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Chicagoan Returning to ‘Top Chef,’ Willis Tower Popup Smoking Goat, More Intel

Plus, Rick Bayless items are heading to the Smithsonian

Q-BBQ’s previous Willis Tower popup

—When "Top Chef" Season 14 debuts on Dec. 1, a Chicago chef will be on it. Amanda Baumgarten (The Victor Bar) who came in seventh on Season 7 in Washington, D.C., is returning to the ever-popular Bravo reality show, the Tribune reports, where she’ll compete against other returnees seeking redemption as well as newcomers. The upcoming season takes place in Charleston, where Graham Elliot will debut as a judge.

—You may have heard that the Cubs are heading to the World Series for the first time since 1945. And all this week, you can try to break the remaining curse—winning the Series for the first time since 1908—by eating goat in one of the world’s tallest buildings. That’s where Q-BBQ will be smoking goat during a week-long popup at Willis Tower, serving hickory-smoked goat sandwiches for $10.08 as well as other grab-and-go barbecue dishes. The popup runs daily from today through Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., although the goat won’t be available until Tuesday.

—Many Rick Bayless items are landing at the Smithsonian. The iconic Chicago chef is "donating objects that represent his early career" to the museum in Washington, D.C., according to a news release, including notes and the small typewriter from his early Mexican travels and dishware, his chef’s coat and apron from Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. Bayless will be honored with the Julia Child Award at the museum on Thursday.

—It turns out that the first floor of 2fun Chinese, the forthcoming Randolph Row Szechuan restaurant from Bar Marta owner Austin Baker, will be named Won Fun Chinese, Crain’s reports, as well as other details including that Bar Marta chef Ben Ruiz will run the kitchen. The large two-floor restaurant obtained a business license on Friday, so the opening appears imminent at 905 W. Randolph St.

—A new owner has purchased the shuttered Zapatista space in the South Loop, Sloopin reports, and he may be bringing a new Mexican restaurant to 1307 S. Wabash Ave. Zapatista South Loop shuttered in June 2015 and its Lincoln Park location shuttered in Oct. 2012.

Mana Food Bar, the popular vegetarian and vegan destination at 1742 W. Division St. in Wicker Park, has opened a coach house expansion that adds 25 more seats, a full bar, and doubles its indoor seating. The expansion is just in time, as the space has a large sidewalk that’s unusable in the winter.


1307 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 435-1307 Visit Website

2fun Chinese

905 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 877-5967

Mana Food Bar

1742 W Division Street, Chicago, IL 60622 Visit Website


445 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 661-1434 Visit Website