The dining scene in Chicago, and major parts of the world, upended by the global COVID-19 pandemic is coming back to life. We’re lucky to live in a city that offers vast options when it comes to food and beverage, though some of our faves have had to close during the pandemic due to extenuating circumstances. Restaurants are back up operating and getting packed as if there was no global pananini, and we’ve got exciting openings and wins. Cheers to eating, drinking, tipping and giving much appreciation to those in the food-bev industry.
Dear Margaret & Evette’s On New York Times 50 Favorite Restaurants
Chicago’s place as one of the top culinary destinations in the country may have been shaken a bit with the COVID pandemic but rest assured we are still one of the best and the folks over at New York Times are giving two of our restaurants good props. The 2022 New York Times 50 Most Exciting Restaurants in America was compiled by eight New York Times reporters, editors and critics who traveled across the U.S of A. to compile the second annual list of their 50 favorite restaurants in the country. The list published September 21 feature Dear Margaret and Evettes as the two restaurants from Chicago that made the Times list for 2022. Chef Ryan Brosseau’s Dear Margaret in Lakeview, pays homage to his French-Canadian mémé (grandmother), Margaret, and is a love letter to Midwestern ingredients opened early 2021. Evette’s is a Lebanese-Mexican in Lincoln Park, from Chef Mitchell AbouJamra and chef Rafa Esparza that been open since Q4 2020.
Big Star Mariscos Coming Soon
One Off Hospitality is back at it again with a new opening that’s sure to be another stellar restaurant in their lineup. Big Star, the beloved Wicker Park neighborhood joint that opened 13 years ago (can you believe it?!) is getting a seafood-forward 6,000 square foot sibling. Big Star Mariscos, set to open September 26 at at 551 N. Ogden, will serve up Seafood, Cocktails, Tacos (and Mix Tapes!). The menu will consist of favorites from the OG Big Star plus a variety of coastal seafood offerings including ceviches, aguachiles, cócteles and more, inspired by the ingredient-driven flavors found in coastal regions such as Vera Cruz, Baja, Ensenada, and the Yucatan. Don’t tell the TikTok kids but in addition to playing vinyl tunes, they will also be bringing back cassettes. The drinks will be promising. Big Star Mariscos will be open from 4pm-10pm for the first week of business (9/26-9/30) then transition to Sun-Thurs: 11am-11pm and Fri-Sat: 11am-12am starting October 1.
Solita Tacos & Margaritas Happy Hour
Solita Tacos & Margaritas (431 N. Wells St.), the Baja-style Mexican fare mini chain imported from the West Coast that opened back in August in the old Pink Taco space a couple weeks ago, is bringing Chicagoans a taste of the restaurant’s unique wood-grilled tacos and one-of-a-kind margaritas. Now they’re introducing their must-try happy hour Monday, Wednesday through Friday, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Food specials like 2 for $7 or 4 for $12 street tacos and an $8 Vampiro taco, the restaurant’s best-selling taco made with a double cheesy tortilla. And what is a happy hour without some delicious cocktails to imbibe in? Drink specials like Solita’s margaritas for $7 can be ordered either classic or flavored to be a strawberry, mango, pineapple, watermelon, or guava margarita.
11-time Michelin-starred Sepia Celebrates 15th Anniversary
Before the West Loop became the hotspot bustling neighborhood of Chicago, where you find some of the city’s best restaurants, there was Sepia. The 11-time Michelin starred restaurant which opened in 2007 guided by its commitment to excellence in guest serviceis celebrating its 15 year anniversary as well as the fifth anniversary of its sister restaurant Proxi. In the beginning Sepia started off as a casual neighborhood bistro but has since evolved into one of Chicago’s most beloved fine dining rooms. Guiding the restaurant into the future is partner Emmanuel Nony and chef Andrew Zimmerman (not to be confused with TV Host Andrew Zimmern), who was appointed in 2009. The dining room changed from communal tables and their wine list grew from less than 100 labels to over 600, winning awards from Wine(Spectator and Enthusiast), and is regarded as one of the best in the country.”
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association Partners with Levy Restaurants
Forte! Levy Restaurants is collaborating with the Symphony to reimagine the food and beverage experience at Symphony Center. From lobby bars serving thoughtful selections to sit-down dining experiences and unforgettable private events, the two world-class institutions are now working together to deliver an elevated concert experience. Symphony Center’s new restaurant, Forte, will offer a contemporary take on Mediterranean cuisine. The menu will feature mezze-style starters, pastas and tagines. Among the many delectable menu items are focaccias topped with roasted fig and gorgonzola and roasted mains like a gremolata-topped lamb shank created in a hearth oven. Its tentatively scheduled to open its doors late fall.
Brown & Balanced and Healthy Pour Win at 2022 Liquor Awards
Dotdash Meredith’s Liquor.com unveiled its inaugural 2022 Liquor Awards which recognizes key players in the bartending industry—the professionals and places both longstanding and up-and-coming—that are advancing the world of cocktails, spirits, and hospitality. In the Health and Wellness category 2 Chicago organizations came out on top. Healthy Pour a workplace well-being consultancy dedicated to improving the hospitality, food, drinks, & creative industries and Brown & Balanced, an organization that celebrates Black bar & hospitality professionals were the only 2 Chicago winners. Liquor.com will celebrate the winners and finalists on Tuesday, September 27, in New York City at Manhattan’s Crown Shy, SAGA, and Overstory for an evening of drinks and festivities as we celebrate the best in our industry.
Post Marathon Recovery Brunch at I|O Godfrey
Looking for the perfect place to celebrate the Chicago Marathon, post-race? I|O Godfrey’s Post Bank of America Chicago Marathon Recovery Brunch Buffet will hold on Sunday, Oct. 9 from 2p.m. until 7 p.m. The Godfrey hotel’s I|O Godfrey, will create a “winner’s circle” like atmosphere for marathoners and spectators offering a complimentary beer for the runner, onsite medal engravement, a runner’s circle photo opp with a photographer, and a brunch buffet. The rooftop’s brunch spread will be dedicated to refueling a racer with options including a carving station, hand-helds, pasta, sushi, tacos, and delectable dessert options. In addition, for the marathon participant with the best time, one female and one male will each be awarded a one-night complimentary stay certificate as an incentive for their hard-earned accomplishment.Tickets for the event are $49 for adults, $15 for kids (12 and under), and available for reservation here. Reservations are not required, but recommended.
Recess Want’s You To Beer Down
Recess, Chicago’s largest outdoor patio, is offering fans reasons to celebrate the start of the NFL season even if the Bears might break our heart again this year. ‘Beer Down’ kicked off September 18 where groups of four or more that visit Recess to catch Bears games beginning Sept. 18 will have their “team” photo added to the new ‘Beer Down’ Board, making them eligible to win prizes all season long. Prizes will be awarded to teams as they accumulate stickers with each visit to Recess throughout the fall for games. Each week, fans will get more and more incentive to return for the following game, with free food, gift cards, and more. Food and drink specials will be available all day for Bears game days and every Sunday during the football season, including a variety of themed cocktails, beer buckets, football-themed large formats and a selection of gameday eats. Additionally, for only $10 fans can get a ride on the official Recess shuttle bus to and from Soldier Field on home game day.
Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk Barktoberfest
Calling all dog lovers! It’s time to take your pup on the best walk ever. On September 24 and 25,from 8:00 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk in partnership with PUPS Pet Club will host an inaugural Barktoberfest event. The complimentary interactive event, open to the public and hotel guests, will feature activities for fido, training sessions, goodies from local vendors and a raffle with amazing prizes and additional surprises. Stop by the training corner and enjoy a mini class from a local trainer on site, take home a peanut butter painting created by your furry best friend and capture the moment at the festive photo booth. Proceeds from a small fee for all activations and raffle tickets will be donated to One Tail at a Time.
Judson & Moore launch our partnership with Foxtrot
Locally distilled premium Rye Whiskey and Bourbon Whiskey spirits brand Judson & Moore, founded in 2018, launched in June and now they’ve inked a new partnership with Foxtrot. The family-run crafted distillery by entrepreneur Judson Bergman; his daughter, Jeuneotte co-designer Elise Bergman; and her husband, distiller, and engineer Collin Moore is located in Chicago’s Rockwell on the River (3057 N. Rockwell St., Bldg. 5) complex. Six Foxtrot Chicago locations: West Loop, Wicker Park, Old Town, East Lake View, Southport and Gold Coast are now carrying the premium 750ml bottles of the distillery’s rye and bourbon whiskey.
Jaleo by José Andrés Paella Fest
Jaleo by José Andrés (500 N Clark Street) will be throwing the ultimate Paella Fest Party on Sunday, October 2, from 2-5pm. A cap-off to its annual, two-week celebration of paella and a celebration of their 1 year in Chicago, the event will be ticketed for $75 (children under 5 may attend free of charge), which includes three hours of food (tapas, paella), drinks (beer, wine and sangria), and live entertainment. You can keep the party going at Pigtail for the After Party from 5pm – 8pm.
Chicago Chefs Cook For Puerto Rico
We were not able to share with you details the Chicago Chefs Cook for Tigray that took place September 21 but we would like to see you sport another upcoming Chicago Chefs Cooks initiative on September 28. You may have seen the devastation that was the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona, and the humanitarian crisis still ongoing. Under the leadership of Chef Tony Priolo, Chef Sarah Stegner, Darren Gest, and Eda Davidman—in conjunction with Jodi Fyfe of The Paramount Group, Billy and Veronica Ocasio of the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, and Yvonne Cadiz-Kim—the Chicago Chefs Cook organization invites you to attend a chef-curated tasting event to be held on September 28th from 6 to 9 PM at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (3015 W Division Street Chicago). The Chicago chef community is once again coming together to raise money for those affected. Proceeds will be donated to World Central Kitchen, who is on the frontlines in Puerto Rico providing warm meals to those devastated by the hurricane. Get details and tickets here.
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pronounced: Boh-la-jee, like the Bellagio but w/o the O. SLC Editorial Director, loves to write about topics at the intersection of career and lifestyle for today's young professional and future leaders.