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Esmé “Spring For Good” Collab Dinner + More Chicago Dining News

Esmé “Spring For Good” Collab Dinner + More Chicago Dining News

Chicago Dining News Bites features news on Chicago’s exciting dining scene. Got a tip or newsworthy item?  Click here or email us: and let us know.


Esmé To Host “Spring For Good” Collab Dinner with Award-Winning Chef Erick Williams

Photo via Instagram/@jenneromaska

James Beard Award Finalist Chef Jenner Tomaska and James Beard Award-Winning Chef Erick Williams are set to host a collaborative Seven-Course Dinner With esteemed Chicago Chefs to benefit Embarc. Join Esmé for a seven-course, one-night event as they cook alongside chef colleagues for a great cause. Hosted by Chef Jenner Tomaska and Chef Erick Williams, this will be a night to remember. A portion of proceeds from the event will go back to Embarc Chicago, an organization dedicated to breaking down barriers in Chicago’s education system to create a more just, equitable, and anti-racist society. Providing schools, communities, and young people with the tools they need to transform how schools integrate social-emotional development and experiential learning. In addition to Chef Tomaska and Chef Williams, participating chefs include Chef Zach Engel of MICHELIN-starred Galit, Chef Christian Hunter of MICHELIN-starred Atelier, James Beard Award-Winning Chef Sarah Grueneberg of MICHELLIN-starred Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio and Chef Jason Hammel from Lula Cafe, a 2024 James Beard Finalist for Outstanding Hospitality. Each participating chef will curate a special course for the evening. A selection of beverages will be available for purchase as well. Following the dinner, a check will be presented to Embarc from the proceeds raised. Tickets ($285.00 per/person)   are available on Tock.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Limited Strawberry Shortcake Parfait

Photo credit: Jeni’s Splendid

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is kicking off summer and strawberry season with a new LTO offering – Strawberry Shortcake Parfait – available across Chicago from May 9th through June 5th (excluding 900 W. Armitage Avenue location that is temporarily closed).

Bringing Jeni’s beloved annual hometown celebration, Strawberry Jam – a Columbus event celebrating the arrival of the juicy red fruit and Jeni’s Strawberry Buttermilk ice cream – to life in scoop shops across the country! A summer favorite, the Strawberry Buttermilk flavor is made annually, with Jeni’s sourcing thousands of pounds of fresh local strawberries each week, folding the juicy, fragrant, and with a tart edge berries into fresh cultured buttermilk bursting with fresh berry flavor!

The limited edition parfait is jam-packed with summery sweetness, featuring a delightful mix of Strawberry Buttermilk and Gooey Butter Cake ice creams, generously drizzled with strawberry sauce and whipped cream. The Jeni’s Strawberry Shortcake Parfait will only be around for less than a month!

Bob Benenson and Chef Sarah Stegner To Co-Host Local Food Forum

Photo credit: Praire Grass Cafe

Bob Benenson of the Local Food Forum publication and Chef Sarah Stegner of Prairie Grass Cafe have partnered on a bi-weekly series presenting conversations that tackle pertinent issues facing the food community and all of its constituents nationwide. Each session brings together notable leaders to discuss and educate listeners on current issues. Food Education and Its Impact: How Schools Inspire and Feed Our Youngest Eaters webinar takes place on Zoom, 7 PM CST, Monday, May 13. Registration is open to the public and the webinar is free to attend. The webinar is presented by Local Food Forum’s “Better” Dialogues. The webcast launched April 15, 2024.

Register for free here. Registrants will receive a Zoom link to enter the webinar prior to May 13.


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Anelya Launches New Happy Hour

Photo credit: courtesy

Chefs Johnny Clark and Beverly Kim just launched a brand-new Happy Hour Tuesday through Friday from 5-6 p.m at their Avondale restaurant Anelya. Chef Clark is offering a ‘Ukrainian Handshake’ with an Obolon Lager and a housemade Piana Vyshnya paired with Freph Erishky (Ukrainian bun) stuffed with cabbage, sauerkraut and tomato all for $15.  To make reservations, call 312.929.3448.

Omakase Shoji Now Open

Photo credit: @Omikaseshoji

Takashi Iida and Shoji Takahashi, with a rich background steeped in Japanese culinary tradition, bring their unparalleled expertise to the heart of Chicago’s West Town neighborhood with the grand opening of Omakase Shoji (1641 W. Chicago Avenue). The concept is a collaborative effort led by the guidance of Takashi Iida, with the execution overseen by Executive Chef Shoji Takahashi, who is a protégé of Takashi. Together, they will deliver an authentic Japanese dining experience. Omakase Shoji marks Takashi Iida’s last grand endeavor, as he sets his sights on captivating American palates with an authentic omakase experience in partnership with Shoji, who will helm day-to-day operations. Drawing inspiration from traditional Japanese culinary practices, Takashi aims to introduce diners to the exquisite flavors and meticulous craftsmanship synonymous with omakase dining. Omakase Shoji promises an unforgettable dining experience characterized by the highest standards of quality, authenticity, and an unparalleled attention to detail. The omakase room experience will last 2 hours with hours of operation being Tuesday to Thursday from 5PM-11PM, Friday to Saturday from 4PM-12AM, and Sunday 4PM-10PM. The Sake Bar will be open Tuesday to Thursday from 5PM-12AM, Friday to Saturday from 4PM-1AM, and Sunday from 4PM-11PM. Guests can now book their reservation online here beginning April 19th. 

Laurel at Talbott Hotel Now Open

Photo credit: Talbott Hotel


The Talbott Hotel announced the opening of Laurel, a completely reimagined space on the first floor of the iconic hotel with a 100-seat patio. Led by Executive Chef Dino Tsaknis, Laurel’s menu showcases a vibrant fusion of local, highly seasonal ingredients from the diverse region of the Mediterranean. Drawing from over 25 years of culinary expertise and a dynamic career spanning prestigious establishments such as Le Bernardin, Restaurant Daniel, David Burke’s Primehouse and The Gage Hospitality Group, Chef Tsaknis brings a wealth of creativity and passion to Laurel’s kitchen. Tsaknis was most recently Executive Chef for The Gage and Acanto.


Ritz-Carlton, Chicago Spring Programming

Photo credit: Ritz Carlton Chicago

The Spring Afternoon Tea service at The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago (160 E Pearson Street 60611) is available through May 12 (2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays). Guests can delight in an array of sweet and savory confections by Executive Pastry Chef Toni Roberts. The indulgent menu will feature tea sandwiches, quiche, scones and a delectable array of pastries including Lavender Lemon Macaron, Blueberry Parfait, Key Lime Tart, Pistachio Financier, and Dark Chocolate Gateau. The experience includes Ritz-Carlton teas, accompanied by the guest’s choice of a glass of champagne or non-alcoholic French Bloom Bubbles.
Locals and hotel guests alike can enjoy live performances by renowned Chicago jazz vocalist Myles Hayes at The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago’s hotel lobby this Spring every Wednesday from 5 – 8:30 p.m.
In celebration of nature, art and storytelling, The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago is partnering with the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and internationally acclaimed Chicago-based artist Nnenna Okore this spring for a city-wide outdoor exhibit that will feature 30 vibrant butterfly sculptures highlighting local artists’ relationships with nature. Flight of Butterflies is an expression of the Nature Museum’s mission to open connections between people and nature through a shared experience where butterflies represent freedom and the natural world. Each sculpture will be created in partnership with a diverse range of local Chicago-based artists.Standing tall at 6 feet with a wingspan of five feet and ten inches, the mesmerizing butterfly sculpture at The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago created by Okore will captivate viewers with its intricate craftsmanship.Standing tall at 6 feet with a wingspan of five feet and ten inches, the mesmerizing butterfly sculpture at The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago created by Okore will captivate viewers with its intricate craftsmanship.

Foxtrot Assets To Be Auctioned May 10 By Creditor JP Morgan Bank

photo credit: NBC Chicago

You are very much well aware of the sudden catastrophic implosion of Foxtrot Market and Dom’s. The shock of its abrupt closure is still being felt with hundreds of workers not given prior notice out of work. There’s still a million questions lingering and leave it to the internet to try and fill in some of the blanks. Even though there may have not been public indication of trouble in Outfox, there was. Robert Dyer has posted information on an upcoming liquidation sale by Outfox’s creditor JP Morgan Chase Bank to be held on May 10 connected by its law firm DLA Piper. The Foxtrot auction will take place virtually and one needs to contact the bank to get access. According to @iiiitsandrea the Foxtrot market assets to be sold includes: inventory, IP, accounts, furniture, fixtures, equipment etc.

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