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DINING '90s event, ramen giveaway, Chinese New Year, Super Bowl specials
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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—Replay Lincoln Park, 2833 N. Sheffield Ave., is hosting "Party Like It's 1996," in collaboration with The Chill Foundation and Burton Snowboards, on Friday, Jan. 25, 6:30-11:30 p.m. Nineties teen heartthrob Aaron Carter is slated to be the special guest. Admission is $45-$75 each; visit

—Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya will open its second Chicago restaurant in Lincoln Park's NEWCITY at 1457 N. Halsted St. ( space A112 ) on Friday, Jan. 25. For the grand opening on Jan. 25, Kizuki will give away 100 FREE bowls of their Tokyo shoyu ramen starting at 11:30 a.m. Additionally, anyone who dines at either Kizuki Chicago location ( the other site being in Wicker Park ) through Thursday, Feb. 28 will be entered for a chance to win a grand prize of airfare for one to Tokyo. See .

—In celebration of Chinese New Year, Mott St announces "Lucky Ten Treasures: Lunar New Year Banquet," featuring 10 dishes centered around a roasted pig head. Some of the items will include Brussels sprouts, steamed dumplings, fried rice, imperial rolls and a seasonal dessert. This feast ( $62.88/guest ) will be available for parties of two or more on Feb. 1-9 ( Tuesdays through Saturdays ). RSVP at

—Veggie Grill will launch the Game Day Party Feast specifically for Super Bowl parties on Sunday, Feb. 3. Offerings will include Mondo Nachos, with corn chips, nacho chickin', queso chorizo sauce, black beans, tomatoes, green onions, mashed avocado and jalapenos; Buffalo Wings; hummus/veggies/flatbread; and VG Beyond Burgers. See .

—Merchant, 3137 W. Logan Blvd., will be offering a variety of large format to-go orders for the Super Bowl regarding wings, Nashvill hot sliders and fries. Aside from the featured offerings, guests can also place a Super Bowl catering order for Merchant's top-selling items before 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1, and receive their items just in time for the game. Catering orders can be placed at

—Football fans can be part of an indoor tailgate with Commonwealth Tavern's "Table-gate Party Package" on Super Bowl Sunday. The $50 ( normally $65 ) spread includes a dozen wings, nachos, cheese curds, soft pretzels and a bucket of Miller Lite and Coors Light bottles. See .

—Parlay at Joy District, 112 W. Hubbard St., will host a "Brunch So Hard" Super Bowl pre-party at 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For $50 per person, guests will have access to a brunch buffet and mimosa bar. Created by Executive Chef Jason Hedin, brunch highlights include a carving station, seafood table and charcuterie, chili and pizza bar, waffle station, egg station, and dessert selections like cake pops, tartlets, brownies and a variety of Rice Krispie treats from Fruity Pebbles to Lucky Charms. Visit

—Pork & Mindy's has new menu offerings in its Chicago locations, including the Pit Bowl—an all-new, vegetable-centric offering at spotss in Bucktown, 1623 N. Milwaukee Ave.; Forum 55, 55 E. Monroe St.; and Wells St. Market, 205 W. Wacker Dr. A Pit Bowl starts with a base of cauliflower rice and shredded romaine, then layers on a colorful medley that includes Carolina slaw, smoked cauliflower and peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, pickled red onions and, for crunch, chopped Pig Candy and candied pecans. Guests can choose their favorite smoked meat and sauce as a final flourish, or they can build their own bowl with available ingredients.

—Bar Cargo, 605 N Wells St., will be open for patrons to watch the Super Bowl. The spot features Roman-style street pizza in a fun and casual environment with Italian-American craft cocktails—with more than 15 flat screen TVs throughout the space. The $40 wristband special includes a drink package with select beer and wine and a sideline spread of signature cargo pizzas and bar bites at 5:30-8:30 p.m. Highlights include giardiniera wings; Hot Hot Hot pizza with pachino tomatoes, chile, garlic, tomato sauce and no cheese; and The Chicago, with Italian sausage, red and green peppers, and tomato sauce. Also, items can be orderred at

—Smoke Daddy, 1804 W. Division St., invites football fans into the restaurant for the Super Bowl at 3-10 p.m. for a free pig roast. Bites and samples will be available at the carving station. The full menu is also available and includes snacks such as smoked jalapeno beer cheese ( $7 ) and smoked BBQ wings ( $9 ). Drink specials include a $7 Super Cluster, $6 Slumpin' Easy, $5 select IPAs and a $7 HopZinger Lagunitas cocktail. Prices are exclusive of tax and gratuity. Reservations are recommended and may be made by calling 773-772-6656.

—Ella Elli, 1349 W. Cornelia Ave., will offer a respite ( no TVs! ) from the Super Bowl with a "Champagne & Oyster Bowl" at 5-11 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3. The special includes "East vs West Coast" oysters ( eight total ) paired "Old World vs New World" bubbles ( eight half-glasses total ) for $40 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Reservations are highly recommended and may be made by calling 773-935-3552 or visiting

—River Roast, 315 N. LaSalle St., will be hosting a special happy-hour cocktail class at Reid Bar on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 5:30 p.m. featuring whiskey cocktails using the restaurant's house-selected private barrels. River Roast is the first on-premise restaurant/bar to feature a private barrel selection of its whiskey in Chicago. Tickets are $35 each; visit

—Frontier, known for serving wild game and whole animals, is hosting its second annual beefsteak dinner with Maker's Mark on Thursday, Feb. 7, with a cocktail reception beginning at 5:15 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. For $95, guests can enjoy a Wagyu Steamship menu featuring lamb chops, ribeye, Wagyu burger sliders, and lamb meatballs served with crispy steakhouse potatoes, romaine salad wraps, salty peanuts and creamed spinach, as well as paired cocktails and pours. In keeping with tradition, diners at the dinner will have to go sans napkins and utensils, but will receive a Maker's Mark branded apron. Tickets can be purchased online at .

—The Trotter Project is partnering with 3 Squares Diner, 1020 W. Lawrence Ave., for a night of cocktails and fundraising on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 5-9 p.m. Tyler Jorstad ( The Trotter Project ) will be the guest bartender for the evening mixing up three different cocktails with Treaty Oak Distillery gins and whiskeys. The Trotter Project's 2017 Washburne Culinary Institute Scholarship Recipient, Esme Lorenzo, will be creating and preparing a complimentary amuse bouche with Ian Voakes, executive chef and owner of 3 Squares Diner & Chef at Jam in Logan Square. This event is open to the public with no cover. See .

—The Lounge at The Robey Hotel, located on the second floor, just launched a brand-new all day menu, with items ranging from buttermilk pancakes to the combo of a grilled-cheese sandwich and tomato soup. Also, it's started a new happy hour: 50 percent off all beverages ( no exceptions ) seven days a week at 4-6 p.m. See .

—The Purple Pig is taking a stand to raise awareness about mental-health issues in the restaurant industry. Launching the Mind, Body, Spirit( free ) program, The Purple Pig will donate $1 to non-profit organization NoStigmas for every mocktail sold during the months of January and May ( Mental Health Awareness Month ). NoStigmas is an organization dedicated to eliminating the stigmas surrounding mental health and providing peer-to-peer support networks built by and for those affected by mental illness.

—The Violet Hour, 1520 N. Damen Ave., has named Jeremy Nelson as the concept's first-ever chef de cuisine in the speakeasy's 11-year history. The Violet Hour's new food menu features, among other things, housemade beef-tendon chicharrones and more filling dishes like shishito tempura with whipped goat cheese and ricotta gnocchi topped with tender veal cheek, sunchoke puree, maitake mushrooms and candied lemon; duck confit spring rolls made with a puree of amaretto, butternut squash and pepitas; and apple brandy-glazed donuts served with Valrhona hot chocolate with chartreuse marshmallows.

—This Valentine's Day ( Feb. 14 ), Fulton Market Kitchen is offering an $85 five-course menu ( limited choices per course ), along with a fixed holiday menu paired with Champagne and sparkling wine for $125. options include oyster shooters or fried potato bites, baby arugula and frisee salad or black pepper prawns, lobster tortellini or curried cauliflower, seared tuna, filet or fennel gratin, and chocolate hazelnut cake or blueberry cheesecake. Reservations can be made at

—In addition its menu of Pan-Asian dishes, TAO, 632 N. Dearborn St., will feature its signature fortune cookie dressed up for Valentine's Day with brushed chocolate and sprinkled with mini hearts, served with holiday-inspired fortunes. Also, guests are also able to customize fortunes with personal love notes for the special occasion by requesting in advance with a reservation. Reservations are recommended and can be made at or 224-888-0388.

—At Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods, 1415 N. Wood St., Chef Brian Jupiter is preparing a $45 three-course New Orleans seafood dinner for guests to enjoy this Valentine's Day, alongside a $20 optional wine pairing. Dinner options include crab and avocado salad or blackened chicken thighs, shrimp gnocchi or catfish Acadiana, and chocolate beignets with Champagne anglaise and candied pecans for dessert. Reservations:

—Fast-casual brand Portillo's has announced the continuation of its partnership with the American Red Cross on the charitable program, Cakes for a Cause. Coinciding with Valentine's Day, Portillo's will offer a heart-shaped chocolate cake ( $15.99 ), a limited-time menu item with a holiday spin on the brand's iconic famous chocolate cake. A portion of proceeds from the sale of heart-shaped cakes, up to $25,000, will be donated to the relief organization. The single-layer cakes will be available in restaurants Feb. 8-17. Guests are encouraged to pre-order now at or 866-YUM-BEEF.

—VU Rooftop Bar—located 22 stories above McCormick Place at 133 E. Cermak Ave.—will host Me + VU, an interactive Valentine's Day mixer, on Thursday, Feb. 14, 5:30-8:30 p.m. In addition, patrons will enjoy specialty themed cocktails, live beats from The DJ Firm, a special appearance from Cupid and more. Tickets to Me + VU are $35 per person, and include entry to the mixer, two specialty cocktails and passed bites; visit .

—Tied House, 3157 N. Southport Ave., has launched a more casual menu that's available only at the bar. Some of the items include falafel with yogurt dip and red beeet; beef chicharron with malt vinegar and salt; and crispy Okinawa potato with sunchoke and miso buttermilk. See

—Smoke Daddy, 3636 N. Clark St., has launched a happy hour in January and February on Monday to Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. The menu features $4 draft beers and $4 Titos cocktails. Additionally, new snacks will be available, such as a slider trio consisting of brisket meatball, smoked pork-belly and fried-chicken sliders ( $6 ); a smoked sausage platter with smoked Italian sausage, smoked andouille hot link, aged cheddar, smoked provolone, cherry peppers, pickles and sSaltines ( $9 ); and smoked S'mores bites with graham-cracker cups, chocolate ganache and toasted marshmallow ( three for $5 ).

—urbanbelly and Chef Bill Kim will bring back their event, Ramenfest, 12-3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 1400 W. Randolph St. This year's participants include chefs from restaurants such as Oriole, Smyth + The Loyalist, Somerset, Aba, Monteverde, Lula Cafe, Honey Butter Fried Chicken and more. Tickets are $75-$125 each; visit

—Roanoke Restaurant, 135 W. Madison St., will host a "Brides & Bubbles" Soiree on Sunday, Feb. 24, 12-3 p.m. The first 50 brides to register will be entered in a drawing to win $1,000 toward a Friday or Saturday wedding at Roanoke. Call 312-882-8246 or email .

Send items to, or follow on Twitter @Azygous60610 or on Instagram at azygous333.

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