5 Chicago restaurants’ late-summer news

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Don’t be sad. There’s still time to steep yourself in the Chicago restaurant scene with summer specials that’ll make you feel glad to be alive and living in this great food city of ours. Call a friend and get out there to partake of the joys of the end-of-summer countdown.

Bohemian House desserts

Bohemian House, 11 W. Illinois. Executive chef Roman Hadrbolec is reinventing the Bohemian dining experience with a fresh new take on Old European cuisine that appeals to both foodies and health-conscious diners. A local Czech TV personality, famed chef and cookbook author, Hadrbolec’s new menus remain true to the beloved European cuisine we know while also embracing the lighter side that vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diners prefer. Now you can shop, too, from shelves of house-made pickles, pickled sweet peppers, a host of jams, and Hadrbolec’s flavorful spice blends.

Beautiful elegant Ella Elli

Ella Elli, 1349 W. Cornelia Ave, , 4 Star Restaurant Group’s posh Lakeview concept, has launched a new happy hour menu, available every Monday to Thursday, 4:30 – 6pm. The menu will change each week and include a specialty cocktail such as the Blood Orange Paloma (Piedra Azul Tequila, lime juice, grapefruit cordial and blood orange juice, $6) plus select wines for $7. Enjoy new snacks like Polenta Fries with truffle aioli ($6) or Shrimp with n’duja (uh, had to look that one up: spicy, spreadable pork salumi from Italy), fingerling potatoes and salsa verde ($8).

Osteria via Stato, 620 N. State St., an LEYE restaurant, is putting on its annual to-die-for heirloom tomato dinner this Thursday, August 16, 6:30 to 8:30pm. Chef David DiGregorio welcomes Green Acres Farm to Osteria Via Stato on Thursday, August 16 at 6:30PM., for the annual dinner highlighting Chef David’s favorite summer ingredient—the seasonal heirloom tomato! Meet the farmer while enjoying a selection of passed appetizers before sitting down to a mouthwatering multi-course dinner with wine pairings. The cost is $68++ per person. Reservations here.

Smoke Daddy, 1804 W. Division, the fun BBQ spot in Wicker Park invites you to bring your four-legged friend on National Dog Day, Sunday August 26, 12-6pm! The BBQ joint will be hosting its first annual “Beers, Ears & Cheers” event in support of PAWS Chicago. $1 from each Pig Ear doggie treat and Lagunitas beer purchase will go directly to PAWS for the senior dog adoption program. For more information, visit Facebook.

River Roast, 315 N. LaSalle, is finishing out summer with Crispy Black Bass with Mojo de Ajo ($48). Toast National Rum Day Thursday August 16 with one of these after-dinner drinks: Alexander, The Greatest ($15): bonded brandy, rum, nocino, demerara, and cream or Flipping Out ($15): amaro averna, rum, allspice dram, benedictine, and a whole egg. Come in for the Blues & Brunch Saturdays & Sundays in August, Noon-3pm. 8/18: Harris Herrero, 8/19: Friends, 8/25: Joseph Morganfield, 8/26: Michael Charles. And/or celebrate National Chicken Month coming up in September with Golden Gobbets ($10 seasoned fried chicken with honey), Whole Roast chicken ($39 Crystal Farms, apple wood smoked with RR potatoes) or Fried Chicken Sandwich ($14 with sriracha pickle, spicy remoulade, butter lettuce on a brioche bun).

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Exotic or homegrown – Chicago bars and restaurants have it all

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Restaurants serving exotic dishes from various cultures abound in Chicago. Lucky for those who travel a lot or are simply excited to try different cuisines. Peru is considered by some – including a friend of ours who partook of high-end cuisine there last Thanksgiving and pronounced it fabulous – to be a top international foodie stop for gourmets. We’ve also heard about the glories of Peruvian chicken. Consider this:

Tanta (118 W Grand Ave.), Chicago’s premier Peruvian restaurant, celebrates both Peruvian Independence Day (July 28) and their five-year anniversary with three new specials , now running through August 12.  These dishes, crafted by Executive Chef Giancarlo Valera, showcase the variety of global cuisines that have shaped Peru’s diverse food culture over hundreds of years and multiple waves of immigration to the country. Check them out – and in case, like us, you have no idea what most of these terms mean, here’s a glossary of terms in Peruvian cuisine):

  • Tiradito Bachiche. Inspired by Peru’s Italian immigrants and the flavors they brought with them, this dish features thinly-sliced fresh fluke, 22-month aged parmesan sauce, crispy garlic, crisp faux fish skin and basil oil.
  • Anticucho Carretilla. Anticuchos, or grilled skewered meats adopted by Peruvians as popular street food, draw inspiration from various African cuisines. This version features sweetbreads, veal heart, aji panca, marble potato, aji amarillo & huacatay sauce
  • Paiche Charapa. Paying homage to Peru’s native peoples, this dish features paiche (a favorite Amazonian fish), green plantain tacacho, double smoked bacon, and mishkina steamed in a banana leaf and garnished with cilantro and grilled pineapple chalaca sauce.

And talk about glories, consider the below haute Italian dining and  American cross-country bar options:

Spiaggia, among the finest Italian restaurants in the city, is heading to Oak Street beach on August 15 to celebrate the Italian holiday Ferragosto. Dress is casual for this beachside party where $75 gets you whole roasted lamb, the best of local seasonal vegetables, gelato, Italian wines, rose, and much more. Chef Tony Mantuano, Rachael Lowe and Executive Chef Joe Flamm, winner of Top Chef Season 15, will be joined by four guest chefs: Sarah Rinkavage (Marisol), Carolina Diaz (Terzo Piano), Keith Potter (Cindy’s Rooftop) and Bill Motagne (Nico Osteria). Tickets are available  HERE.

Gino’s Brew Pub, 500 North LaSalle Ave., welcomes The Bruery and Bruery Terreux, two distinctive breweries from Southern California for Thirsty Thursday Tap Takeover. Come try their one-of-a-kind barrel-aged and experimental ales, Thursday, August 2, 6 – 9pm. Live music from Matt Keen (guitar, vocals), who’s the inspiration behind Gino’s Brew Pub’s own in-house tap Keen Greens IPA. A rocker at heart, he’s known for his scorching vocals and killer guitar licks, some reminiscent of early Doors and Zeppelin. Talk to Brewmasters Kevin McMahon and Keith Pumilia (Terreux Production Supervisor) with any questions about the featured beers on tap, The Bruery, and the Gino’s East Brew Pub.

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New menus, new happenings at 5 Chicago restaurants

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Fort Willow, DMK’s newest spot inspired by the adventure of a childhood tree fort at 1721 N. Elston, introduces new spice-driven cocktails and a selection of small plates inspired by the cuisines of Korea, Mexico and Indonesia. Try a spicy Rooster Shooter (vodka, Sriracha, peach and lime $12). Or a Piston Splitter (mezcal, Ancho Reyes, raspberry and root beer bitters $13). Planter’s Punch is a blend of rum, nutmeg, angostura bitters and lime, $13. All house cocktails are priced at $5 during happy hour from 5-6pm T-F. New bites include elote fritters (grilled sweet corn, cotija and chili lime aioli, $8), tandoori prawns (marinated in Indian butter sauce, $12); softshell crab (topped with scallions and roasted tomato vinaigrette, tossed in a black bean salad, $14), and Argentinian grilled skirt steak (with jalapeño chimichurri, $12). Plus several new Asian-inspired bites. Yum! Can’t wait to try ’em!

Marchesa, 535 N. Wells, a chic and cozy River North eatery, now offers Saturday brunch with Continental breakfast and lunch selections from 11am to 3pm. Enjoy bottomless Bubbles, Bloody Mary’s or Bellinis for $25. Sit in the beautiful Marchesa inside space or dine outside amid the greenery of its intimate new dog-friendly sidewalk cafe adorned with flowers, beautiful fabrics and modern sculptures. Choose from brunch items like Salmon Benedict, lobster & eggs, quiche, steak & eggs, and pastries. Lunch items include French takes on scallops, mushrooms, lobster, salmon, chicken and more.

Carnivale in West Loop is hosting a totally 80s Murder Mystery night on Thursday, August 2, 6:30-9pm. Cocktails first, then dinner and show. Dress in your best ‘80s concert gear while you solve the crime with your friends. Poison Ratenstein is in town for a killer concert, but his fans may be looking for a refund after this twisted tour turns tragic with a murder and a mystery to solve.

Jake Melnick’s Chef Nick and the knowledgeable crew at Great Lakes Brewing present BEER & BBQ PAIRINGS: On Tuesday, August 21st, Chef Nick and the knowledgeable crew at Great Lakes Brewing are teaming up to bring diners an evening packed with Jake’s BBQ classics paired with top Great Lakes brews – an ale, a lager, a porter and more. Beginning at 6pm you can talk beer with a team of experts as they enjoy the evening’s spread inside Jake’s Keg Room. Tickets are $50 per person (tax & gratuity included). Sample menu items: Grilled Poncho Wings, BBQ Brisket Sliders, House-smoked Oktoberfest Braised Brats, Braised Pork Belly Crostini and Peanut Banana Cups. Reserve online or call 312-266-0400.

River Roast (315 N. LaSalle Street), known for elegant American tavern fare and breathtaking city and water views in River North, will host its very first ‘River Boil’ on Thursday, August 16. From 6–9pm guests will enjoy an eclectic outdoor feast on the veranda along the Chicago River. Selections will include a freshly shucked oyster bar and grilled oysters, housemade charcuterie and terrines, and a flavorful summer seafood boil featuring assorted seafood, housemade sausages and more. In true boil form, Miller High Life will be flowing as the beer of choice, and New Orleans-inspired cocktails will be poured. $50 per person (21 and over only). Purchase tickets here. Or call 312-822-0100.

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Marriot rooftop hosts Imperfect Produce benefit

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Marriott Mag Mile rootop views

Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile. On Thursday, July 26, 5 to 8 pm, they are partnering with Imperfect Produce to host a rooftop soiree that celebrates the innovative food service’s milestone of saving 2.6 million pounds of produce in Chicago since its initial launch in the Midwest this past December. Bring your friends to mix and mingle in the rooftop’s beautiful garden while enjoying creative small plates, created by the hotel’s executive chef Frank Sanchez, that feature Imperfect’s produce along with the vegetables and herbs grown in the rooftop garden.

Enjoy beverages like Revolution Brewing beers, select wines from J Vineyards and a variety of craft cocktails and receive a $25 produce credit from Imperfect Produce to continue to fight food waste in Chicago. All ticket proceeds will benefit The Children’s Miracle Network. Such a deal for $20 per person. To purchase tickets, visit the Eventbrite page here or call 312-836-6334.
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Chicago restaurants summer ‘holiday’ news 2018

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You know, almost any day of the week all year you can celebrate a declared holiday. For example, coming up is Single Working Women’s Week (July 29-August 4, 2018) and Single Working Women’s Day August 4. Check it out if you see any hard-working single women in your life.

But, we digress. Here in Chicago, our restaurants are constantly surprising us with ‘holiday’ specials, so here are a few happenings you might like, organized by dates of occurrence. Enjoy!

Green City Market’s Chef BBQ 2018, Lincoln Park (approximately 1817 N. Clark). On Thursday July 19, 5:30-8pm, attendees will get to try tasting portions prepared utilizing fresh produce, meats and craft beverages made with ingredients provided by local farmers and vendors. (Click here for a complete list of participants.)

Use public transportation, taxis, and ride-shares because parking could be tough. Limited parking is available in the Chicago History Museum lot at their regular rate ($19-$32 depending on how long you’re there). Tickets at GCMBBQ.eventbrite.com. RAIN or SHINE. – no refunds. Supported by Breakthru Beverage, FIG Catering, Midwest Foods, and Tablescapes.

Castaways, 1603 N. Lake Shore Dr. at Chicago’s popular North Avenue Beach, is the perfect spot to throw one back in honor of Discovery Channel’s #SharkWeek. Sunday July 22 to Sunday July 29 Castaways will offer a special “The Hammerhead” cocktail for $9 each. The ocean-colored cocktail is made with Captain Morgan Coconut Rum, pineapple juice and blue curaçao.

Four Entertainment Group (4EG) outlets will celebrate Shark Week by donating $1 from every full-price signature house cocktail sold at aliveOne, Easy Bar, Estelle’s, Remedy, and The Owl – 50 cents to Chicago’s Shedd the Straw Campaign and 50 cents to For a Strawless Ocean. All week, you can see free showings at all locations of movies like Free Willy, JAWS and other aquatic-themed films while you make cash donations to support both initiatives aimed at reducing plastic straw waste in our oceans.

Carnivale, 702 W. Fulton Market, says summertime in Chicago calls for a cool patio for drinks and good company. HAPPY HOUR: Monday-Friday 4:30-6:30 in the lounge and on the patio. An unmatched chilled white wine list. Lively entertainment every Friday night. INDUSTRY NIGHT: Every Sunday enjoy $1 Coronitos with a shot and 25% off appetizers. SAMBA DANCE NIGHT: Dance the night away starting July 17th and every third Wednesday of the month.

Green City Market’s Chef BBQ 2018, Lincoln Park (approximately 1817 N. Clark). On Thursday July 19, 5:30-8pm, attendees will get to try tasting portions prepared utilizing fresh produce, meats and craft beverages made with ingredients provided by local farmers and vendors. (Click here for a complete list of participants.)

Use public transportation, taxis, and ride-shares because parking could be tough. Limited parking is available in the Chicago History Museum lot at their regular rate ($19-$32 depending on how long you’re there). CTA Bus routes that stop at the event include 22 Clark, 36 Broadway, 73 Armitage, 151 Sheridan. L stops nearby: Sedgwick Brown Line (walk east on North Avenue to Clark) and Clark/Division Red Line (walk north on Clark). Tickets at GCMBBQ.eventbrite.com. The event will be held RAIN or SHINE. No refunds. The event is supported by Breakthru Beverage, FIG Catering, Midwest Foods, and Tablescapes.

Piccolo Sogno, 464 N. Halsted, celebrates its 10th anniversary all this month of July: a delicious Italian staple, Tagliolini with summer truffles for only $10 along with $10 bottles of Prosecco. They’re also celebrating National Lasagna day on July 29.  Chef Priolo and and partner Ciro Longobardo say that Piccolo Sogno is their “little dream,” and eating their lasagna might just be yours! Lasagna Tipica di Bologna (traditional lasagna with green pasta sheets layered with béchamel and Bolognese sauce, $16) – deemed by some as the best in Chicago. And the ambiance here – including the lovely patio – is absolutely delightful. You might even feel like you’re in Italy.

Connie’s Pizza, 2373 S. Archer or at McCormick Place. Since 1963, Italian family recipes and pizza – also in your Midwest grocer’s frozen section. July 29 they’re celebrating their 55-year anniversary on National Lasagna Day. Every order of Mama Sue’s 55-year-old lasagna recipe – kept alive by popular demand – comes with a $5.50 discount off the regular $12.99 price. Such a deal! They can host a party or bring it to you with delivery, catering and pizza shipping anywhere in the United States. 312.CONNIES (312.266.6437), visit their website and follow the restaurant  on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Dairy Queen, a perennial favorite of all soft-serve fans, is out to help sick kids. On Miracle Treat Day Thursday, August 2 2018 they will be donating $1 from every  Blizzard® Treat sold at participating DQ Grill & Chill® and Dairy Queen locations throughout the U.S. Donations go  to the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.  All kids want to have fun, so DQ® will Miracle Treat Day support critical treatments and healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care to help save and improve the lives of local children.

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Music, food and fun at Square Roots festival 2018

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Lincoln Square hosts Square Roots 2018 on July 13–15. It’s the 7th year for this one-of-a-kind craft beer, food and music experience boasting more than 70 acts on four stages (two indoor, two outdoor) and more than 40 regional craft brews paired with Lincoln Square’s finest restaurants and local artisans. Sponsored by Old Town School of Folk Music (OTSFM) and Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce (LSRCC), the three-day festival features free music lessons, jams, and plenty of family fun activities.

Events Details:
When: Friday, July 13th, 5-10 p.m.; Saturday, July 14th, noon-10 p.m.; Sunday, July 15th, noon-9 p.m.
Where: 4400 – 4560 N Lincoln Avenue (from Wilson to Montrose).
Cost: Suggested donation of $10 for adults, $5 for seniors/kids, $20 for families. For more info, visit www.squareroots.org, or call 773-728-6000

The festival expects more than 30,000 fans at this comfortable and inviting multidimensional experience for all ages of music, food and craft beer enthusiasts. Proceeds benefit small business workshops and community place-making efforts and fund the Old Town School of Folk Music scholarship programs, as well as the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce’s local shopping initiatives, ongoing community events and public farmers markets, as well as free summer concerts and artist-in-residence programs at Chicago Public Schools.

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Summer fun in Chicago at Meeting House Tavern

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It’s always fun to find drinking establishments that offer stuff to do in addition to imbibing. Heaven knows, societal trends are definitely moving away from the old picture of people sitting at a bar for hours at a time, just drinking. Too much scientific evidence about what alcohol does to the brain.

Anyway, here’s good news about the latest addition to the growing LGBT bar scene in Andersonville. Get this: there’s lots to do besides drink at this new, community-friendly place.

Skee ball at Meeting House Tavern

Meeting House Tavern , 5025 N. Clark, is now open. Get this: in addition to a full bar, they’re serving a signature margarita on tap, and a bunch of frozen cocktails. Get your Tavern Bites from Hutch American Kitchen + Bar (recently opened in the rear part of the building). Pick your own entertainment: Skee-ball, pool, shuffleboard, darts, arcade games, retro and indie tabletop board and card games. Plus watch music videos and sports on 10 TVs. Or put together a TV or movie watch party. Doesn’t this sound like fun?

Co-owners Mark Robertson and Mike Sullivan wanted to add another welcoming destination for the LGBT community – and everyone is welcome. The pair also own The SoFo Tap (one block south on Clark St.) that’s home to fun weekly and monthly events, including Ba-Da-Bingo, Doggy Days, grrr …. It’s Friday and more.

Enjoy daily drink specials and games and, for July and August, special programming like “Saddle Up” Wednesdays (country music night with DJ Cowboy Dan), “Drag-In” Movie Night Tuesdays (featuring cult-movie classics and hosted by Sofonda Booz), and Thirsty Thursday Karaoke with Bradley K8 Olsen. Watch for the community open house in July.

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4 fun food and drink ideas for summer in Chicago

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Macys Cocktail and Bar Cart Event – Fun!

Macy’s, 111 n. State St., is hosting an interactive cocktail making and bar cart styling event with Lifestyle Blogger Helen Berkun and James Beard Award-winning craft cocktail bar, The Violet Hour, on Thursday, June 28 at 6pm. Your $25 ticket gets you in to see Helen share some of her favorite tips and tricks for entertaining. Then enjoy a Violet Hour mixologist teaching you how to prepare both a classic Old Fashioned and the perfect summer punch in this hands-on cocktail-making experience inside one of Chicago’s finest retail stores.

Maillard Tavern, 494 N. Milwaukee in River West, celebrates National Fry Day on Friday, July 13. Nothing completes a burger like a side of duck fat Norwis potato fries that Eater Chicago calls truly out of this world. And on National Fry Day celebrate with shaved black truffle fries for $5. Chef Tony Priolo serves up American comfort food classics like custom griddled double patty hamburgers with those great fries, specialty sandwiches, soups, ice cream-centric desserts and a full service bar. Open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and late night snacking. First come, first serve. Follow Maillard Tavern on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Moody Tongue Brewing Company, 2136 S. Peoria St., announces its newest beer: Frozen Banana Hefeweizen, a medium-body, German-style wheat beer that showcases the flavors of a frozen banana with aromatics of both bubblegum and banana. The light honey-colored beer pairs well with grilled sausages, beer-battered fish and other summertime fare. Frozen Banana Hefeweizen will be on draft in the Tasting Room beginning Wednesday, June 27, and at Chicago-area restaurants and bars the first week in July.  The Hefeweizen, part of the Seasonal Series, celebrates the arrival of summer; the Brûléed Banana Dunkelweizen, the first release in this series, was a dark German wheat beer meant to complement cold-weather dishes. Keep your ears tuned to this Pilsen brewery for continuing innovations in brewing.

The Optima – music and food to satisfy your soul

The Optima, 1252 N. Wells, opened in April and is now offering brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10am – 3pm. Check out such elevated classics as Chicken and Waffles Benedict (spicy Hollandaise sauce on sourdough, Parmesan-herb French Toast, prosciutto jam, caramelized onions and a sunny side up egg). Americana Breakfast features scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and toast. How about Avocado Toast on garlic toasted ciabatta, or Funnel Cake with fudge and seasonal jam, or in-house-made Cinnamon Rolls with orange cream cheese frosting? Num! High-energy atmosphere and lively live music weekends and sometimes more. All brunch dishes are listed at the bottom of the full menu here.

 

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Exciting summer news from 9 Chicago restaurants

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Chicago restaurants are full of ideas for making  summer-in-the-city  the most fun you can have with your clothes on. From huge deals – like Hard Rock’s 71-cent burger to picnics on the go to deals on magic, pasta meals, beer and wine – Chicago is one of the best summer cities in the world. Check a few of these out:

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One hour only! Hard Rock Cafe Chicago, 63 W. Ontario St., celebrates its 47th birthday on Wednesday, June 14, by serving an Original 1971 Legendary® Burger offer for just 71 cents. First-come, first-serve from 11am to noon. Beef patty with smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, a golden fried onion ring, crisp lettuce and vine ripened tomato, served on a toasted brioche bun with Hard Rock’s seasoned fries.

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Magic Night at Carnivale, 702 W. Fulton, June 14, 7-9:30pm. An unforgettable evening of mystery and laughter featuring the comedy and magic of Ken Mate. Ken performed on the NBC Special “The Worlds Greatest Magic.” He combines slick sleight of hand with the timing of a nightclub comic. $75 tickets include passed appetizers, tapas bar and magic. Carnivale is listed by Open Table as one of the top 100 nightspots in 2017.

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Picnic on-the-go. Columbus Tap, the inhouse restaurant of the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park, 200 North Columbus Dr., is now offering a special Picnic-in-the-Park menu. Selections range from wine and cheese, a full dinner of charcuterie, chicken salad, wine and dessert, to an elegant champagne and chocolate dessert picnic. Blankets and folding chairs can also be rented for $10 each and orders can be placed online. And now Fairmont Chicago offers complimentary rickshaw tours for hotel guests through Millennium Park from June 1 – August 31.

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And speaking of picnics to go, Remington’s (20 N. Michigan Avenue), has launched its summertime curated Picnic-Baskets-To-Go, available for pick-up only at Remington’s, located directly across from The Bean. Attendees of the Grant Park Music Festival or Millennium Park Summer Film Series are encouraged to place orders 24 hours in advance. Customize your basket with artisanal meats and cheeses, hot and cold sandwiches and salads like the Italian SubShaved Prime RibWrightwood Salad, and Crab Louis, and snacks like Trout DipGuacamole and ChipsHummus and Pita, Grilled Artichokes, Housemade Coleslaw and Housemade Chips. Starting at $43 (repacks for only $28), picnic menu package orders come packed with everything you need, down to the wet naps. To view the full picnic menu, click here.

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Ravioli&Co, the new quick-service pasta and wine bar located on the first floor of Eataly, features three seasonal dishes and rotating daily specials priced under $15. Using pasta made fresh every morning by experts, dishes are prepared in real time while you watch at the Ravioli counter. Perfect for your work day lunch or quick healthy dinner fix during the week; available to dine-in and to-go. Optional Italian wine pairings available.

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AIRE, 100 W. Monroe, the hot rooftop bar on the 24th floor of Hyatt Centric The Loop Chicago, is now featuring a pop-up grill from  Kuma’s Corner to offer guests a new food experience this summer. Now open for the 2018 season, come for the hand-crafted cocktails, seasonal, shareable plates, and local craft beers. Perfect for happy hour meals and group get-togethers. Kuma’s Corner will offer its Led Zepplin, Darkthrone, WASP, and Pig Destroyer burgers for $10 at AIRE on Saturdays from 4–9pm.

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Ballast Point Tasting Room & Kitchen open now at 212 N. Green St. in the West Loop. Hours: 11– 11pm (kitchen 11–10:30pm). The new brewpub comes to Chicago by way of Ballast Point Brewing Company®, a pioneer in the craft beer movement in San Diego with a 20-plus-year history of supporting the art of home brewing and developing high-quality, innovative, award-winning beer.

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DMK Restaurants’ newest venture, Fort Willow, 1721 N. Elston, is set in a reimagined childhood tree fort, drawing inspiration for chef-driven cocktails and rotating food specials from around the world. Right now they’ve launched a new series of “Big Bites,” special sandwich combinations with global roots, each version available for two weeks only. Hurry in now to try the “Classic” Big Bite, available until June 21. It combines gooey cheddar cheese, buttery Havarti and ramp pesto and is paired with a baked goat cheese and tomato “soup” – but let’s be honest, that soup is for dipping!

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River Roast, 315 N. LaSalle Street, in the heart of River North, announces its new, cool Reid Bar. The place by day specializes in coffee, cold press, tea and made-fresh-daily layered donuts. Then, in the evenings, Reid Bar transforms itself into a showcase for curated craft cocktail items that feature extraordinary spirits along with delectable bites. You’ll love the atmosphere.

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5 Chicago restaurants – Spring is here 2018

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What a view from Cafe Brauer

We’ve been saying “It’s spring” for too long. This time, it seems to have actually arrived. Not only is our fair city simply glowing with beautiful flowers and leaf buds, but outdoor spaces are opening everywhere – including a favorite of ours in Lincoln Park Zoo, The Patio at Cafe Brauer. It’s time to dig out your spring duds, bring a light jacket and get out there to enjoy some of the city’s great restaurant options. Here are a few more:

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Dos Toros announces the opening of its newest location at 300 S Wacker Drive, the 16th location overall, and second in Chicago for this SF Bay Area-inspired taqueria. Close to the Willis Tower and sitting on the Chicago river waterfront, this location provides an elevated (and scenic) fast-casual experience for taco and burrito lovers. Relax in the updated Dos Toros aesthetic of Heath tile, lighter wood finishes, abundant potted succulents, and rustic black & white photography inspired by the original California Dos Toros taquerias. Guests also enjoy cashless check-out and the brand-new “market vegetables” option that features a fresh mix of Butternut Squash, Tuscan Kale, Cremini mushrooms, and Shishito peppers sauteed in coconut oil.
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Epic Burger, with locations around Chicago, announces its 10th birthday celebration on Tuesday, May 22. Come enjoy 10 CENT BURGERS*** (single-patty beef burgers, while supplies last) and a special Epic Birthday Cake Shake featuring a Sweet Mandy B’s mini-burger cupcake shake-topper. Home of “A More Mindful Burger,” Epic Burger provides Chicagoans with sustainably sourced meats and produce, Halal certified beef and chicken, a revolutionary plant-based Beyond Burger, and more.
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***Available in-store only, 11am-9pm while supplies last, one per person, The $.10 Epic Birthday Burger includes the basic build-your-own toppings (lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, Epic Sauce) — additional toppings like premium Wisconsin cheeses, fresh avocado, nitrate-free bacon, or an organic fried egg, available at extra cost.***
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  • Lincoln Park bakery, Sweet Mandy B’s teams up for the special Epic Birthday Cake Shake. Comprised of birthday cake ice cream, strawberries and organic milk, topped with whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles and a so-cute-you-die mini burger cupcake, it’s  priced at $10 (in honor of turning 10!).
  • While you’re there on this one day only (5/22), Epic Burger will accept cash donations benefitting Growing Home, Chicago’s leading expert in farm-based training for people with employment barriers.
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Mother’s Day banana pancakes

Bistronomic840 N. Wabash, the contemporary bistro rooted in French culture in Chicago’s Gold Coast, will offer a special three-course, prix fixe brunch menu on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 13, for $42 per person or $56 per person with bottomless mimosas (for 1.5 hours) plus tax and gratuity. A $20 two-course menu will be available for children under the age of 10.

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Look for Paris-inspired dishes like Eggs Benedict with artisanal smoked salmon, poached eggs and lemon hollandaise; Asparagus & Seasonal Mushroom Omelette with farm eggs, capriole goat cheese and port wine reduction; Flat Iron Steak & Two Eggs with duck fat new potatoes, roasted garlic purée and a red wine reduction; andHomemade Pancakes with buttermilk and strawberry-rhubarb marmalade. For the full menu and reservations, visit Bistronomic’s website or call 312-944-8400.
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Intercontinental Hotel’s Hall of Lions

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, 505 N. Michigan, honors Chicago and its landmark property by hosting “Uncork the Archives,”  a monthly series of tours combining history, wine, and live music. The next installment is Wednesday, May 30, 6-8pm, and offers a sommelier-hosted tasting featuring wine, cheese and chocolate from ENO Wine Bar. Hillary Marzec, an expert guide and founder of Inside Chicago Walking Tours, leads guests on a tour highlighting the hidden secrets, famous guests, and historical and architectural features. Afterwars, continue the party back at ENO, with live jazz and swing music entertainment and a complimentary glass of wine. www.icchicagohotel.com $48/ticket here.

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