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Fitzgerald’s Hosting an ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Bar Pop-Up and More Intel

Plus, Derek Rylon splits from Batter & Berries

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Derek Rylon
Nick Fochtman
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Fitzgerald’s, the music venue/bar in suburban Berwyn hasn’t been sold yet, but Fitzgerald’s SideBar will hold a pop-up based on It’s A Wonderful Life, the classic Christmas movie. The bar will host the pop-up staring at 5 p.m. on all four Wednesdays in December. Time Out has the details.

—For the past five years, chef/owner Derek Rylon’s name has been synonymous with Batter & Berries, the Lincoln Park breakfast spot known for french toast flights and other morning dishes. Apparently, Rylon is no longer affiliated with the restaurant. A news release sent this week touted a new menu from a new chef. When asked for clarification, a rep wrote back that “Mr. Rylon is no longer with Batter & Berries.” No reason was given for the split. The departure comes after earlier this year when Rylon’s Smokehouse, a South Loop barbecue restaurant that opened in October 2016, changed names to Windy City Ribs. Rylon was also involved with Palette Chicago, a short-lived restaurant that opened in March, only to be closed down by the city in July. Come back for any updates if Rylon or reps share details. Meanwhile, Batter & Berries should soon release a new menu.

—Needing to spice up his Wicker Park location, Rick Bayless is bringing in some big-time kitchen talent to Fonda Frontera every Friday in November. Bayless, himself, will be working the kitchen line, according to a news release. Starting today, he’ll be at the location at 1471 N. Milwaukee Avenue start at 6:30 p.m. on November 10, November, 17, and November 24. Bayless (when he’s not signing books) and his crew will assemble some taco specials, including octopus carnitas, smoked brisket with salsa negra and roasted chicken with maitake mushrooms and jalapeño crema. Those will be served today. Other future tacos include a dry-aged beef with salsa huevona and lamb birria with Chicago-style giardiniera. They’ll also bring over some beer from Bayless’s West Loop brewery, Cruz Blanca.

Gideon Sweet, Matthias Merges and Graham Elliot’s restaurant/bar, opens today at 841 W. Randolph Street. Eater Chicago will have more on the West Loop opening later today. But here’s a bit of under the radar news: They’ve hired pastry chef extraordinaire Mari Katsumura. Katsumura most-recently worked at Entente (she left before the Lakeview restaurant earned its Michelin star). She also worked at Acadia, the two-starred South Loop restaurant. Katsumura is the daughter of Yoshi and Nobuko Katsumura. While her father, the founder of 35-year-old Yoshi’s Cafe, died in 2015, the Lakeview continues to operate.

Fischman Liquors, the Jefferson Park packaged goods spot (bar/liquor shop) that closed in July will reopen as Fischman Liquors & Tavern around Valentine’s Day at 4050 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Portage Park, according to a rep. But beer lovers don’t have to wait as long for the bottle shop of the new location. Though it was supposed to open on Saturday, the retail portion now has a November 17 opening date.

—Need some weekend plans? Get a sneak peek inside Halfwit Coffee Roaster’s new spot from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday at 3431 W. Fullerton Avenue. In conjunction with Wormhole Coffee, Halfwit’s popular Wicker Park coffeehouse, Halfwit’s hosting a book launch for Craft Coffee: A Manual: Brewing a Better Cup at Home by Jessica Easto. It’s on sale via Amazon. They’ll have snacks, coffees, and they’ll be selling books. RSVP for Saturday’s event over here. The small hardcover includes recipes and simply explains how to use equipment and produce tastier coffees.

Batter & Berries

2748 North Lincoln Avenue, , IL 60614 (773) 248-7710 Visit Website


1132 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60642 (312) 624-8363 Visit Website


816 Folsom Street, , CA 94107 (415) 865-0529 Visit Website


1639 South Wabash Avenue, , IL 60616 (312) 360-9500 Visit Website

Fischman Liquors & Tavern

4780 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60630 (773) 545-0123 Visit Website


700 North Sedgwick Street, , IL 60654 (312) 285-2247 Visit Website

Graham Elliot

217 W Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60654 312 624 9975 Visit Website

Cruz Blanca

904 West Randolph Street, , IL 60607 (312) 733-1975 Visit Website