As the Chicago editor for UrbanDaddy, I wrote feature articles about restaurant openings and weekly happenings in the Chicago nightlife and dining scene.
Close your eyes. You're on a ship. Breathing in the salty air. Feeling the ocean breeze on your earlobes. Open your eyes. You're in Old Town. There is no ocean. But Two Lights Seafood & Oyster will make you feel like there is.
Summer is here. Officially, truly here. Which means, among other things, that there are more hours in the day to get in your vehicle and venture to parts unknown. To feel the wind in your hair. To explore towns filled with fudge. To stay in a hotel on a glassy lake.
As if you need another place in this town to go drink outside. As if you need another rooftop boîte serving ornate cocktails and lavish small plates. Actually, maybe you do. Right, no. You totally do. And considering the fact that Z Bar is now open on the terrace of the iconic Peninsula Hotel, this is shaping up to be a pretty serendipitous Monday.
Food halls. So many food halls. So many glorious, elegant, chef-filled food halls. No offense to Sbarro or anything. And speaking of, here comes the latest one called Wells St. Market. It's full of magical things to eat and drink and it opens for lunch and dinner on Wednesday in the Loop.
Fact: Sometimes, you just want breakfast at 8pm. Opinion: From now on, there's only one place you need concern yourself with when it comes to such matters. We speak of Uptown's new 3 Squares Diner, coming to you from the chef-owners of Logan Square's brunch haven, Jam. It's open now.
You can't have an Ēma without an Aba. It's a biological fact. It's also a fact that the new restaurant and rooftop patio from Lettuce Entertain You (indeed, of Ēma fame) is the most handsome place you'll ever eat shawarma in. It's now open for dinner in Fulton Market and you should definitely take a look around.
Tents. Sleeping under the stars. Ghost stories. Gold leaf s'mores. Champagne cocktails. Two massive bathrooms with showers. You know, camping. At least that's how the Gwen does camping with their Urban Glamping Experience. Yes, it's a tent on a fancy outdoor terrace. Yes, that tent is magnificent.
Oh, Wrigleyville. You're really growing up on us. No longer are your leisurely pursuits relegated to bar-hopping and eating upsetting pizza. No. Because now you have Dutch & Doc's. It's Boka Restaurant Group's latest addition to their lineup of popular Chicago establishments.
Ah, Memorial Day weekend. The unofficial start of summer. A time when Chicagoans peep their heads out of their homes, curiously look around and wonder if the deep, dark, unremitting months of winter are over. And sure, there's plenty of rooftop quaffing, beach bumming and leisurely brunching to be done right here in town.
One hundred tap lines, unconventional brew recipes (think beets and chocolate), and Habanero Sculpin IPA Bratwurst. Welcome to Ballast Point Tasting Room and Kitchen, the eighth installation in the West Coast-based craft brewery and first in our humble burg. It's in the West Loop. Take a look around.
Welcome to Moxy Hotel, where tacos are served 24/7, voyeurism is occasionally encouraged and you're blessed with a gratis cocktail upon check-in. Basically... good hotel. It's open now on LaSalle, and you're going to want to check it out immediately. The giant, buzzing lobby/bar dubbed the Living Room is the social hub of the place.
You've had Korean food. You've had Italian food. You've... probably figured out where this is headed. But if not, it's directly to an Andersonville wonderland that dares to tempt you and your date with a menu full of Italian-inspired Korean-ness.
We just wanted to quickly congratulate you on all the Detroit-style pizza you're about to eat on a BYOB, dog-friendly patio. Oh, you didn't know you were about to do that? You are. At Longacre, a new Uptown restaurant from the Kā'lish owners filled with delicious things from their upbringings in Michigan and Mexico City.
Ah, the 4th. A day to drink beer. A day to watch colorful explosions in the sky. A day to eat copious amounts of encased meats. For the purposes of this discourse, we'll assume you have the first two covered. As for the last: enter Duck Inn Dogs.
New Orleans. Wicker Park. Same thing, really. Once you've stepped inside of Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods, that is. It's a New Orleans-inspired bar and restaurant in the former Beachwood Inn space, it's now open for dinner and you're going to want to get in there immediately.
The British are coming... ... to the Loop. ... with darts. It's okay, though. They only want you to hurl sharp objects at circles while drinking mezcal and eating short rib. Indeed, London-based Flight Club is now open next to its sister bar and leisure haven, AceBounce. Take a look around.