—Next week, Chicago coffee and tea drinkers will get an intriguing new spot that ownership hopes will do for the beverages what modern bars have done for craft beer. Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea will open on March 29 at 1620 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Bucktown, the Tribune reports, and will be one of the first to bring a variety of craft coffee roasters, tea elixirs, kombuchas, food, and more to one spot — actually, it will be many spots, as owner Michael Schultz (Goddess & The Baker) is already planning to open an outpost in the Chicago Athletic Association hotel in May and other locations in other major U.S. markets. So instead of choosing from one roaster while you’re in one shop, you’ll be able to choose from many. It’ll be intriguing to see how the concept does, and you can try it out yourself next week.
UPDATE: There’s some more intrigue (ahem) brewing with this concept and Schultz’s connection with the Goddess & The Baker brand, of which co-owners Debbie Sharpe and Tamar Mizrahi say he’s a minority partner in who is not involved with operations of and didn’t have a hand in concept or menu development. “Goddess and The Baker started the concept of using many different coffee roasters and Schultz is a former director of operations,” Sharpe says. “However, the concept was designed by my partner Tamar Mizrahi, as Schultz was not around in the conception days. Wait ‘til it opens, and see how similar it is in menu and design. Yes, we are mad.” Schultz, through reps, says he’s 25 percent owner in Goddess and The Baker and declined further comment.
—The trend of movie theaters with dine-in restaurants has come to the South Side, as Studio Movie Grill is now open at 210 W. 87th St. in Chatham after a years-long $3 million renovation, DNAinfo reports. The 14-screen theater now offers a full kitchen and bar that will serve customers regardless of whether they’re seeing a movie. The trend has been gaining steam in Chicago, highlighted by the renovated Davis Theater in Lincoln Square and its chef-driven restaurant Carbon Arc.
—M Burger continues its tradition of offering a free burger with any purchase on its 7th birthday today at all of its locations. Find the closest one to you on its website.
—The Conrad Chicago hotel, which houses the restaurant and bar hotspot Baptiste & Bottle, is getting a chef change as it prepares to open its highly-anticipated rooftop Noyane. Executive chef Nathan Volz is exiting the property soon and the company is on the hunt for a new chef to run the kitchens. “We look forward to tapping a local Chicago talent to join our team who will continue to help us maintain the highest levels of quality in our various restaurants and catered events,” the company says in a statement.
—And finally, popular longtime Albany Park Chinese restaurant and lollipop chicken wing specialist Great Sea could start serving alcohol soon. The new ownership, who took over last year, has applied for a liquor license for the old-school space, so stay tuned. It’s currently BYO.