— Five years after Bon Appetit famously bestowed on Au Cheval the title of the best burger in America — helping to create equally-famous long lines — and the magazine has bestowed a similar honor on another Chicago restaurant. The Loyalist, the casual bar and restaurant underneath Michelin-starred Smyth in the West Loop, is home to one of the three best burgers in America for 2017, Andrew Knowlton opines in the magazine. Will the honor create similar lines there as well?
— Here’s what will be a holiday miracle for one lucky eater: free Stan’s doughnuts for life. The prolific LA-bred fried-dough chain will give that gift to the person who luckily snags the golden doughnut at its new Magnificent Mile shop (181 N. Michigan Avenue) on December 30 as part of grand opening festivities that begin at 6 a.m. and also include a free doughnut for the first 100 customers. The 50-seat shop, which first opens on December 23, will also include eight cold brews and two teas on tap as well as a 30-seat patio when the weather warms. Gym membership not included.
— The Polenta Bar, the fast-casual polenta-focused spot that was the first in Chicago, shuttered its storefront at 1002 W. Lake Street on December 1. Its food is still available via catering orders and ownership held popups and private events this month and hopes to hold more in the new year. The restaurant itself lasted less than 10 months following its opening in February.
— In yet another blow to Chicago’s food truck scene, a state of Illinois court held up a city ruling that Chicago’s restrictive food truck laws are legal and constitutional, the Sun-Times reports. The ruling rejected a lawsuit by food truck owners and supporters that had been ongoing since the city first enacted its laws in 2012 that limit the trucks’ operations, which include the notorious “200-foot rule” and other restrictions that favor the interests of many brick-and-mortar restaurants. In short, don’t expect the laws to go away or change anytime soon.
— As covered, cold-weather outdoor seating continues to rise in popularity — notably at the “domes” at City Winery on the Chicago Riverwalk and the “igloos” at Noyane — The Duck Inn has launched “The Duck Chalet” on its large back patio. The dome will be available on New Year’s Eve for drinks and more; contact the restaurant for more information.
— And finally, is Chicago’s dining boom coming to an end? A report in Chicago magazine makes the case using interviews and data that the bubble is going to burst on the local restaurant boom, that a market correction is coming, and that many more prominent restaurants will bite the dust.