— The Chicago Riverwalk will officially get two noteworthy new drinking establishments soon despite some aldermen and neighbor opposition. The Northman, Chicago’s first cider pub that had entered into a previously-reported concession license agreement for a riverwalk outpost, and local craft beer spot Chicago Brewhouse had riverwalk locations approved by aldermen yesterday, the Tribune reports. This happened despite noise complaints from neighbors and tough talk from Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) about Island Party Hut, which nevertheless had its contract renewed, the Sun-Times also notes. Also, Urban Kayaks plans to become larger and add a Mexican restaurant on the riverwalk.
— As more and more of Chicago’s top food and drink head towards Wrigley Field, one of the area’s iconic food brands will offer plenty of its product inside the Cubs’ stadium. Garrett Popcorn, the uber-popular product with multiple stores around the city and beyond, is now “the official gourmet popcorn” of the Cubs and will be sold at kiosks, concession stands, and suites around the ballpark, according to a news release and multiple reports. Garrett competitor Nuts on Clark was previously available at the stadium and there’s no word yet if it’ll return this season.
— Former Longman & Eagle and Dusek’s chef Jared Wentworth will helm Matthias Merges’ Mordecai, the cocktail bar and eatery that’ll open in Wrigleyville’s Hotel Zachary in April, around three months after leaving Heisler Hospitality’s Regards to Edith. In-the-works dishes include cheese curds with bonito flakes and black-garlic aioli, and porchetta with chicharron and barbecue carrots, the Tribune notes.
— Highly-anticipated Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club is getting close to opening in Bucktown. Construction is basically finished on the main space and workers are touching up decorations as ownership waits for city inspections. A peek inside the space this week revealed a near mirror image of the Florida-inspired original in Brooklyn, but with a roof deck with a court and bar next to the CTA Blue Line tracks. There’s also a dock on the north end of the space where local food trucks will serve grub. Stay tuned for an official opening date — the target is now in late March or early April — and league registration is now open.
— And finally, Rick Bayless played hero to the local theater community by donating $200,000 in 20 checks to Chicago theaters. He told the Tribune that “we got this windfall of money,” which appears to be a reference to his 2016 sale of Frontera Foods to ConAgra for more than $100 million, and that “our goal is to do what we can to help theater companies grow.” Bayless famously starred in Chicago theater in multiple productions of “Cascabel.”