a building. Mexique is not a space. Mexique is family. Mexique is pure heart. It’s a story on a plate,” Gaytan said. “It has a soul. I don’t know — it’s just hard to express what Mexique is all about to me. It’s difficult to express how grateful I have been to the people I’ve worked with for the last 10 years.”

Mexique helped kickstart an era of modern Mexican food in Chicago in a fine dining setting. Again, Gaytan declined to share specifics, but he’s confident that patience will yield good news for Chicagoans.

“I’ll back back, I promise,” he said. “I’ll be back stronger than ever.”

A Critic Thinks Mordecai Changes the Game in Wrigleyville

Fri, 05/18/2018 - 15:00

Plus Topolobampo’s tasting-menu lunch is a rare spectacle

Mike Sula says Mordecai is an experience worth braving the Wrigleyville crowds for. Matthias Merges’s project inside Hotel Zachary is a refreshing addition that brings fine dining and a seriously impressive whiskey collection to the neighborhood. For fans who want more than an Old Style, the cranberry gin rickey is “tall, pleasingly bitter” and “fresh as your mother.” The food menu is executed by Jared Wentworth and includes an “intensely and vividly colored” salad of green romanesco cauliflower with sweet-and-sour pickled veggies, curried farro, and harissa-whipped aioli. Emerald-colored risotto supports fatty porchetta and carrot sticks, while the “explosive juiciness” of a goat bratwurst “warrants the use of safety goggles.” Capping off the meal is an “arresting” chocolate-Fernet sundae that “still haunts [Sula].” [Reader]

Topolobampo’s tasting menu at lunch is “technically impressive, diversely delicious, [and] slightly undersized,” writes Graham Meyer. It starts with the “bold, colorful combination” of short rib and raw yellowtail under a coconut wrapper before moving onto a course of abalone with spring ingredients. The main entree features two “delicious” scallops with pineapple and mole, and dessert paris rich cake bites with cajeta and pasilla chili ice cream. Portion sizes are on the small side but overall, midday offerings don’t get much more refined than this. [Crain’s]

A Taylor Street Breakfast Favorite is Coming to River West

Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:43

Stax Cafe draws celebrities like LeBron James and more

The second location of Stax Cafe, a Taylor Street breakfast favorite, should open in mid- to late-June near the Milwaukee/Grand/Halsted intersection in River West. Spiro Tsaldaris and his family have been serving up creative pancakes and egg Benedicts, fresh turkey burgers, and more since 2010 in Little Italy. The restaurant has become popular with UIC students, workers at the nearby Illinois Medical District, and sports celebrities. Basketball players including LeBron James, retired former Bull and University of Illinois star Kendall Gill, and Blackhawks announcer Pat Foley are among Stax’s customers.

The new restaurant, 522 N. Milwaukee Avenue, is about double the size of the original with 140 seats and a 30-seat patio. Unlike his first location, Tsaldaris said it’ll serve alcohol in River West. Think mimosas, Bloody Marys, and bellinis. It’ll also open for breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast is Tsaldaris’s favorite meal, and he often finds himself eating pancakes and other morning items for dinner. His favorite pancake on Stax’s menu is the “Healthy Start,” a recipe his wife, Heather, created: oatmeal batter mixed with fresh blueberries and topped with Greek yogurt, blueberry compote, lemon zest, granola and drizzled with honey. Other standout items include the “Parma Prosciutto” egg Benedict: an English muffin with sliced prosciutto, avocado, poached egg and Hollandaise. Stax will serve the same menu at both locations, including fresh juices.

Repeat customers from word of mouth and the occasional celebrity have made Stax successful, Tsaldaris said. It received a little publicity when James ate breakfast there, but the NBA star didn’t make them.

“LeBron didn’t make me a millionaire or anything like that,” he said.

Over the next few years, Tsaldaris envisions more buildings and more people living in River West and hopes he can start fostering strong relationships that will translate to loyal customers in the future. His father, Chris, has been a mentor. The family ran Brandy’s, a 24-hour diner near Midway International Airport. For a three-year period, they also ran Eppel’s Restaurant in the South Loop.

While he learned a lot from working as a host when he was a teenager, Tsaldaris explained that Stax is a different. They’ve evolved with times to use fresher ingredients and to cater to gluten-free and meat-free diets. Tsaldaris is proud to be part of Chicago’s elite culinary scene and is confident that Stax measures up. Tsaldaris takes pride in Stax’s condiments, including a series of gourmet aiolis on the side.

“I really think Chicago can attest to any style of food quality and quantity wise,” he said. “Anything you can think of, you can’t beat us.”

The new restaurant’s design will be more modern, but Tsaldaris said he wants to surprise customers and didn’t want to share too many details on what to expect. They can find out when Stax River West opens in about a month. Check back later for an opening date.

South Side Community Rallies to Help Beloved Burglarized Restaurant Reopen

Fri, 05/18/2018 - 09:54

Plus, StarChefs gives 19 Chicagoans its culinary rising star awards and more intel

— Beloved three-decades-old South Side soul food restaurant Capt’s Hard Time Dining had to close earlier this week after a burglar was caught on camera stealing more than $10,000 in copper wiring, according to multiple reports. But following community support, money donations to its GoFundMe page, and a local union’s donation of materials and labor, the restaurant reopened this morning at 436 E. 79th Street. The restaurant also nearly closed in December 2015 when ownership called a press conference to address sagging business and area violence.

— Noted industry publication StarChefs has bestowed 19 locals with its culinary rising stars awards in the categories of chefs, artisans, sommeliers, pastry chefs, bartenders, plus a community chef, a restaurateur, and a concept. The winners, which include Jimmy Papadopoulos, Noah Sandoval, and Leigh Omilinsky, will be honored at an awards ceremony and gala on June 12 at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Tickets and the full list of award winners are available here. Chicago magazine first reported the award winners.

— The forthcoming Logan Square restaurant from the Bombay Breakdown popup pair and Lula Cafe owner Jason Hammel is listed as On The Fly LLC on permits, which is interestingly the same name as restaurateur Ryan O’Donnell’s new restaurant group — On The Fly Hospitality — formed by the folks behind Gemini, Coda Di Volpe, and the forthcoming Walton Street Kitchen & Bar in the Gold Coast. But it turns out that O’Donnell changed the name of his group to Ballyhoo Hospitality once he found out about the naming coincidence “to avoid any confusion,” his rep writes, and that there are “no hard feelings among either party.”

— Free (suggested donation) tickets are now available through June 18 for the second annual Taste of Black Chicago, which will happen on August 18 at 7351 S. Stony Island Avenue. Head to its Facebook page for more info.

— Prolific Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio, who runs Tanta here in Chicago, has been honored with the Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award, which is part of the Worlds 50 Best Restaurants 2018, taking place June 19 in Spain.

— And finally, head to Wrigleyville on Saturday for free Detroit-style pizza when Union Pizza will give out 200 complimentary 1⁄4 pies starting at noon from its truck next to the Wheelhouse Hotel at 3473 N. Clark Street. Union will open a restaurant and bar in the hotel soon in addition to its existing locations in Evanston and Revival Food Hall in the Loop.

Seven Happy Hour Specials to Try In Chicago Now

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 16:00

An ongoing log of the best restaurant and bar deals in town

Happy hour specials are important. The discounted prices are a great tool to bring Chicagoans into bars and restaurants no matter the weather. It’s been almost three years since state lawmakers legalized happy hour, lifting obsolete restrictions that prevented restaurant and bar owners from offer discounts on alcoholic drinks.

Eater Chicago attempted to log all the happy hour specials in one map. But as time went by, the map became bloated with outdated specials. It was difficult to update and bar owners would complain that the information wasn’t up to date. Customers would get angry that bars wouldn’t honor specials. Eater Chicago would get angry that no one informed the publication about any happy hour changes. No one was, well, happy.

So starting for 2018, happy hour specials will now be logged periodically on this post. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive list, but will try to highlight new restaurants or thoughtful offers from old standbys. Just make sure to check with the establishment to find out if older specials are still valid.

Feel free to email chicago@eater.com with any solid happy hour specials.

May 17

BUCKTOWN — Lottie’s Pub, 1925 W. Cortland Street

Lottie’s Pub isn’t just the bar from Chicago Fire. Besides being a mecca for college sports, it also offers a bevy of specials. All day Monday: $2 tacos, $3 Dos Equis, $4 Milagro. All day Tuesday: $4 burgers, $3.50 selected pints, $4 Jameson. All day Wednesday: $4 chicken sandwiches, $2.50 select cans, $4 Captain, Stoli, Absolut, $5 shot of Breckenridge Bourbon. All day Thursday: $4 beef sandwiches, $6 32-ounce Miller and Coors, $4 Fireball and Dobel shots. All day Friday: 50-cent wings, $4 Corona and Corona Light. All day Saturday: $9 cheese pizza. All day Sunday: $9 cheese pizza, $4 mimosas, $5 Bloody Marys.

Happy hour is as described above.

THE LOOP — Porter Deck & Kitchen, 150 N. Riverside Plaza

This restaurant alongside the Chicago River is inside the new 150 N Riverside skyscraper. It’s owned and managed by Four Corners Tavern Group. It offers $4 drafts, $5 glasses of wine, $6 Absolute cocktails, and $8 Old Fashioneds at happy hour.

Happy hour is 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.

NORTH CENTER — Bad Apple, 4300 N. Lincoln Avenue

This North Side burger bastion has a few specials. There’s the classic Bad Apple burger with fries and any regularly $5 price beer or drink for $10.

Happy hour is 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.

WICKER PARK — Easy Bar, 1944 W. Division Street.

This long-time Wicker Park cocktail spot is on the happy hour bandwagon. It has a sidewalk patio for 15 to 20 people, and $5 Moscow Mules and Bloody Marys.

Happy hour is 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekends.

WEST LOOP — G&O, 459 N. Ogden Avenue

This West Loop gem has daily specials. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays there are $3 Prairie Organic Vodka or gin and $3 weekly drink specials; 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday there are $7 menu cocktails. There’s also 50 percent off food on Monday; $6 burgers, $5 cocktails on Tuesday; $4 Founders All-Day IPA and half-priced bottles of wine on Wednesday; $5 Bloody Marys and Mimosas on weekends.

Happy hour is as described above.

WEST TOWN— Tuman’s Bar & Grill, 2159 W. Chicago Avenue

Tuman’s the former “alcohol abuse center” has evolved. On Sundays it offers half-priced featured drafts and $3 house vodka cocktails. Happy hour is cash only.

Happy hour is 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.

EVANSTON — The Barn, Rear of 1016 Church Street, Evanston

This suburban spot from Amy Morton has $4.95 food and drink specials. For food there are roasted & mixed nuts; chopped chicken liver, rye toast points; vegetable crudité, salami, ranch dressing; spinach & artichoke dip; and cheese & oat crackers, housemade jam. Drink specials are the “Barn Julep” cocktail (bourbon, mint simple, lime juice); Domaine Saint Vincent Brut New Mexico; Prisma Sauvignon Blanc Chilè 2016; Domaine Tournon Grenache Australia 2016; Massaya, Red Blend; and Kronenbourg 1664 Lager.

Happy hour is from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays; 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Thursday; and 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday.

April 18

GOLD COAST — 20 East, 20 E. Delaware Street

The restaurant inside the Talbott Hotel is run by Four Corners Tavern Group with food developed, in part, by Hogsalt Hospitality. They’re serving $3 beers, $4 Absolut vodka cocktails, and $5 glasses of wine.

Happy hour is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

LOGAN SQUARE — Estereo, 2450 N. Milwaukee Avenue

This hip cocktail bar in Logan Square will feature an $8 tropical cocktail. The bar will reveal the cocktail via its Instagram page.

Happy hour is 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays.

RIVER NORTH— Bar Cargo, 605 N. Wells Street

The Roman-style pizzeria from the Stefani family has half-priced bottles of wine and $5 draft beers on Monday and Thursday; $8 signature cocktails on Tuesday; and half-priced bottles of bubbles and rosé on Wednesday.

Happy hour is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the days specified above.

RIVER NORTH— Devon Seafood Grill, 39 E. Chicago Avenue

This chain restaurant features $7.50 appetizers, $7 glasses of house wines, $1 off all beers, and $8 cocktails — including martinis.

Happy hour is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily; a late-night happy hour from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. offers $7.50 appetizers.

RIVER NORTH — Siena Tavern, 51 W. Kinzie Street

Former Top Chef contestant Fabio Viviani’s River North spot is doing something different with its happy hour. They call it the “5 p.m. Wine Pour” and offer wines by the glass that are normally only available by the bottle. Prices vary and the wine list can be seen here.

Happy hour is 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday through Friday.

ROSCOE VILLAGE— Commonwealth Tavern, 2000 W. Roscoe Street

This Roscoe Village spot features half-priced wings on weekdays, $5 microbrews on Monday, and $6 Friday cocktail specials. As for happy hour, there’s half-priced appetizers.

Happy hour is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

STREETERVILLE — Texas de Brazil, 210 Upper E. Illinois Street

The Chicago location of the Brazilian steakhouse features $3 domestic beers, $3 glasses of the restaurant’s house wines, $5 caipirnhas, and $7 martinis.

Happy hour is 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays

April 5

FULTON MARKET — Punch Bowl Social, 310 N. Green Street

The new palace of games, booze, and food comes to Fulton Market via Denver. Punch Bowl’s offering tacos for $2.50 each, chicken wings for $6, and burgers and fries for $9. That’s just some of the bar bite specials. There’s also “old man cans” of beer for $4, wine for $6, and select cocktails for $7.

Happy hour is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

GOLD COAST — Allium at the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware Place

It’s a simple special at Allium. The hotel restaurant is offering 50 percent off bar bites and select wine, beer, and cocktails.

Happy hour is 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

GOLD COAST — Le Colonial, 937 N. Rush Street

Don’t panic, as Le Colonial is still around at its current location, at least through 2018 and into early 2019. To commemorate the move out of its current address, all wines by the glass, premium brands, signature cocktails, and appetizers will costs $9.37 at 937 N. Rush.

Happy hour is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Thursday.

LINCOLN SQUARE — Artango, 4767 N. Lincoln Avenue

Lincoln Square’s unique Latin spot features dancing, Argentinian food, and more. Find cocktails including the caiprinha, margarita, and mojito for $7. There’s also wine by the glass for $7 and beers for $4. There’s also a variety of food items for $9, including grilled pizza, empanadas, lomitos, and more.

Happy hour is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday through Friday.

NORTH CENTER — Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, 3905 N. Lincoln Avenue

This multilevel bar and restaurant on the North Side offers $1 oysters and $4 Guinness pours. The Guinness may not appear like a sexy special, but consider that the bartenders at Mrs. Murphy’s actually know how to properly pour one in the proper glassware (20-ounce pints)

Happy hour is 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday.

RIVER NORTH — The Kitchen, 316 N. Clark Street

Over at The Kitchen, Kimbal Musk’s restaurant, They’ve got oysters ($15 for a half dozen and $30 for a dozen) and a combo of 3 snacks for $15 (including fried cheese curds, fries, fried cauliflower, spiced nuts and marinated olives). Select cocktails and wine glasses cost $8, and there’s a selection of $4 beers

Happy hour is 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

RIVER NORTH — Bijan’s Bistro, 663 N. State Street

A solid deal in River North from Bijan’s, which offers half off all beer, wine by the glass, most liquor, and appetizers. That means the house wine by the glass costs $3.50, and old fashioneds with Knob Creek cost $7.50. Appetizers, like Mediterranean grilled shrimp cost $7.

Happy hour is 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

RIVER NORTH — GT Prime, 707 N. Wells Street

Boka Restaurant Group and chef Giuseppe Tentori have carved out their own unique take on a steakhouse in River North. This happy hour is special. For $25 in the bar area, customers will get three bites (mortadella arancini, beef tartare, chicken liver mousse) paired with three 3-ounce pours of wine.

Happy hour is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday in the bar area.

SOUTH LOOP — Kurah Mediterranean, 1355 S. Michigan Avenue.

Kurah, a restaurant that’s ideal for both special occasions and casual dining has several specials including hummus, garlic smashes, and cheese flatbreads for $5. They also offer $2 off cocktails and $5 wine and beer specials.

Happy hour is 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily in the bar area.

WEST LOOP — La Sardine, 111 N. Carpenter Street

Venerable French restaurant La Sardine is appealing to the after-work crowd with a $16 charcuterie board, $11 frog legs, $9 confit chicken wings, $10 shrimp cocktails, oysters for half a dozen for $6 and $12 for a dozen, $8 oxtail crostinis, and glazed halibut collars for $4 each. There’s a $5 beer of the month, $9 cocktails, and select glasses of wine for $7.

Happy hour is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.

WICKER PARK — Rhyme or Reason, 1938 W. Division Street

Beats, booze, and food are part of the formula at Rhyme or Reason. There’s a new happy hour menu featuring 50-cent chicken wings (minimum eight per order), 10-inch pizzas that cost $7 to $8, and something called a “Naughty Egg” for $6. Shots of the day cost $3, rosé cocktails $5, and house glasses of wine $5.

Happy hour is 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

OAK BROOK — Michael Jordan’s Restaurant, 1225 W. 22nd Street, Oak Brook

Even though celebrity-branded restaurants may bother some diners, Sir Airness’s is underrated. Items during happy hour are priced $5 to $8. There’s draft beer and wine for $5, cocktails and sangria for $5. Food items include two “Little Mike” sliders for $5, French onion fondue for $5, and two mini steak sandwiches for $7.

Happy hour is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

March 7

ALBANY PARK— Roja Gusano, 3830 W. Lawrence Avenue

This neighborhood Mexican spot from chef Dudley Nieto offers $2 tacos (chicken tinga, pork adobo, charred butternut squash, braised short rib), $3 beer (Dos XX, Corona, Miller Lite), $4 wine, and $5 cocktails.

Happy hour is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

LAKEVIEW — Bites Asian Kitchen, 3313 N. Clark Street

This Asian restaurant has assorted specials including three bao buns for $10 on Sunday; a buy one and get half off on Monday; half-priced ramen on Tuesday; half-priced sake and wine by the bottle on Wednesday; $7 cocktails on Thursday.

Happy hour specials rotated Sunday through Thursday.

ELSTON INDUSTRIAL CORRIDOR— Fort Willow, 1721 N. Elston Avenue

Fort Willow, the treehouse-inspired cocktail bar and lounge from DMK Restaurants, has $5 cocktails and complimentary chef’s choice late-night nibbles.

Happy hour is 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday for the cocktails; 10 p.m. to close on Tuesday through Thursday from the nibbles.

THE LOOP— Porter Kitchen & Deck, 150 N. Riverside Plaza

The ground floor restaurant at this sparkling skyscraper overlooking the Chicago River has a scenic new happy hour. There’s $8 Old Fashioneds, $5 glasses of wine, $6 Absolut vodka cocktails, and $4 draft beers.

Happy hour is from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays.

PILSEN— Dusek’s/Tack Room, 1227 W. 18th Street

It’s a happy time inside Dusek’s and Tack Room, the massive complex that includes Thalia Hall in Pilsen. Dusek’s offers half-priced large-format beer and bottles of wine on Wednesday with a food purchase. Tack Room has $8 cocktail specials including a Mezcal Corpse Reviver.

Happy hour is on Wednesday at Dusek’s and from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays at Tack Room.

RIVER NORTH— Imperial Lamian, 6 W. Hubbard Street

The Chicago outpost of this fine dining Chinese chain has a variety of dim sum items that cost from $3 to $6. There’s open-faced baos and a variety of noodle combos. They also have $15 pitchers of Sapporo beer, a $5 cocktail or glasses of wines, and a beer and shot combo for $5 where customers can get a Malört.

Happy hour is 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

RIVER NORTH— Katana, 339 N. Dearborn Street

This sceney Japanese restaurant has various wine, cocktail, and cold sake specials priced form $4 to $6. There also hanabi for $4 and soseji for $3.

Happy hour is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.

WEST LOOP— Saint Lou’s Assembly/MONEYGUN, 660 W. Lake Street

This duo restaurant/bar just east of Halsted in the West Loop has some options for thirsty customers. They’ve got half-priced wine bottles on Tuesday and $1 oysters on weekdays.

Happy hour is 5 p.m. to midnight on Tuesday for the wine special and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays for the oysters.

WEST TOWN— Bar Biscay, 1450 W. Chicago Avenue

Bar Biscay, the French/Spanish restaurant that recently opened from the owners of Mfk, immediately comes strong with fun happy hour specials. They’ll offer three pintxos for $6 and five for $8. Selections rotate daily and include seafood, pork, beef, and other meats, as well as olives. While they don’t have drink specials currently, draft cider and vermouth do well to complement to dishes.

Happy hour is 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday.

WICKER PARK— The Lounge at The Robey, 2018 W. North Avenue

The Robey is breaking out the tea. Wicker Park’s boutique hotel has a variety of $10 tea cocktails: Rose Colored Turtle Neck (Served Hot: White Tea Rose Melange, Ford’s Gin, Lustau PX Sherry, Demerara, Lemon), Grappa Life By The Bubbles (Raspberry Green Tea Infused Grappa, Aperol, Lemon, Prosecco), Gather Your Strength (Gingerbread Rooibos Tea, Wild Turkey Rye, Sherry, Braulio Amaro, Bitters) Hang 10 (Served hot or cold: Coconut Oolong Tea, Hangar One Vodka, Denizen 3 Year Rum, Cocchi Americano)

Happy hour is 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

January 25

CHINATOWN— Connie’s Pizza, 2373 S. Archer Avenue

Connie’s, one of the South Side’s favorite spots for deep dish, recently launched happy hour at all of its locations. Find $5 drafts and half-priced appetizers.

Happy hour is 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

GREEKTOWN— Spectrum Bar & Grill, 233 S. Halsted Street

For more than 25 years, Spectrum has been a fixture in Greektown. Cocktails like the Metaxa Cooler, Greek mojito, Rakitini, Ouzotini, Santorini Spritzer, and Ouzo Lemonate cost $5. Greek wines cost $6, and they’ll offer pork or chicken shish kabob for $2.50.

Happy hour is 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.

HYDE PARK— Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery, 5215 S. Harper Avenue

Hyde Park’s only brewpub offers a relaxed atmosphere inside the Harper Court development. They also slash $2 off beer, wine, and cocktails during happy hour.

Happy hour is 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays,

RIVER NORTH— Bounce Chicago, 324 W. Chicago Avenue

Bounce Chicago, the N.Y. import that’s trying to elevate the sports bar experience, has launched a new happy hour menu. There’s a variety of $5 items including Hot Cheetos-crusted wings, smoked chicken nachos, Buffalo chicken flatbread, and mac & cheese bars.

Happy hour is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.

RIVER NORTH— Benny’s Chop House, 444 N. Wabash Avenue

This downtown steakhouse offers half-off craft cocktails and glasses of wine. Drinks include a rhubarb gin gimlet, Patron’s Diablo, and Pain Killer.

Happy hour is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

RIVER NORTH— Celeste, 111 W. Hubbard Street

A Hubbard Street stalwart, Celeste has a variety of items for $8 for its happy hour until 8 p.m. There’s nine house cocktails and food offerings.

Happy hour is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.

RIVER NORTH— Ema, 74 W. Illinois Street

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ Mediterranean restaurant from chef C.J. Jacobson has a special happy hour menu with mezze plates, craft beer and wines for $5 each.

Happy hour is 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

RIVER NORTH— STK Chicago, 9 W. Kinzie Street

This sleek steakhouse, just north of the Chicago River, has $1-8 bites from this menu and half-off drinks of those that are regularly $17 or less.

Happy hour is 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday through Friday.

WEST LOOP— The Press Room, 1134 W. Washington Boulevard

This intimate wine bar is in the West Loop, tucked away from Randolph. They offer select wine and beer for $7. There’s also a $15 cheese and charcuterie board.

Happy hour is 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

WICKER PARK— 5411 Empanadas inside the Holiday Jones. 1659 W. Division Street

Empanada specialist 5411 has set up shop inside the boutique hotel west of Ashland and Division. They’ve got alternating specials every including $4 glasses of wine on Wednesday, $2 shots of Fernet or $4 Fernet and Cokes on Thursday. That’s in addition to the regular $4 craft beer and $6 cocktail specials offered every day.

Happy hour is 5 p.m to 8 p.m. on weekdays.

January 10

ANDERSONVILLE— Hutch American Kitchen + Bar, 1477 W. Winnemac Avenue

Hutch recently opened its third location, serving comfort food in an all-day cafe setting. Its happy hour consists of half-off starters, $3 glasses of champagne, $4 draft beers, $5 well drinks, $6 glasses of wines, and $7 craft cocktails.
Happy hour is 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Saturday.

BRIDGEPORTThe Duck Inn, 2701 S. Eleanor Street

Kevin Hickey is focused on making his South Side restaurant sing. It offers half-off beer, wine, cocktails and bar snacks like the Chicago-style duck fat dog.
Happy hour is 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m on Tuesday through Friday.

DUNNINGFizz Eatery and Soda Fountain, 7958 W. Belmont Avenue

Happy hour isn’t about booze at Fizz, the family-friendly diner on Chicago’s Far Northwest Side. They’ve got a variety of food items ranging from $5: mozzarella sticks, pizza puffs, or potato skins. For $7, customers can get a cheeseburger and fries or chicken tenders and fries. These items come with a soft drink.
Happy hour lasts from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday.

FULTON MARKET— Regards to Edith, 326 N. Morgan Street

Regards to Edith, Heisler Hospitality’s love letter to Maxwell Street, offers $2 Budweiser bottles, $5 select draft beers, $8 select glasses of wine, and $4 cheese fries made with aged cheddar mornay and pickled peppers.
Happy hour lasts from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday.

LINCOLN PARK— King Crab House, 1816 N. Halsted Street

The latest iteration of King Crab, back at the original location near the corner of Halsted and Willow, has $4 house wines, $5 draft beers and cocktails — including their Mai Tai.
Happy hour lasts from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily. After 7 p.m., King Crab is offering 20 percent of meals.

THE LOOP— Raised, 1 W. Wacker Drive

Even though it’s not rooftop season, patrons can still enjoy Raised’s views. The bar offers $5 draft beers, discounts on wine by the glasses and cocktails, plus $5 for frites (regular, truffle, or rosemary), grilled edamame, crispy Brussels sprouts, or a single sider.
Happy hour runs from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Thursday.

PILSEN— Alulu Brewpub, 2011 S. Laflin Street

One of Chicago’s most-unique brewpubs has a charming little space in Pilsen. Alulu offers $1 off their draft beers.
Happy hour is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

PORTAGE PARK— Community Tavern, 4038 N. Milwaukee Avenue

Community Tavern, which is enjoying a revamp thanks of a New Year’s ownership change, offers $1 oysters and $25 bottles of wine.
Happy hour is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday.

STREETERVILLE— The Albert, inside The Hotel EMC2, 228 E. Ontario Street

This Einstein-themed restaurant on the ground floor of The Hotel EMC2 has launched a new happy hour. The restaurant offers $3 glasses of red or white “Albert” wines, half-off snacks (including Marcona almonds, marinated olives, french fries — prices range $4 to $8). They’re also offering a selection of five zero-proof drinks.
Happy hour is 3 p.m. to 6 p.m on Monday through Thursday.

WEST LOOP— Bin 36, 161 N. Jefferson Street (NOTE: BIN 36 has shuttered)

Bin 36, the inviting wine bar with the charismatic owner has an impressive wine list. Happy hours specials feature small bites including a two cheese and two salumi plate for $11, fried calamari for $6, fish tacos for $10, and a burger and draft beer for $10.
Happy hour is 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.

WICKER PARK— Black Bull, 1721 W. Division Street

This Spanish-influenced cocktail den in Wicker Park is offering happy three for $10 pintxos (tortilla de patata, montadito de mahana, chicken liver mousse, etc.) and drinks starting at $6.
Happy hour is 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

WICKER PARK— Estelle’s, 2013 W. North Avenue

Wicker Park’s most-infamous 4 a.m. bar also has a pretty mean happy hour. They offer half-off everything — except food and shots.
Happy hour is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

20 Great Places to Drink Rosé All Day in Chicago

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 14:00

Where to imbibe the pink stuff

Whether or not al fresco drinking season is underway, it’s almost always a good time for rosé. Around the city, the pink wine can be found in slushy cocktail form, as a canned cider, and, of course, the real deal wine—either flat or sparkling—from producers rooted in the U.S., Europe, and beyond. Below, a guide to some of the city’s best spaces to drink rosé, many of which afford panoramic city views. Listed from north to south.

The Early Buzz on McDonald’s New Chicago HQ, a Modern Restaurant With Global Fare

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 10:52

The Golden Arches is trying really hard

McDonald’s made global headlines last month when it opened its new ground-floor restaurant inside its yet-to-open new corporate headquarters in Chicago’s West Loop. The restaurant features a new layout and design, a rotating menu of items previous unavailable in the U.S. from McDonald’s around the world, and touchscreen ordering kiosks. The restaurant actually ran out of international items on opening day at the southwest corner of Randolph and Carpenter streets. McDonald’s officials want to appeal to younger customers and wow Chicagoans on Randolph Row, where some of the city’s best restaurants reside. Here are some early observations.

The design: The 6,000-square-foot space represents what marketers call “McDonald’s Experience of the Future.” That’s what they’re calling the design template for future McDonald’s, as the company attempts to modernize. The Sun-Times asked architect critic Lee Bey for his thoughts on the project. Bey didn’t share many observations on the restaurant, which takes only a portion of the 774,000-square-foot, nine-story building. He called the building design from Gensler “most un-McDonald’s like.” However, Gensler didn’t design the restaurant. It seemed Bey was disappointed. He wrote that it was “nicely put together, but surprisingly sober, particularly in light of architect Carol Ross Barney’s sun-powered, sleek and absolutely forward-looking design for the new Rock & Roll McDonald’s that will take shape in River North.”

The Reader called the touchscreens “an amusing novelty.” But wished the food was fancier to match the upscale design: “Does McDonald’s brand-new ‘fancy’ restaurant stack up with the best of its neighbors on Randolph Street’s Restaurant Row? That’s a clown question, bro.”

Barry Brecheisen McDonald’s touchscreens.

The food: McDonald’s successfully generated buzz for this new restaurant. That’s demonstrated by Food & Wine taking the time to write a story about the new international items. Besides the thoughts about how “nobody wanted to be here after dark” 20 years ago in the neighborhood, there are some actual observations about the food. The Italian mozzarella salad from France is “a simple salad, and the chicken is clearly processed, but it tastes good.” Hong Kong’s McSpicy Chicken Filet “was just the right amount of heat to please both heat freaks and phobes.” But not as good as Chick-Fil-A. Canada’s “Mighty Angus Burger” features a solid bun. This McDonald’s features full-time baristas, but its flat whites from Australia didn’t impress as it “appears to lose something in the translation — a flat white, a chai latte and something called an iced chocolate.”

The offerings didn’t impress the Reader: “It takes you right back to nearly every other fast-food joint on earth.” The paper added “In other words, don’t expect a Michelin star here anytime soon. But maybe that’s okay.”

Barry Brecheisen McDonald’s Angus Burger from Canada

The impact: The Reader avoided snark and wrote: “In a pinch, it’s nice to have an option that doesn’t require a reservation, a long wait, and doesn’t break your bank. And maybe, just maybe, it will convince Au Cheval to adopt a Dollar Menu.” Meanwhile, one West Loop resident wonders if having McDonald’s headquarters will paint a target on her neighborhood. Renee Gonzalez, via Facebook, provided a list of reasons why she’s annoyed including protestors, double-parkers, and smokers loitering around. It’s also dangerous that she “loves their fries too much”: “And in just the first couple days, Nos. 1-3 have already poised a problem, SMH.”

Taste of Chicago Unveils 73 Food Vendors for 2018 Summer Festival

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 14:49

This year’s event goes from July 11 through July 15

The sunshine’s beaming down on Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel is cracking a smile for the annual Taste of Chicago food vendor unveil. The 2018 edition will feature 73 food vendors, including 26 new ones. This is the festival’s 38th year and it will take place from July 11 through July 15 at Grant Park. Last year’s event featured 67 vendors.

Some of the bigger newbies this year include James Beard Award winner Sun Wah BBQ, Albany Park pioneer Arun’s Thai, and the return of the Original Rainbow Cone. Emanuel and Pork & Mindy’s founder Jeff Mauro hosted the unveil on Wednesday afternoon at the Chicago Cultural Center. The mayor talked about how the city has reinvented the event. He also talked about how the festival gives exposure to lesser-known restaurants away from Chicago’s downtown. That’s benefitted the Taste by giving fest-goers more options.

“I really do hope it helps the neighborhood restaurants [as well],” Emanuel said.

Top Chef winner Joe Flamm (Spiaggia) will also do a demonstration on July 13. For more information and tickets for selected events go to the event’s website. Meanwhile, check out the full lineup below. An asterisk (*) denotes a new addition.

38 Five-Day Restaurants 22 Pop-Up Restaurants 13 Food Trucks
  • American Glory
  • Auntie Vee's
  • Aztec Dave's Food Truck
  • Beavers Coffe + Donuts
  • *CheSa’s Gluten Free Food Truck
  • Da Lobsta
  • Giordano's
  • Harold's Chicken
  • La Cocinita Food Truck
  • *Lawrence’s Fish & Shrimp
  • *Sausagefest
  • The Fat Shallot
  • The Lifeway Kefir Shop

12 Luscious Lobster Rolls in Chicago

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 12:25

Bib and lobster cracker not required

Summer is prime season for a lobster roll, but plenty of Chicago restaurants serve standout versions of the East Coast favorite all year round. Chicago is a long way from the East Coast but that doesn’t stop local spots from offering luscious versions of the sandwich. Dripping in mayo, butter, and spices, these indulgent bites are a relatively inexpensive take on high-end cuisine. Some even take liberties with the New England staple and come garnished with Chicago-style toppings and other nontraditional ingredients. Regardless of preference, here are 12 places that do it well. Listed from north to south.