4 Chicago places to eat and drink for September celebrations

Sepia private dining decor

Sepia, 123 N. Jefferson St., over the years has become a popular venue for discerning Chicagoans celebrating milestones. Now, you are invited to celebrate a milestone with them – their 10th anniversary. From September 8 to 17, they will feature a special commemorative tasting menu, older-vintage wine pairings, and cocktail selections from among past stars of their acclaimed bar program. Book your reservation today on OpenTable or by calling 312-441-1920.

Attention, beer lovers! Vice District Brewing in the South Loop is celebrating its 3rd anniversary over Labor Day weekend with three days of Beer and swag and music.
Thursday, Aug. 31, three breweries (Pollyanna, One Trick Pony and Twisted Hippo) will pour three of their own beers from 7 to 9:30pm. There will also be someone onsite to talk about each of the beers and to hand out some swag.
Friday, Sept. 1, Vice District will release a new beer in the Kitchen Sink Series, a Belgian Black IPA called Unforgivably Black.  Groove to Vibing with Vice, which features both old school and modern day hip hop music.
Saturday, Sept. 2, Vice District will open at 10 a.m. to kick off the first day as the official Iowa Hawkeyes game watch location for the South Loop. The party will also celebrate co-owner Curtis Tarver’s birthday and Vice District Brewing’s third anniversary.
Bistronomic’s Riosh Hashanah menu

Bistronomic, 840 N. Wabash, is offering for Rosh Hashanah a special menu that features a delectable assortment of French-inspired dishes featuring seasonal, local and sustainable ingredients. From Wednesday, Sept. 20 through Friday, Sept. 22, enjoy a three-course, prix fixe menu for dinner from 5 to 10:30 p.m. for $39 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Reservations are recommended and may be made via OpenTable on the website.

Skydeck pizza PIe in the Skyk

Skydeck Chicago on the 99th and 103rd floors of Willis Tower, not only provides breathtaking views of 50 miles and 4 states, but also offers 3 different party packages:

1) Pie in the Sky VIP Dinner. Guests will essentially have the Skydeck to themselves with an exclusive dining experience at 10:30pm, after the after Skydeck Chicago closes to the public. At $100 per person, this three-course meal is catered by Giordano’s Pizza. Only nine reservations are available to ensure a VIP experience.
2) Pie in the Sky VIP Lunch. The Pie in the Sky VIP Lunch is the perfect way to close out summer. At $80 per person, guests can enjoy lunch at 12pm on the 99th floor, experiencing a spectacular view of four states. Pricing includes Fast Pass entry, a visit to the 103rd floor Ledge, and a three-course lunch. A maximum of ten reservations are available.
3) Breakfast in the Sky for those looking to elevate their brunch experience. Catered by The Metropolitan Club at $125 per person, breakfast is available Monday through Friday. A full menu is available here.

3 Chicago restaurants kickstart September 2017

Happy 15th, Weber Grill!

Weber Grill Restaurant, 539 N. State St. Friday, Sept 1 – Saturday, Sept 30, they’re celebrating their 15th anniversary. For only $15, Executive Chef Jason Friedland’s giant burger (a Certified Angus Beef® patty, hickory smoked beef brisket, Merkt’s cheddar cheese, bread and butter pickles, and brisket mustard aioli) and a Weber Backyard Brew (a Goose Island wheat ale) draft beer. (Burger only $11). @thewebergrill

Maggiano’s lobster mac

Maggiano’s, 516 N. Clark St., is bringing back a feature favorite – mac n’ cheese adults will love! Langostino lobster mixed in with pasta and a rich, white wine truffle cream sauce. Baked with fontina cheese, fresh dill, and herb breadcrumbs. Make it your entrée or share with everyone as a perfect side. Only until September 27, so hurry in.

River Roast, 315 N. LaSalle St., has a new beverage program led by beverage manager, Ken Pritz – classic cocktails with a fresh, innovative twist. Look for local Midwestern beers in River Roasts’ 13 rotating taps along with classic wines from France, Italy and Spain, as well as Argentina and Chile. Check out the new Happy Hour Package: two hours  of passed hors d’oeuvres and a beverage package including local beers, red and white wines, and a selection of spirits for $35 per person. Hors d’oeuvres include a Slider Station – burger, pulled pork and coleslaw, and crispy chicken – all served with house made chips; Golden Gobbets, seasoned chicken with honey; BBQ Chicken Quesadillas with ancho chile cream; Preserved Fruit & Goat Cheese on walnut crostini; and Tomato Bruschetta with spiced ricotta and French bread.

Chicago restaurant news – today and more

Dos Toros Chicago

Dos Toros Taqueria opens its new restaurant today, August 28, at 1 N Dearborn St. and hosts $1 Burrito Day in stores and #DosTorosChi on social media today! For each image under the hashtag #DosTorosChi and every meal sold at our Chicago location that day, they’ll donate a meal to the Greater Chicago Food Depository AND The Food Bank for NYC!

Epic Burger, River North location ONLY (407 N. Clark Street), announces extended late night hours (11pm-4am) for THURSDAY nights as well as Fridays and Saturdays. Consider a #HangoverHelper meal = a classic Epic Late Night Burger plus fresh-cut fries. Even when you can’t come out, order online from Epic Burger’s full late night menu and have it delivered through the UberEats App.
Gene & Georgetti, 500 N Franklin St., an original Chicago steakhouse since 1941, introduces Saturday Brunch for the first time in more than 76 years in its downtown location in River North. Brunch selections include a frittata, an omelette and other 3-egg dishes plus signature Bloody Marys that are practically mini-meals in themselves. Gene’s Bloody Mary: Gene & Georgetti Vodka, garnished with thick cut bacon, salami, mozzarella cheese, lemon and lime, $13 . Georgetti Bloody Mary: Gene & Georgetti Vodka, garnished with jumbo shrimp, olives, mozzarella cheese, lemon, lime and celery, $15. Saturdays, 11am to 3pm.
Social Circle, inside the Cambria Chicago Loop – Theatre District, 32 W. Randolph, introduces new Happy Hour specials. 5–7 p.m. Monday – Friday, where both hotel guests and locals can enjoy:
    * $6 Pints of Haymarket Brewery’s Speaker Wagon Czech Pilsner
    * $6 Cambria Featured Cocktails: The Cambria Margarita and Strawberry Fields Forever
    * $6 Buy-One-Get-One House Vodka Drinks
    * $6 Wine: All wine, every wine, any wine!
    * $6 Appetizers: Pretzel Lollipops, Chicken Lollipops and Bacon wrapped Italian Sausage
Smoke Daddy, 1804 W Division St. Saturday September 16 to Tuesday October 3. Enjoy 4 Star Restaurant Group’s “Smoketober Fest” in honor of the world’s largest beer festival and to kick-off the fall season. Menu items include the Smoked German Sausage Sandwich served with potato salad ($10); the Smoke Corned Beef Sandwich with potato salad ($10); the Giant Pretzel served with beer cheese and caramelized onion mustard ($13.95); the Smoked German Sausage Platter with sauerkraut, potato salad, and brisket ($15.95); and the Smoketober Giant Pretzel Platter served with beer cheese, smoked German sausage, smoked brisket, sauerkraut, potato salad, and caramelized onion mustard (24.95). Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest pints will be available for $5 and Two Brother’s Atom Smasher pints for $7.

The Kimpton Gray Hotel, 122 W. Monroe, the 4,000 square foot rooftop bar Boleo complements its South American street food inspiration with all new East Asian-inflected midsummer cocktails from acclaimed Head Bartender Jess Lambert and her beverage team. The cocktails integrate Peruvian and Japanese ingredients as in the Nikkei cuisine found throughout South America.

Beverages at Kimpton Gray Vol. 39

Down on the second floor of The Gray, Jess Lambert’s Vol. 39, 39 S. LaSalle, bar team simultaneously unveils new cocktails that pay homage to 20th century American novelist Ernest Hemingway (himself an Oak Park native) and his time spent in Cuba where he tended his jetsetting soul at the Latin Caribbean island’s famed Hotel Sloppy Joe’s and La Floridita bar.


2 in Chicago make Bon Appetit’s Top 10 Restaurants 2017


In our last post we noted that the star culinary publication Bon Appetit just named Chicago the Restaurant City of the Year 2017. And now they’ve just issued their Top 10 New Restaurants 2017 and, we’re delighted to see, two Chicago restaurants made this list: Giant Restaurant in Logan Square, and Elske Restaurant in West Loop, each located in one of the hottest ‘hoods in the city these days.

The Bon Appetit judges spent almost three months on the road. “This year’s list is the most eclectic and culturally diverse one we’ve ever compiled,” says special projects editor Julia Kramer. The 10 they picked were the ones whose ” meals stuck with us the longest. These are the places you want to go back to multiple times.”

Both Chicago winners have been put together by Chicago chefs with experience in some very high profile restaurants. Here’s what Bon Appetit has to say about Giant and about Elske.

Consider putting these two on the top of your must-hit list.

*Photo credit: Wikipedia




7 Chicago restaurants with hot news bytes

Chicago style hot dog
Chicago style hot dog (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Restaurant news is never-ending in Chicago – of course, because we’ve now been named the 2017 Restaurant City of the Year by Bon Appetit magazine. We have a lot to be proud of, they tell us – as if we didn’t know! And it goes way beyond deep dish pizza and hot dogs with celery salt. Their take on the best hot dog places in Chicago disagrees in some measure with the rankings from Chicago Tribune, Chicago Eater and TimeOut Chicago.- in case you decide to invest the time to do a serious hot dog tour. At any rate, here are seven Chicago restaurants making news now.

    1. Nando’s PERi-PERi has got you covered

      Nando’s PERi-PERi will open its flagship Chicago restaurant at 155 N. Michigan on September 4 at 11am. This new and highest profile location, at Michigan Avenue and Lake Street, marks the 12th in the  Chicago area, all known worldwide for spicy flame-grilled chicken and always-unique buildings that sport earthy textures and bright colors. The new location features a 21-foot installation crafted from 6,800 repurposed aluminum cans from Two Brothers microbrewery to form pendant lights in a grand chandelier that’s suspended over the main stairwell. It designed by Tulsha Booysen, a 19-year-old student from Cape Town, South Africa, in collaboration with Nando’s Chicago-based architecture firm. Come for the deliciously fresh food and bask in the artwork.

    2. South Water Kitchen, a Kimpton kitchen at 225 N. Wabash, is excited to announce the appointment of new Head Bartender, Melissa Carroll and welcome you to enjoy the debut of her first cocktail menu – a summer-focused list of 13 original cocktails. Melissa steps handily into the footsteps of former Head Bartender Dan Rook (RedEye’s “Best Bartender of 2015”) who left his Chicago post to head up Kimpton’s newest LA opening, Ever Bar. Melissa has some serious chops, having previously been behind the stick at  Spiaggia Restaurant and the JW Marriott’s Lobby Lounge. Her new menu uses uses locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients and whimsical touches that “evoke memories of childhood.” Check these out: *The “Farmhouse” Ketelweissen evokes the sense of beer with delicate herbaceous notes and a light, caramel flavor. *The PB&G is a Gin & Tonic is a play on Chef Roger’s PB&J Grilled Cheese. *The Son of a Peach packs a tart whiskey punch. *Chicago spin on a classic Negroni, the 1919 is misted with Malort.
    3.  Good Fortune – a seafood-focused pop-up in the former Sink/Swim space on Armitage in Logan Square – opens August 18th and runs through the end of 2017. It’s the first in a series of new restaurant and bar concepts planned in Chicago within the next 12 months by the new collective, Out To Lunch Hospitality. The new group is led by Creative Director Andrew Miller, an international culinary and food services strategist, and  Executive Chef Charles Welch (Sepia, mk Restaurant), who gained critical acclaim at Honey’s.
    4. Benihana is back in downtown Chicago. Starting August 23, you can enjoy Japanese-inspired teppanyaki and sushi in the Concourse level of the John Hancock building, 875 N. Michigan Ave. across from Water Tower. To celebrate this grand opening,
      Dinner at Benihana restaurant.
      Dinner at Benihana restaurant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      Benihana will host patients of Lurie Children’s Hospital and their families at a pre-opening and will donate 10 percent of opening-day revenues. So come for the Benihana experience and help out the kids on August 23. Hours: M-Th 11am-11pm, F-Sa 11am-11:30pm (Sunday 10pm). Happy Hour Mon – Friday 4 – 6pm.

    5. Join the fun at Ceres Table, 3124 N. Broadway, on Friday, Aug. 11 as they roll out their new Apéritivo (Happy Hour) menu. Check out the Apérol Spritz cart on the patio from 5 – 7pm and enjoy free samples of Apérol Betty spritz. The Apérol crew will also be giving out branded goods to those who arrive early to join in the fun. Spritzes are traditionally low alcohol cocktails served in Italy during the hours between work and play. Inside at the  bar, the “build your own spritz” promotion will feature Apérol, Campari, or the Cynar apéritivo for $6.  House wine (white, red, rosé or sparkling) and draft beers, are $6, and full bottles of house wine $20 make great accompaniments to the new small bites “bar only” menu.
    6. Ace Hotel Chicago sports a rooftop and a full-service restaurant

      The brand new 159-room Ace Hotel Chicago has just opened at 311 N. Morgan St. It offers event and public spaces along with a signature restaurant and rooftop bar in one of the city’s most vibrant cultural, food, art and design scenes. Waydown, the rooftop/lounge area located on the hotel’s seventh floor, offers panoramic views of the downtown skyline. Enjoy inspired cocktails, spirits and beer & wine menus created by Caitlin Laman, Ace Hotel Chicago Beverage Director. Waydown offers a selected food menu from the hotel’s Executive Chef, Pat Sheerin. For a full dining experience, check out the hotel’s signature restaurant, City Mouse — a collaboration with Chef Jason Vincent and his team from the much-lauded Giant in Logan Square.

    7. Chicago Firehouse Restaurant. A devastating fire in December 2014 nearly destroyed this treasured Chicago landmark (received Landmark status in October 2003).  Fortunately, the owners O’Malley rebuilt the 230-seat facility in a way that fully honors the details of architectural styles of the early 1900s.
      • Happy Hour Sunday through Thursday from 4-6pm – menu featuring bar bites and $5 martinis and wine changes weekly
      • Beautiful Solarium on first floor and a Veranda on the second floor – perfect for ladies who lunch, brunch, wine and dine
      • New Brunch menu here.

    The new Firehouse Solarium with view of the patio

Brunch, Bourbon and Bake in bonny Wicker Park


Wicker Park is one of the hottest ‘hoods in Chicago these days. New restaurants and bars are constantly popping up, as existing establishments tweak their offerings to attract even more business. Here are a couple of cool places to check out on Division St.

Brunch at Bourbon on Division – Tasso Belly Hash

Bourbon on Division, 2050 W. Division,  serving only brunch (11 to 5pm) and dinner, offers a forward-thinking and innovative Southern-style menu of dishes that are made from scratch and change with the seasons. Check out some of these brunch items:

  • Grilled Walnut-Sweet Potato Bread Pudding ($15) with bourbon apple honey and spinach frisee Salad
  • Spicy Pecan Fried Chicken ($16) with a corn waffle, collard greens and bourbon apple honey
  • Grilled Shrimp and White Cheddar Grits ($16) with smoked tomato gravy, wilted spinach and celery leaves

Whether you eat at one of the two bars or on the elevated dining space, you can select your beverage from their craft beer selection or imbibe in one of their craft cocktails like Blackberry Julep ($10) with Buffalo Trace, blackberry-mint simple syrup and prosecco; Helluva Way To Wake Up ($10) with Old Forester, iced coffee, honey-rosemary syrup and whipped bourbon cream; or Basic Bitch ($10) with Tito’s, plum bitters, cranberry, simple syrup and press.

Whipped bourbon cream? Adding this to our must-try list.

Bake 4th of July cake

Bake° Bakery, 2246 W. North Ave. in Wicker Park, has a way with sweets to help Chicagoans celebrate summer and every other season. This year for Fourth of July they created a stacked American flag cake. Sorry, it was only available for the holiday, but it gives you a good idea of what they can do.  The cake consisted of 6 layers of vibrantly-colored red, white and blue cake and a thick layer of Bake°’s signature Vanilla Bean Buttercream sandwiched between each layer. Happily, they do stuff like this all year around.  This  picture ought to  get your tastebuds riled up.