Few dining spots have as storied a history as the Palm Restaurant ( now in the Swissotel at 323 E. Upper Wacker Dr.; www.thepalm.com/restaurants/chicago/ ).
And after three decades in the city, this particular branch recently underwent an all-encompassing restaurant remodeling. There are new additions to the design ( resulting in a space that's much more open, reminding me of the Atwood Cafe remodeling from a few years ago ), infamous caricature artwork ( of local and national luminaries, including Jennifer Hudson ) and a ( somewhat ) altered menu.
New art installations showcase colorful walls and illustrations hand-painted by the restaurant group's resident artist, Zack Bird. To capture the history of Chicago, Bird created a custom, expansive wall-to-wall mural depicting the city's most well-known landmarks.
What hasn't changed is the quality of the food ( although it seems the actual menu listing hasn't changed that muchwhich isn't a bad thing ). A recent lunch items such as Nova Scotia lobster roll, crispy calamari fritti, a very tasty bison burger ( which is new, for sure ), the justifiably popular chicken parmigiana and a crab cake that is definitely better than most I've tried in Chicago.
And don't forget to ask about the 837 Club, which offers exclusive benefits to Palm regulars. A one-time registration of $25 earns you membershipand a $25 gift card toward your next visit. Accumulated points lead to benefits as varied as Tiffany & Co. gift cards, a Napa Valley wine tour and a private party.
By the way, the Palm isn't done with the changes: Later this summer ( around Sept. 1 ), the restaurant will reveal an all-season, temperature-controlled enclosed patio that will offer views of the skyline, the Chicago River and Navy Pier. Why fight with the crowds watching fireworks when you can watch and dine in style?
WingFest a winner yet again
Reportedly, 1 billion chicken wings are consumed during Super Bowl Sunday each year.
It seemed like there were that many at WingFest, which took place May 6 at the UIC Pavilion, 525 S. Racine Ave.
Dozens of vendors offered items such as habanero, ghost pepper and goat cheese-and-chive wings for hundreds of hungry attendees. More than 3,000 people sampled wings at the event, which featured Emmy-winning co-hosts Elliott Bambrough ( WGN's Chicago's Best ) and Samantha Thomas ( SmallTALK with Samantha ).
Restaurant winners were declared in various categories ( such as mild, exotic, hot and BBQ, with the winners being Wild Wings & Slots, Bounce Sporting Club, Howells & Hood and Rack House Kitchen & Tavern, respectively ), and there were also competitive-eating contests for men and women. Windy City Times was fortunate enough to be included as a judge in the "mild" category.
In addition, the 2018 Best of Fest Winner was Bounce Sporting Club.