— As Chicago Eaters get more and more food festival options every year, the best-known fest in the area is more popular than ever, according to data provided by the city. An estimated 1.6 million people attended this year’s Taste of Chicago that ended on Sunday — the most since it moved to a five-day format in 2012 — multiple outlets report. 1.4 million people attended last year.
— From food festival news to music festival news: Emporium Logan Square’s rotating pop-up space (formerly Surf and Branca Bar) will be themed after hip-hop duo Run the Jewels during Lollapalooza from Aug. 2 until Aug. 6, according to Time Out Chicago. It’ll be the second local spot to capitalize on a local music fest, following The Riot Feast that opened in Wicker Park last week.
— The second annual French Restaurant Week kicks off in town tonight. Similar to Chicago Restaurant Week, it offers discounted prix fixe meals at numbers that are the same year as the French Revolution ($17.89, $38, or the baller $178.89 special) at French restaurants around the city. The full lineup of participating restaurants is here. It runs from July 10 until July 23.
— The latest beer collaboration coming to The Field Museum is an interesting one — it’s themed after ancient Chinese history. Named QingMing and brewed by Off Color Brewing, the beer features “the bubblegum flavor of sake derived from jasmine rice, and an infusion of jujubes, honey and lemon rinds,” the Sun-Times reports. The museum will release it at its “Hop To It” event on Thursday from 6 until 8:30 p.m. and it’ll go on sale at both local and national retailers on Friday.
— Borelli’s Pizza, a popular spot in Lincoln Square/Ravenswood, caught fire over the weekend. Although luckily no one was hurt, the restaurant is closed for now. Ownership said on Facebook that “the fire was small and contained,” that “it broke out between the pizza oven and an old wood wall,” and that “like a Phoenix, Borelli's will rise from the ashes.” Stay tuned for any reopening announcements.
— Slightly Toasted, the popular new-ish all-day restaurant, coffee and whiskey bar in the West Loop, rolls out an interesting new coffee subscription program today. Customers can pay $79 a month for unlimited drip coffee, $119 a month for unlimited coffee and espresso drinks, or $199 for three months of unlimited coffee. The deal will also be available at the new location, Little Toasted, that’s slated to open later this month. Click here for more information and to sign up. Will more coffee spots start offering similar deals?
— And finally, the Sun-Times “Watchdogs” took a deep dive into the recent barrage of crime around River North nightlife spots and found out that “in the past year, the number of reported crimes was up to 150, with 23 arrests,” which is more than triple the numbers from a decade ago. Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) tells the paper that “he’s targeting establishments that are licensed as restaurants...but basically operate as a bar or nightclub, serving more liquor than food,” including trying to revoke the liquor license of the continually-controversial Bottled Blonde.