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DINING (Re)openings, Italian culinary cruise, St. Patrick's items
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-03-05

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—Argentine gelato producer FRIO Gelato will open a new location at Navy Pier later this spring. This will mark the company's fourth location in the Chicagoland area. Flavors include dulce de leche ( milk caramel ), tramontana ( vanilla streaked with milk caramel and chocolate chips ) and sambayon ( egg custard with marsala wine ).

—LM Restaurant Group ( LMRG ) announced that its newest restaurant concept, Grant Park Bistro, will open on the ground floor of the Hotel Essex—formerly known as the Essex Inn—this spring. Grant Park Bistro will be a modern French grill focusing on contemporary versions of traditional French dishes. LMRG previously operated Brasserie by LM in the Essex Inn from March 2012 to March 2016.

—On Friday, March 8, Sweetwater Tavern and Grille, 225 N. Michigan Ave., reopens its doors following a three-month overhaul of the space. The Michigan Avenue dining destination celebrates its 10th year with the renovation, and the modern American restaurant also reopens with a refreshed menu, with new dishes including chicken nachos, Nashville hot-chicken wrap, peppercorn-crusted tuna, and cauliflower steak.

—Veggie Grill is opening in Chicago's River North neighborhood at 629 N. Wells St. on Tuesday, March 12. River North will be the chain's 33rd location, and the third and largest location in Chicago at 2,956 square feet ( seating up to 60 guests ). It will be open Mondays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

—Principals Rick Wahlstedt and Joe King of Le Colonial are welcoming guests to their relocated Vietnamese restaurant, now at 57 E. Oak St. Its new home reveals an updated menu by Executive Chef/Partner Quoc Luong; interiors by award-winning architect Mark Knauer; and hospitality guided by Director of Operations/Wine Director Valerie Cao and the restaurant's first and only maitre d'/partner, Rafael Lopez. See http://www.lecolonialchicago.com/.

—YouTube sensation Adrian De Berardinis ( aka The Bear Naked Chef ), rugby star Ben Cohen and celebrity chef Art Smith will be part of a special foodie vacation to the Roman countryside May 19-25. Highlights include a private castle tour in Sabina and tours of Rome. The vacation ( without airfare ) starts at $3,400/person ( double occupancy ). Visit http://artsmithitalymay19.pagedemo.co/.

—Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya, in Lincoln Park and Wicker Park, will offer a $1 sake bomb special with any ramen purchase for the week leading up to St. Patrick's Day. Guests can also upgrade to kale noodles for free with their ramen purchase ( normally $1.50 ).

—Drawl, 2423 N. Clark St., is celebrating St. Patrick's Day with an Irish spin on its Whiskey 101 night on Thursday, March 14, 7-9 p.m. Glendolough will be sampling drams along with a special cocktail from the Drawl team featuring pear and spice.

—Chicago q, 1160 N. Dearborn St., is hosting a five-course St. Patrick's dinner with whiskey pairings on Friday, March 15, at 7 p.m. The event is priced at $135/person ( tax and gratuity included ). https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chicago-q-st-patricks-day-whiskey-dinner-tickets-56652267457.

—On Saturday, March 16, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Morton's The Steakhouse will celebrate St. Patrick's Day at its 65 E. Wacker Dr. location. There will be specials on items such as shepherd's pie, Guinness beef stew, fish and chips, and others; also, bar bites like prime mini-cheeseburgers, mini-crab cake BLTs and others will be $10. ( There will also be drink specials. )

—On March 16-17, SafeHouse Chicago, 60 E. Ontario St., will have shamrock-colored beer and other menu specials for St. Patrick's Day. Specials include $7 Irish Sours, Irish Car Bombs or the Leprechaun ( Jameson Black with tonic water and lemon ). Guests can also get a taste of corned-beef hash with the weekend's sandwich special: The Raven—housemade corned beef on marble rye with melted Swiss, sauerkraut, and top secret dressing.

—LH Rooftop ( 85 E. Upper Wacker Dr., 21st floor ) will host two St. Patrick's Day events this year. Brunch in Etoile is $45/person and provides an Irish brunch buffet at 8 a.m.-3 p.m. for enjoyment during the river dyeing; reservations can be made by emailing rsvp@londonhouse.com or calling 312-253-2317. Also, there will be rooftop St. Patrick's Day celebration ( 8 a.m.-noon ) on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd floors; visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/river-dyeing-party-at-londonhouse-chicago-tickets-54439821973.

—On March 16-17, St. Patrick's Day parade partygoers can fuel up at Hubbard Inn, 110 W. Hubbard St., with a breakfast buffet and premium open bar from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 16. On Sunday, March 17, Hubbard Inn will host a $20 St. Patrick's Day bottomless brunch featuring a choice of mimosas, Bloody Marys or Guinness with the purchase of a brunch entree ( 90-minute limit on bottomless drinks ). Tickets start at $70 and can be purchased by visiting https://www.eventbrite.com/e/st-pattys-day-hubbard-inn-tickets-54677163869.

—Jake Melnick's Corner Tap, 41 E. Superior St., will have St. Patrick's specials on Saturday, March 16. They include $5 for Green Old Style, $6 for Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale, $7 for Jameson and $8 for Irish Mules with Jameson + 'Q' Ginger Beer.

—Frontier, 1072 N. Milwaukee Ave., is hosting a St. Patrick's Day brunch on March 17 at 10 a.m.-3 p.m., with drink specials. Frontier will serve $30 mimosa buckets, $30 IPA beer buckets and build-you-own Ketel One Spritz cocktails starting at $8. Large parties should contact jen@pioneertaverngroup.com for reservations.

—Lottie's Pub, 1925 W. Cortland Ave., will celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a variety of events on Saturday, March 16, beginning at 9 a.m. Festivities will begin with its annual St. Patrick's Day Brunch Buffet. The $30 ticket includes all-you-can-eat eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits & gravy, hash browns, tater tots and chicken tenders, plus green beer and mimosas at 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Tickets are available at LottiesPub.com .

—Easy Bar, 1944 W. Division St., will open at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 17, when guests can refuel with a happy hour at 3-5:30 p.m. featuring $5 glasses of rosé and $5 Moscow Mules. Specials available all evening include $2 Miller High Life bottles and $5 shots of Jameson Caskmates IPA edition.

—The VIG Chicago, 1527 N. Wells St., will mark St. Patrick's Day on Saturday, March 16, 8 a.m-12 p.m. Tickets start at $30 each, and will include six top-shelf drink vouchers ( honored until noon ), entry with no line until 11 a.m., passed appetizers with brunch and Irish favorites, and more. See http://www.thevigchicago.com/st-patricks-day.

—On Wed., March 20, I|O Godfrey's all-seasons rooftop will open two hours early at noon to celebrate International Day of Happiness with an all-day happy hour event. The happy hour celebrates the happiest day of the year with deals on food and beverage throughout the day, including discounts on items such as wines, cocktails and food items such as I|O Godfrey's truffle fries, sushi, tacos and more. A portion of proceeds from the day's sales will benefit Action for Happiness, the founding organization of International Day of Happiness.

—The 11th Annual Baconfest Chicago returns April 5-6 at the UIC Dorin Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd., with new restaurants and returning favorites over three sessions. New restaurants include 90 Miles Cuban Cafe, Copper Fox Gastropub, About Last Knife, Taureaux Tavern, NoMI, Vinci and Flight Club, among many others. Admission is $60-$160 each; visit https://baconfestchicago.com/.

—Taste of Iceland is returning to Chicago this spring with a new roster of cultural programming taking place across the city on April 11-14. In its fourth consecutive year, the four-day festival hosted by Iceland Naturally gives Chicagoans an opportunity to experience Iceland's rich culture firsthand through the country's food, spirits, music, literature, film and more. See https://icelandnaturally.com/article/taste-iceland-chicago-2019/.

—The second I Heart Halal event will take place at Navy Pier, Festival Halls A & B, 600 E. Grand Ave., on April 12-14. The event will feature an expanded food court that will showcase restaurants throughout the city—plus restaurants at Navy Pier ( including Frankie's Pizza by the Slice, Big Bowl and Big City Chicken ) will be serving up halal-prepared foods throughout the weekend. Visit IHeartHalal.com .

—Windy City Smokeout will be held July 12-14 at a new location right outside of Chicago's United Center. Hosted by Bub City and Joe's Bar, the event is the first official outdoor music festival to take place at the West Loop arena's 250,000 square-foot parking lot along Madison Street. Some of the country acts slated to perform are Old Dominion, Jessie James Decker, Parker McCollum, LANCO and Muscadine Bloodline.

—Tapas Valencia, 1530 S. State St., feature flamenco dancers and a Spanish guitarist every Saturday at 7-10 p.m. Culinary items include black-bean soup with chorizo; remolacha ( gold and red beets with lamb's ear lettuce, asparagus and avocado with a honey cumin mustard vinaigrette, topped with soft goat cheese ); tapas such as queso con pacanas, patatas con aioli and pollo a limon; and much more. Visit TapasValencia.com .

—To celebrate Women's History Month, Virgin Hotels Chicago gets into the spirit ( literally! ) of the March holiday honoring women's contributions to history and society with four female-focused cocktail-fueled parties. Starting March 5 and continuing on March 12, 19 and 26, the festivities begin in the Commons Club at 6 p.m. with one of the four CAS-chosen guest bartenders shaking up her drink inspired by an influential woman in history and featuring Moet Hennessy spirits. Virgin has partnered with Causing a Stir ( a Chicago-based non-profit created by two local female bartenders with a vision to increase diversity, leadership and mentorship in the hospitality industry ) and Babes Only, an organization of female Chicago creatives.

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


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