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Dining news: Thompson Chicago, Tru closing, Lakeview Taco Fest
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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—Thompson Chicago, 21 E. Bellevue Pl., now has Bill Montagne as chef de cuisine of the luxury lifestyle hotel. In this role, Montagne leads the culinary team at Thompson Chicago and onsite restaurant Nico Osteria, a seafood-inspired Italian concept helmed by One Off Hospitality Group and James Beard-lauded Chef Paul Kahan. New dishes include octopus carpaccio, hand-dipped sheep's-milk ricotta, albacore tuna confit and white Negroni poached halibut, among other items. There is also a "Meet & Eat with Chef Montagne" package that provides a front-row seat to Nico Osteria's kitchen and a personal introduction to Chef Montagne; call call 312-266-2100.

—In support of Hurricane Harvey and the recent devastation in Houston, Waydown—the rooftop bar and lounge at the recently opened Ace Hotel Chicago, 311 N. Morgan St.—is donating $1 to the Greater Houston Community Foundation's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund for every Margarita Verde ( $12 ) purchased. The offer will run through September. To learn more about the organization and its relief efforts, visit

—Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises ( LEYE ) has announced the closure of one of its two Michelin-starred restaurants. Tru, according to Eater Chicago. The spot, just east of the Magnificent Mile, will close after service on Oct. 7, according to a statement from Lettuce Entertain You reps. LEYE is planning to open a new concept in the space at 676 N. Saint Clair St. in Streeterville at a later date.

—Also, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises has announced Booth One, 1301 N. State Pkwy., a classic Chicago restaurant being reintroduced in the heart of the Gold Coast neighborhood from founder Rich Melman. Drawing inspiration from the legendary restaurant at the former Ambassador East Hotel, Booth One will be a modern American restaurant with an all-day dining scene. It's slated to open in late fall; see .

—Small Cheval, one of the city's top-rated burger spots, is planning to come to Old Town at 1345 N. Wells St., reported. The restaurant has applied for a liquor license, according to city records. It's an extension of Au Cheval, the slightly more upscale burger bar from restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff's Hogsalt group at 800 W. Randolph St.

—Wrigley BBQ, 3555 N. Broadway, is inviting customers to put their hunger to the ultimate test, announcing The Sam & Erna Slammer. This food contest challenges BBQ fans to chow down on three signature Wrigley BBQ Sam & Erna Sandwiches, a full basket of fries and a side order of mac & cheese—within 30 minutes. Prizes include: 1 ) a free meal; 2 ) a $50 gift certificate to Wrigley BBQ; 3 ) an official Wrigley BBQ T-shirt and hat; and 4 ) a picture on the Wall of Fame.

—Sam Adams' Lakeview Taco Fest returns for its fifth year on Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 16-17. The event will take place on Southport Avenue between Addison ( 3600 N ) and Roscoe ( 3400 N ) in the heart of the Southport Corridor; hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. both days. There will also be a kids' activity area ( art, inflatables and more ), arts & crafts, and visitors will be able to text vote for Chicago's "Best Taco." D.S. Tequila Company, Frontier, New England Seafood Company, Tacos Nietos and Beat Kitchen are a few of the restaurants that will participate.

—Chef Brian Enyart of Dos Urban Cantina, 2829 W. Armitage Ave., and Chef Daniel Espinoza ( Lobo Rey, Dinner Lab, Mexique, Zagat's 30 Under 30 ) conclude the "Summer of Mole" collaborative chef series and celebrate Mexico's Independence Day on Sept. 16. All summer, Enyart and chefs from across Chicago have teamed to create unique dishes using the seven traditional moles of the Oaxaca region of Mexico. The Logan Square Mole ( available Sept. 13-17: $14 ) features stuffed cabbage with ground beef, prepared similarly to a classic picadillo with dates, almonds, guero chile, caramelized onions and garlic.

—Revival Social Club, 1133 W. Granville Ave., will be serving German brunch specials Sept. 16-17, including the Oktoberfest Bloody Mary: a housemade mix with vodka and German-inspired flavors, garnished with a warm Bavarian pretzel, sausages and cheese, and with a Two Brothers Oktoberfest chaser. See .

—Italian Village Restaurants, 71 W. Monroe St., hosted its 20th annual Ferrari Fest on Sept. 10 to mark the eatery's 90th anniversary—but it's also offering specials throughout September. They include $19.27 bottles of Bell'agio Chianti on Sept. 18-24; a $12.90 lunch menu that's available weekdays; and 90-cent Alfredo's signature meatballs. See

—Luke's Lobster opening its second location Sept. 19 in the Merchandise Mart. Among other things, the first 50 guests on Sept. 19 will receive a free lobster roll. Also, Luke's will preview its National Lobster Day special menu item—the Lobstah, Lobstah, Lobstah—which will be available nationally for one day only on Sept. 25. See .

—The Patio at Cafe Brauer ( at the Lincoln Park Zoo ) will be serving special menu items Sept. 22-Oct. 20 to mark Oktoberfest. Items include beer-braised bratwurst with grilled onions and mustard ( $11.95 ); pork-schnitzel sandwich on a pretzel bun ( $14.95 ); and roasted pork and braised cabbage with boiled potato ( $15.95 ). Also, Baderbrau Oktoberfest and Hofbrau Oktoberfest are among the draft beers.

—Evanston's NaKorn urban Thai restaurant, 1622 Orrington Ave., will mark its one-year anniversary celebration with the debut of new fall and winter menu items such as roasted duck breast, crispy-skin wild Atlantic salmon, and charred eggplant and tomato. NaKorn's one-year anniversary will be celebrated for a full week, on Sept. 24-30. Extra special for the kids during NaKorn's lunch shift on Saturday, Sept. 30, will be boat races at 11:30 a.m. that feature Thai "pok pak" boats. See .

—Weber Grill Restaurant, 539 N. State St., will celebrate its anniversary throughout September. Now through Saturday, Sept. 30, guests can enjoy a chef-inspired anniversary burger paired with a Weber Backyard Brew ( a Goose Island wheat ale ) draft beer for $15. The burger—created by Executive Chef Jason Friedland of Weber Grill Restaurant's Chicago location—has a certified Angus beef patty, hickory-smoked beef brisket, Merkt's cheddar cheese, bread-and-butter pickles, and brisket mustard aioli.

—French spot Bistronomic, 840 N. Wabash Ave., will offer a special menu for Rosh Hashanah staring Wed.-Friday, Sept. 20-22. Some of the items will include cured Faroe Island salmon with radishes, country mustard and leek potato salad; prime beef shortribs with Nichols farm eggplant caviar, ratatouille, nicoise olives and preserved lemon; and Bistronomic apple crepes, among others. The three-course, prix fixe menu will be offered for dinner from 5 to 10:30 p.m. for $39 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. See .

—Wheeling restaurant Tuscany, 550 S. Milwaukee Ave., will serve Rosh Hashanah dinner on Sept. 20-21. For the occasion, Executive Chef Bolla Loza has created a three-course prix fixe menu that will be served family-style. Some of the dishes will include challah with apples and honey; roasted half-chicken; wild Atlantic salmon piccata; and homemade apple tart. See

—In celebration of Grand Cochon—happening Oct. 1 in Chicago—Cochon555 Chicago 2017 Winner and Travelle Kitchen + Bar Chef Ricardo Jarquin is hosting a ticketed collaboration dining experience with past Cochon555 winners including Tim Graham ( Twain ), Andres Padilla ( Topolobampo ), Nicole Pederson ( Found ), Nathan Sears ( TheWit Hotel Chicago ) and more on Sept. 26. ( Travelle is at 330 N. Wabash Ave. ) Admission is $125 per person, excluding tax and gratuity; call 312-923-7703 or email Lindsay Srednicki at .

—The City of Highwood and Celebrate Highwood will host the Eighth Annual Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival on Oct. 6-8 in downtown Highwood. The event will benefit Make-A-Wish Illinois, and is sponsored by HGTV Magazine and Muller Auto Group. Also, in an attempt to to break a world record, festival organizers are inviting the community to come and carve early Oct. 2-5 at 9 a.m.-9 p.m. at City Hall ( 17 Highwood Ave. ). See .

—Identita Golose, an international culinary organization that highlights contemporary Italian cuisine, returns to the United States for the fourth annual Identita Chicago on Oct. 7-8. Eataly Chicago, 43 E. Ohio St., will host the two-day event that will feature Corrado Scaglione, Davide Oldani, Sarah Grueneberg and other prominent chefs; four master classes; and an inaugural "Pizza & Pasta" event that will allow guests to eat their way through Eataly. Tickets are $48 each; visit

—Loews Chicago Hotel, 455 N. Park Dr., will hold its third annual Harvest Fest on Saturday, Oct. 14, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The hotel's rooftop terrace, Streeterville Social, will be transformed into a fall pumpkin patch and biergarten to celebrate the autumn season. The pumpkin patch will have pumpkins of various sizes available for patrons to take home and decorate. Every pumpkin is $10 ( any size ), and all pumpkin proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana.

—The second annual Say Cheese Fest will take place Sunday, Oct. 15, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at Concord Fifty-Five, 1355 W. Concord Pl. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or Eventbrite.

—The 17th annual Kohler Food & Wine Experience will take place Oct. 19-22 in Kohler, Wisconsin. The chef line-up includes Richard Blais, Alex Guarnaschelli, Stephanie Izard, Jeff Mauro and cast members from America's Test Kitchen. See .

—At Chez Moi, 2100 N. Halsted St., Chef Dominque Tougne will celebrate Sweetest Day with a a special prix fixe menu for two. Items will include pumpkin soup served in a pumpkin bowl, a special surf-and-turf and "Bleeding Heart" for Two. The three-course menu for two is $150; see .

—The James Beard Foundation ( JBF ) has announced that tickets for the fifth anniversary year of the Taste America national culinary tour are now on sale at Chicago's itinerary will kick off on Friday, Oct. 27, at Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago with "A Night of Culinary Stars." On Saturday, Oct. 28, free in-store consumer events will take place at Sur La Table, 900 N. Michigan Ave.

—Kendall College Trust's ( KCT's ) Fried Chicken & Champagne Fest will take place Saturday, Nov. 4, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the college's Skyline Room. A dozen of Chicago's award-winning chefs ( including Acadia's Ryan McCaskey and Monteverde's Sarah Grueneberg ) will make their best chicken renditions, while KCT Executive Director and Check, Please! host Catherine De Orio will host. Admission is $85-$195; visit

—Arun's Thai Restaurant, 4156 N. Kedzie Ave., is hosting a luxury excursion to Thailand on Jan. 15-31, 2018. It will be a trip to James Beard Award-winning Chef Arun Sampanthavivat's native Thailand for a culinary tour with an intimate group of 20 guests. Fare is $7,500-$10,500; to book, email Paul Schermerhorn at .

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