Reservations for Chicago Restaurant Week, a promotion that attracts diners during cold winter months, typically a slow time for the service industry, are online. Instead of a mere seven days, diners can find lunch and dinner deals for 17 days, from January 20 through February 5.
Originally, the promotion, run through Choose Chicago, focused on downtown restaurants looking to stir up business during an off-peak time for travel in Chicago. In recent years, the city has recruited more neighborhood restaurants. This year’s event includes 335 restaurants across 34 neighborhoods. The suburbs have also infiltrated the event with 37 restaurants outside of Chicago city limits. For 2023, the city brought on 51 new restaurants including Lexington Betty Smokehouse in Pullman, Bloom Plant Based Kitchen in Wicker Park, and Alpana in Gold Coast.
This year, restaurants are offering pix fixe brunch or lunch for $25 or dinner for $42 or $59. Prices exclude taxes, drinks, and tips. Check out the full lineup at the Choose Chicago website, and stay tuned for more coverage.
Mayoral candidates need to get out more
The first round of the Chicago mayoral election takes place on February 28, and on Tuesday, eight out of 11 candidates appeared at a forum on the city’s Northwest Side. In years past, the mayor’s office has played a pivotal role in creating an environment for restaurants, including setting up grants and attempting to reduce red tape. Mayors Rahm Emanuel and Lori Lightfoot have appeared on stage at the James Beard Awards at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
On Tuesday, the candidates were asked “where would you show a world leader Chicago food?” The topic of Chicago food is likely reduced to what neighborhood or culture you grew up with — unless you’re pandering to a certain demographic. The Tribune’s Alice Yin recorded the candidates’ answers which included Soul Veg City, Josephine’s Southern Cooking, Just Turkey, Bronzeville Winery, Chicago’s Chicken & Waffles, and Harrington’s. Eater Chicago will kindly leave some suggestions. Incumbent Lightfoot and challenger Chuy Garcia didn’t appear at the forum.
Casino vote scheduled for today
Speaking of city politics, the City Council is expected to approve plans for Chicago’s first-ever casino during Wednesday’s meeting. The location, the Freedom Center — where the Trib gets printed in River West — would be run by Bally’s and include 11 restaurants a 500-room hotel, and a 3,000-seat theater. It’s a $1.74 billion project doesn’t have a projected opening date made public. A temporary location would debut in 2023 inside the Medinah Temple, once slated for a project called Holocene Chicago that involved the owners of Dusek’s and Salt Shed.
Lagunitas taproom stays closed
Lagunitas Brewing won’t open its Douglass Park taproom in 2022, according to Crain’s. The taproom, once a destination for beer fans, has remained closed for three years. Lagunitas has permanently closed its Seattle taproom but had plans to reopen in Chicago in late 2022. It’s unclear what the brewery, a subsidiary of Heineken, will do.
Source: Chicago Eater