Spring is a great time in Chicago, made even more exciting by the special offerings and cool event venues in our fine city. Here are just 6 ideas for spicing up your springtime leisure: a new gourmet French restaurant in South Loop, a chef-inspired wine dinner in Lakeview, a graduation-party planning bonus, a happy-birthday-
Rome dinner downtown, a street party raising funds for a cool Chicago ‘hood, and a tried-and-true Latin-inspired food and entertainment experience in the West Loop for your next gathering.
Grant Park Bistro, 800 S. Michigan, just opened in the Hotel Essex. This new French Bistro from LM Restaurant Group is daily serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, all featuring shareable French dishes like house-made terrines, quiches, and flatbreads along with grilled meat and seafood. French classics get new twists: Boeuf Bourguignon is made with braised beef cheek instead of brisket, and their Coq au Vin is simmered in white Vouvray (made with Chenin Blanc grapes) instead of red wine.
Your mouth will water when you read the breakfast/brunch menu, too. Check out the French-inspired beverage program, too. Happy hour specials Monday-Friday from 4-7pm in the bar area. Outdoor patio seating for 40 will be coming as the weather warms up. Reservations for Grant Park Bistro are available on Resy or by visiting grantparkbistro.com. And while you’re there, pick up a shamelessly decadent dessert at Petite Vanille, also open now in the hotel – pain au chocolate, almond croissants, French macarons and slices of Vanille signature cakes
mfk restaurant, 432 w. Diversey. On Monday April 29, come join a pair of James Beard-recognized chefs as they present a four-course family-style prix fixe menu highlighting fresh seafood, conservas and seasonal vegetables. Chef Alisha Elenz was recently announced as a James Beard award finalist for Rising Star Chef. At only 25 years old Elenz has worked her way up the ranks in the kitchen to lead this award-winning Michelin ranked Lakeview restaurant. This month she’s teaming up with another young female chef, Sarah Rinkavage (Marisol, Lulu Cafe), who was a 2018 finalist for the same award. One fun night of collaborative cooking will pay homage to the restaurants namesake, MFK Fisher. Tickets are $100 per person and include drink pairings and tax and gratuity.
Maggiano’s, any location, always a grand place to celebrate graduation – or any occasion – is offering a special bonus when you book a sumptuous family-style banquet for your larger circle of extended family and friends. Book your graduation or other celebration by June 30 and receive $50 in Be Our Guest cards for every $500 you spend in banquet events booked between May 1 and June 30. If you’d rather do your party in your own home or other space, Maggiano’s will cater it and give you a $25 Be Our Guest card for every $250 spent in catering booked between May 1 and June 30. Contact a Maggiano’s catering specialist.
Osteria via Stato, 620 N. State St., by-the-way an LEYE restaurant, invites you to celebrate the birthday of the “eternal city” with a Roman Dinner on May 1, 6:30pm. You’ll start with passed Roman pizzas and go on to a four-course dinner featuring dishes that honor Roman cuisine, all served with wine and cocktail pairings for $65 ++. Reserve your spots here.
Pilsen Cantina Crawl returns on Saturday, May 4, `12 – 6 pm to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and support the year-long fundraising efforts for the community’s signature cultural event in August, Pilsen Fest. Sponsored by Banhez Mezcal, Cantina Crawl invites patrons to dress in Cinco de Mayo costume and either stroll or ride complimentary trolleys to 13 participating bar and restaurants offering live musical performances, specialty dishes and hand-crafted cocktails vying for best in the ‘hood honors. Participating Cantina Crawl 2019 venues include: Alula Brewpub, Caminos de Michoacán, Harbee Liquors & Tavern, Honky Tonk BBQ, La Luna, La Pulquería, La Vaca Margarita Bar, Monnie Burke’s, Punch House, Simone’s, The Barrel, La Mejikana, and the Twisted Cantina. Tickets are $35 at BrownPaperTickets.com.
Carnivale, 702 W. Fulton Market, is another fabulous event space. From an intimate gathering of 10, to an extravagant 1,000-person event, Carnivale delivers exotic cuisine and exceptional service for every celebration. Their expert private dining team works closely with you to create a one-of-a-kind experience for you and your guests. They can accommodate a wide range of events in one of our 7 event spaces, from weddings and graduations to corporate parties and seminars. Full-venue buy-outs available for truly private events.