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Dining news: South Water closing, "Worms in Dirt," Berkshire Room
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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—After dinner service on Thursday, Dec. 14, South Water Kitchen ( 225 N. Wabash Ave. ) will close its doors for good—but not before draining its liquor cabinets, clearing off their shelves and turning up the music. On Saturday, Dec. 9, the Loop restaurant will host a Drink Us Dry! party at 5 p.m. until closing to celebrate the guests and employees who have contributed to South Water Kitchen's 15 years. ( It was originally scheduled for Dec. 2. ) The party will feature heavily discounted wines by the glass and bottle—including rare bottles normally not offered by the glass, heavily discounted rare spirits, discounted beer as well as a "kick the keg" with $5 drafts after 10 p.m. and complimentary bites of Chef Roger Waysok's greatest culinary hits.

—Up & Up ( on the 13th floor of The Robey, 2018 W. North Ave. ) has teamed with Dylan's Candy Bar for the Worms in Dirt cocktail. This concoction contains housemade Irish cream, Hangar One Vodka, Cynar, milk and Oreos, and is topped with a gummy worm. See .

—The Berkshire Room ( inside the ACME Hotel at 15 E. Ohio St. ) has debuted its winter cocktails. They include Cognac Should be Sexy ( cognac, rye, lemon and Rooibos Grenadine ), Beet Box ( Aquavit, amaro, beet cordial, lemon and absinthe ) and Black Tie Affair ( Absolute Eryx, Dolin Blanc and Cuttlefish Ink Old Tom Gin ), among others. See .

—Chef Debbie Gold is returning to Chicago to take on the kitchen( s ) at Schubas Tavern, Lincoln Hall and the forthcoming Tied House. She is a 1999 James Beard Award ( JBA ) winner, a four-time JBA nominee and a returning Top Chef Masters competitor.

—Naperville's Hotel Arista, 2139 City Gate Ln., will have holiday afternoon tea starting Thursday, Dec. 7. Tea service ( 1-4 p.m. ) will take place every Thursday through Saturday until Dec. 23; the tea package is available for adults ( $26 ) and children aged 4-12 ( $18 ). See .

—Imperial Lamian, 8 W. Hubbard St., has new mocktails. Items include Chinese Orange Mystery ( a blend of fresh juices, orgeat and vanilla bark bitters ), Imperial Dragon ( pineapple, Szechuan syrup, Thai chili and soda ) and the Sober Mule ( cucumber, ginger, lime Szechuan peppercorn and ginger beer )., among others.

—Honey Butter Fried Chicken's, 3361 N. Elston Ave., Fried Chicken Fried Rice takeout night is back again, on Monday, Dec. 11. The restaurant, normally closed on Mondays, is serving fried chicken-fried rice with fried chicken, country ham, peas, pickled red onions, miso, and rice-cracker crunch alongside Camchi kimchi egg rolls with sesame chili sauce and a housemade fortune cookie—all for $16.95. See .

—TWO's initial Restaurant Royale collaboration with Terlato Wines will take place Wed., Dec. 13, at the Ivy Room, 12 E. Ohio St., 5:30-11:30 p.m. This kitchen-vs.-kitchen and bar-vs.-bar culinary competition will include holiday-themed dishes and cocktails by 10 Chicago chefs and bartenders. Tickets for the event are $120 each; visit

—Now on the second floor of The Robey Chicago, 2018 W. North Ave., is The Lounge, described as "a new hip spot for bites, sips, live music performances and other creative pop-ups." The Lounge recently launched a full menu under the direction of The Robey Executive Chef Kevin McAllister; items include pain au chocolat, cranberry scones, banana-nut muffins, beet-and-farro salad, a turkey-and-cucumber sandwich on dark rye bread with yogurt dill sauces and chips, and a grilled cheese paired with tomato soup, among other items.

—RockSugar Southeast Asian Kitchen has opened in Oak Brook. Located adjacent to Oakbrook Center, the upscale-casual destination from Singapore-raised, New York-trained Executive Chef Mohan Ismail ( Spice Market, Tabla, Blue Hill ), serves Southeast Asian cuisine, showcasing dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. See .

—Skokie restaurant Libertad is celebrating fall with new seasonal additions to its dinner, dessert, cocktail and brunch menus. Libertad features Latin American flavors in dishes designed for sharing. See .

—Mexican restaurant Mi Tocaya Antojeria, 2800 W. Logan Blvd., is hosting a series of mezcal dinners this winter, starting Thursday, Dec. 14 ( at 6 and 8 p.m. ), in conjunction with Mezcal Union, a mezcal producer from the Oaxaca region of Mexico. For $95 per person ( inclusive of tax and gratuity ), diners can indulge in a four-course meal. Visit

—Chicago French Market's Jinglefest will take place Saturday, Dec. 16, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. There will be holiday-cookie decorating ( courtesy of Vanille Patisserie ), a Santa styling station, and gifts/dishes form more than 30 vendors, among other highlights. See .

—Cafe Spiaggia, 980 N. Michigan Ave., will host its Feast of the Seven Fishes on Thursday, Dec. 21, at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. Chef Tony Mantuano and Executive Chef Joe Flamm will bring their Italian grandmothers' tradition to the table with a six-course sharable feast that will include steelhead tartar, fluke crudo and Italian Christmas cookies, among other items. Tickets can be purchased for $75 per person, with wine pairings available for an additional $25; visit

—Gene & Georgetti Rosemont, 9421 W. Higgins Rd., is offering holiday specials ( on items ranging from bacon-wrapped scallops to bone-in osso buco ) available Thursday, Dec. 21 through Christmas Eve, Sunday, Dec. 24; and Thursday, Dec. 28 through New Year's Eve, Sunday, Dec. 31. In addition, Gene & Georgetti will pour up festive holiday cocktails available until Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. See .

—ROOF on theWit, 201 N State St., is hosting a Monte Carlo-inspired New Year's Eve Bash from 9:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 31. Those who purchase tickets—which range from $150 to $3,000—will have access to gaming tables, an open bar and entertainment from Chicago DJ Flipside. See .

—Geja's Cafe, 340 W. Armitage Ave., will offer New Year's Eve guests fondue and champagne along with classical/flamenco guitar music. Geja's will feature three special reserved seatings on Sunday, Dec. 31, at 5, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Seatings will be $95-$130 each; visit .

—Real Urban Barbecue is preparing the full spread with a carryout menu available at any of its four locations in downtown Highland Park ( 610 Central Ave #177 ), Vernon Hills ( 1260 S. Milwaukee Ave ), Oak Brook ( 2119 Clearwater Drive ) and Skokie ( 5238 W. Touhy Ave ). Selections include sliced smoked ham, slow-smoked prime rib, char-crusted beef tenderloin, whole hickory-smoked Amish turkey and appetizers ( e.g,. mini-potato pancakes ). Orders must be placed at least 48 hours in advance of pick up; call 847-947-6474.

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