— A network of employment agencies, including many in Chinatown, are still active and allegedly exploit Latino immigrant workers throughout Chicagoland and the Midwest, even after a 2015 federal lawsuit by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan that resulted in some restaurants paying back wages and other penalties in 2017. A joint investigative report by the Sun-Times and Wisconsin Watch digs deep into the ongoing problem where many undocumented workers are allegedly hired for as little as $3.50 an hour and housed in “squalid conditions” for restaurant jobs set up by Xing Ying in Chinatown and similar operations.
— Grant Achatz has been leading Next Restaurant with chef de cuisine Ed Tinoco — the current menu is Alinea 2011-2015, after all — following the exit of executive chef Jenner Tomaska, Nick Kokonas writes. Expect a new executive chef to be announced in “a few weeks” around the time the 2019 menu iterations are revealed.
— Avé Pasta, the reconcept of the SoupBox at 50 E. Chicago Avenue above Streeter’s Tavern, is closed indefinitely after ownership says it was the victim of arson and vandalism in late September. Its phone number is disconnected and there’s no word if or when it will reopen.
— Only two hotels — Cambria Magnificent Mile and the Kinzie Hotel — are left in the workers’ strike after Crowne Plaza and Hampton Inn/Homewood Suites Magnificent Mile ratified contracts on Friday, Curbed reports.
— And finally, the star of PBS series Lucky Chow and founder of New York traveling food fest LuckyRice will be in town on October 18 for a dinner at Ramen-San Fulton Market. More information and tickets are available here.