—Adjust those Black Wednesday and Friday plans to include Bonci this year. The acclaimed pizzeria wants a piece of the busiest bar night of the year in the West Loop/Fulton Market. Bonci USA’s Rick Tasman said they’re going to open early on Friday at 11 a.m. They also plan on staying open late on Wednesday night going into early Thursday morning, probably as late as 3 a.m. Those cut-to-order slices of Roman-style pizza probably taste even better after a bar crawl.
—Chef Kevin Hickey has always pushed the envelope when it comes to hot dogs. Over at Allium at the Four Seasons, he created an upscale hot dog with “homemade everything.” At Duck Inn in Bridgeport, his duck fat dog continues to be one of the best encased meats in the city. Now Hickey gives Chicago something new for the holidays at The Duck Inn: the TurDuckInn Dog. They’ve taken the duck fat dog and serve it with mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, fried chicken gizzards, and cranberry mostarda. It’s available this week for Thanksgiving and will be available again for Christmas for the week of December 18.
—December 5 looks like it’s going to be opening day for Steingold’s Station, the smaller spin-off of the popular North Center deli, Steingold’s of Chicago. Aaron Steingold is taking over the former Baker Miller Hot Bar at 4642 N. Francisco Avenue. The new location is walk-up only without seats and will be train car themed; it’s adjacent to the CTA’s Francisco Brown Line stop at Ravenswood Manor.
—Customers who get annoyed by text messages sent by restaurants or bars after enrolling in loyalty programs should pay attention to this lawsuit. The Cook County Record reported that a Louisiana woman has filed a class-action lawsuit in Chicago against Checker’s Drive-In. She claims that Checker’s is sending her automated texts that she never consented to receive. Checker’s could be fined $500 to $1,500 per violation of federal law which prohibits robo-callers or texters from harassing customers.
—Restaurant owners moving into areas such as Pilsen — tightly-knit communities where gentrification is a concern — know that establishing a rapport with locals is essential to breed success. Anshul Mangal, one of the co-owners of the Furious Spoon mini-chain of ramen restaurant is trying to bridge that gap as he opened a Pilsen location in May. Furious Spoon will offer free bowls of ramen or rice bowls to the less fortunate from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day at the location at 1316 W. 18th Street. They’ll also serve customers who can afford a meal and donate those proceeds to The Pilsen Alliance, a neighborhood social justice organization. A news release said they’ll use the money on youth activities. Furious Spoon also hopes to raise money for the group via social media. They’ve already share a Facebook/Instagram/Twitter post and if other users repost and tag it with #GiveFuriously, they’ll donate $1 for every post — up to $5,000 — to the alliance.