Near North Side: February 2009 Archives

Every day, we'll be alerting you to five great food and drink deals around town, courtesy of Centerstage Chicago's comprehensive database. In this economy, you need all the help you can get, right?

Today, we'll be plucking five great deals from Centerstage's guide to Mardi Gras events.

115 Bourbon Street
$3 you-call-it

Dunlays on Clark
$5 Hurricanes, $3 Big Easy shots; $10 Mardi Gras menu specials

Fat Cat
$4 Abita beer; $7.95 all-you-can-eat buffet

Jake Melnick's Corner Tap
$30 all-you-can-eat-and-drink

Stretch Run
$5 Hurricanes, $6 "Storm of the Century"

Open and shut-tered

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Here are some recent restaurant/bar openings and closings.

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Open:

Tapas Valencia – This small-plates tapas spot used to be in Bloomingdale, but moved to the South Loop earlier this month. Now, we’re not trying to pass judgment on Bloomingdale or nothin’, but where would you rather be?

Café Bella – They’re only serving lunch at this Logan Square BYOB for now, but a dinner menu is in the works. Owner Hector Pena named the place after his daughter. Good thing he didn’t name her Salmonella. (crickets chirping) Hello? Is this thing on?

Avila – The former Club 720 in River North opens Friday and boasts three floors of Latino-inspired dancing. You don’t want us to dig our salsa shoes out of the closet, because once we do, it’s on!

Closed … for now:

Osteria di Tramonto – But the swanky Wheeling spot’s closing is only temporarily, while they remodel. In the meantime, sister spot Tramonto’s Steak & Seafood is open all day.

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Closed … for good:

Bar Chicago – It’s hard to believe this Division Street staple was open for nearly a decade. We remember coming here a lot in our younger days. We don’t remember much beyond that, but we’re pretty sure we made it in the door.

Check back here every Tuesday with more openings and closings (and snarky comments, of course). And be sure to check out Centerstage Chicago's list of new restaurants and bars.

Daily Deal$: Monday

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Every day, we'll be alerting you to five great food and drink deals around town, courtesy of Centerstage Chicago's comprehensive database. In this economy, you need all the help you can get, right?

Cooper's
$1 cans of PBR; $5 cheese pizza

Paramount Room
$1 off craft beer drafts

Roscoe's Tavern
$12 pitchers of Stoli Blakberi lemonade, $3 Off martinis and Manhattans, $3 off double cocktails, $6 frozen cocktails, $6 grape bombs, $2.50 bottles of Bud, Bud Light and Bud Light Lime

Scoozi!
$21 select bottles of wine

Trio
$10 domestic buckets; 25-cent wings

Chili, anyone?

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You've barely finished breakfast, but here we are ready to stir up some lunch cravings. How does some spicy, meaty chili sound? Pretty good, right? Well, you only have to wait a couple hours 'til you can get some at Rockit Bar & Grill's first-ever ChiliFest, running through Friday.

Like the restaurant's annual summer BurgerFest, this event will offer guests four different preparations of the featured dish throughout the week, plus one special variety courtesy of executive chef James Gottwald. We suggest going for the $8 chili sampler, featuring Wagon Wheel Chili (black angus beef, wagon wheel pasta and cheddar), Rockit's signature turkey chili and a portion of that day's special; the list includes a gumbo-style chili in honor of Fat Tuesday and the Four-Alarm Farmer, a meatless version with garden vegetables and dried ancho chilies. Speaking of four alarms, firefighters get a free bowl of chili just by showing a badge.

Seeing as Gottwald won last week's Mac 'n' Cheese Smackdown, you might also want to try the chili mac, which includes four-cheese mac 'n' cheese with turkey chili on top ($12).

The full schedule is after the jump. Rockit opens at 11:30 a.m.

The city that networks

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There are some perks to unemployment at first. You can wake up late. You can wear pajamas all day. You have plenty of time to read awesome blogs like this one. But sooner or later, you're going to get tired of all that. And while hovering over Craigslist and adding 250 new connections on LinkedIn seems productive, there are other ways to get yourself back under those fluorescent office lights.

Enter Out of Work Chicago, a community created by unemployed professionals for those who share their affliction. Its Web site is full of advice, news and, yes, job postings. And now, the community is launching a weekly series of networking/happy hour events to get you doing some face-to-face networking. The launch party takes place Wednesday, February 25 at Flatwater, 321 N. Clark, from 5-9 p.m. Attendees will include unemployed Chicagoans, but also hiring managers and recruiters, so you might want to change out of those pajamas. They were getting a little ripe anyway, weren't they?

Complimentary wine and cheese will be served. You can (and should) register online.

Daily Deal$: Tuesday

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Every day, we'll be alerting you to five great food and drink deals around town, courtesy of Centerstage Chicago's comprehensive database. In this economy, you need all the help you can get, right?

Bill's Blues Bar
$2 cans of PBR, $3 Jager shots

Coobah

$6 pitchers of sangria

Gannon's Pub
$2.75 bottled beer; $3 hamburgers w/ fries

Louie's Pub
$2 cans of PBR

Theory
Half-price appetizers; $5 Jameson, $5 shots of SoCo

Open and shut-tered

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Here are some recent restaurant/bar openings and closings.

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Open:

Markethouse – Supposed to be a mostly locally sustained menu. More updates as events warrant, as well as (we hope) a better Web site.

Naf Naf – Naperville gets what the owners bill as casual Israeli. We will forgo the easy joke about what happens if an uptight Palestinian walks in – as we have a strict policy about getting involved in holy wars.

Feast – The popular Bucktown spot opens up a new location in the Gold Coast (in the old Cru digs). Another spot is planned in Lincoln Square this summer. What will they do after that? Try to take over the world!

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Closed:

Zia – The New Mexican (as in the state, not recently prepared Mexican food) spot moves out to make room for the new Terragusto on Armitage. Guess we’ll have to find somewhere else to get our sopapilla fix.

Nicky’s – We’re pretty sure we’re talking about the Nicky’s Drive-Through on Roosevelt, but there’s so many damn Nicky’s restaurants on the south side, it’s hard to keep them straight.

Open (again):

Bleeding Heart Bakery – After some, uh, drainage problems last week, the popular bakery is back up and running – and offering a special "Kitchen Sink Cookie" (oatmeal with flax, dried fruits and chocolate) for $2.50.

God We Hope It Doesn’t Close:
Mr. BeefBank problems loom for the popular River North beef stand. I mean, an Italian beef is an Italian beef. But you gotta love the ambience of the place, as well as the history. C’mon, somebody’s gotta pony up to help these guys out. We got about a buck-fifty in our pockets to help the cause.

Check back here every Tuesday with more openings and closings (and snarky comments, of course). And be sure to check out Centerstage Chicago's list of new restaurants and bars.

Here's the latest buzz

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Already on your third cup of coffee today? First of all, slow down. Unless you're an Air Traffic Control operator, you don't need to be that focused. Second, we have some information that might interest you. CoffeeFest 2009 comes to Navy Pier next weekend (February 20-22).

While the three-day event (admission: $40) mainly covers the business of the bean (scintillating workshops include "Easy Maintenance on Brewers and Espresso Machines That Can Save Big Money" and "The Ambiance of Your Café - Getting Crowds In Your Door"), you can count on a ton of samples, as exhibitors will be on hand from all over the country. And everyone can appreciate a good latte pour, right? The winner of the Millrock Latte Art Competition will walk away with $5,000; that should be enough to support that Starbucks habit for at least a month.

Daily Deal$: Tuesday

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Every day, we'll be alerting you to five great food and drink deals around town, courtesy of Centerstage Chicago's comprehensive database. In this economy, you need all the help you can get, right?

Blue 13, 416 W. Ontario
$35 three-course dinner menu

Couch Bar & Grill, 2344 W. Grand
Half-price appetizers

O'Donovan's, 2100 W. Irving Park
$5 vodka Red Bulls, $5 martinis, $3.75 drafts of Sam Adams

Rumba, 351 W. Hubbard
Two-for-one dinner, half-price bottles of wine, $2 draft beer, $10 pitchers of beer and sangria, $10 appetizer and drink combo

Wine & Vine, 105 S. York, Elmhurst
$7 glasses of wine

Daily Deal$: Friday

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Every day, we'll be alerting you to five great food and drink deals around town, courtesy of Centerstage Chicago's comprehensive database. In this economy, you need all the help you can get, right?

Between Boutique Cafe and Lounge, 1324 N. Milwaukee
$30 small-plate trios from 6-7 p.m.

Crossroads Public House, 2630 N. Clark
$3 SoCo Lime, $5 Jager bombs, $20 all-you-can-drink-and-eat

Kendall's, 2263 N. Lincoln
$2.50 Dos Equis drafts, $4 Milagro shots, $5 Kilo Kai mixers

Sam's Grill, 416 N. Clark
Double hot dog, fries and a fountain drink for $6 (including tax)

Small Bar, 2956 N. Albany
$5 pints of Steigl


Have a PB&J weekend

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What's your recession food? Pasta? Spam (we said recession, not nuclear war)? Your own arm? For us, it's definitely peanut butter and jelly. Packed full of protein, fat, carbs and sugar, it's one of the more filling meals around for under a buck. Not to mention, it takes us back to the days when Mom would cut off the crusts and serve it up alongside a few carrot sticks and a glass of milk. Ah, those were the days.

Well, those days are back at the recently renovated Doubletree Hotel Chicago Magnificent Mile, 300 E. Ohio. The Peanut Butter & Jelly Package, available weekends from now through March 1, is aimed at families with kids under 12. In addition to a welcome basket filled with PB&J sandwiches, Doubletree's signature chocolate chip cookies and popcorn, guests receive a free on-demand movie, complimentary use of the Lakeshore Athletic Club and discount certificates at area attractions.

It's a recipe for some awesome family bonding; at the least, it'll bring back nostalgia for a time when the only economic concerns you had were regarding your weekly allowance. Rates begin at $99 plus tax for a family of four; call (312) 787-6100 for reservations, or visit the Web site.

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Is that fluff, too?

Daily Deal$: Wednesday

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Every day, we'll be alerting you to five great food and drink deals around town, courtesy of Centerstage Chicago's comprehensive database. In this economy, you need all the help you can get, right?

Cortland's Garage, 1645 W. Cortland
$3 Bud/Bud Light bottles, $4 premium and import beers, $5 Ketel vodka cocktails; ribs tonight only

Duffy's Tavern, 420 1/2 W. Diversey
$1 Bud Light drafts

Leg Room, 7 W. Division
Half-price house drinks and martinis; $50 off bubbly

Motel Bar, 600 W. Chicago
$4 Amstel Light & Heineken, $5 Stoli cocktails (it's also burlesque night)

Villains Bar & Grill, 649 S. Clark
$2 PBR drafts; 50-cent jumbo wings


Call it a satay-cation

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Despite what this year's "Top Chef" has shown us, culinary students can make pretty darn good food. And since these budding chefs are still learning, they're usually happy to have anyone sample their fare - which is why cooking schools have long been known as prime spots to score gourmet meals at casual prices.

Kendall College
's Monday Night Dining Series continues this trend: For the next five weeks, diners will be able to taste "ethnic neighborhood" cuisine from five different regions (in order: Mexico, Poland, Southeast Asia, Greece, Indian) for just $38 each meal. That price gets you five courses plus non-alcoholic beverages, and it includes sales tax.

Dinners are BYOB, and seating begins at 6:30 p.m. The Dining Room is at 900 N. North Branch. Call (312) 752-2328 or visit the Web site for reservations.

Tonight's menu:
• Chicken Sopes with Salsa Verde
• Posole Soup with Crisp Tortillas
• Salad of Mixed Greens, Cactus & Roasted Corn
• Roasted Pork Loin with Mole Manchamanteles
• Mexican Chipotle Brownie, Mango Ice Cream and Crunchy Tuile with Mexican

As the immortal Ron Michaelson once asked, "Why does lunch have to be so dull?"

Well, if the folks at NoMI had their way, it wouldn't be. The Park Hyatt's 7th floor restaurant offers up an out-of-the-ordinary Winter Lunch menu starting today.

For $25 (you might have to brown-bag it for the rest of the week), you get your choice of soup plus the chef's choice of salad - both served at once in a two-partitioned piece we'd like to see - followed by a main course and dessert. Soups include varieties like pumpkin and coconut with ginger and coriander; main courses include Peekytoe crab cakes and a steak sandwich with bearnaise aioli. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday. NoMI is located at 800 N. Michigan, (312) 239-4030.

Won't you be his neighbor?

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We don't know too many people who live by the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower (unless you count that mime in front of Water Tower Place), so the new "Neighborhood Friends" menu at the hotel's Cafe des Architectes seems oddly named. But in any case, you won't need to bring an electric bill bearing a local address to take advantage of chef Martial Noguier's creations on Sunday and Monday nights - as long as you're willing to pony up the $29 ($19 for children 6-10, free for kids 5 and under), you're good to go.

The three-course menu includes a choice of appetizer (broccoli veloute, poached egg with pork belly, cured baby coho salmon), entree (roasted root veggies, Lake Superior whitefish, chicken breast with sunchokes, flat iron steak) and dessert (warm bread pudding, creme brulee).

With a deal like this, you might consider moving in. Just don't tell the mime - he tends to be protective of his turf.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Near North Side category from February 2009.

Near North Side: January 2009 is the previous archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.