— Warm weather has finally hit Chicago so patios and rooftops around the city are awakening from their winter slumber. And Gibsons Italia, the swanky, new-ish, Italian-tinged steakhouse in the West Loop from the Gold Coast icon, unveiled its retractable-rooftop bar and second-floor patio yesterday, both with stellar skyline and river views. The tri-level restaurant opened in late October, so management didn’t have much opportunity to use the spaces yet — until now.
— Another “Star Wars” popup bar is coming this weekend. Replay Lincoln Park, which has hosted a variety of pop culture-themed popups in recent months, will become “Wretched Hive Cantina” from Friday (“May the Fourth Be With You” Day) through Sunday and host a band, decor, and drinks modeled after the cantina in the original film in honor of “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” which hits theaters on May 25. Replay isn’t the first Chicago bar to host a “Star Wars” cantina popup, as The Whistler hosted Chicago’s most popular “Star Wars” cantina popup to date in December 2015, and brought it back two years later.
— Alinea will be open seven days a week beginning May 21, the Tribune reports, which theoretically gives diners more opportunities to snag a coveted reservation. The three-Michelin-starred icon in Lincoln Park had been closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
— Aloha Poke has hired former Potbelly exec Chris Birkinshaw as its CEO. The burgeoning Chicago-based fast-casual chain had already expanded to nine locations in the area as well as Minneapolis, Denver, Southern California, and Washington, D.C., yet now plans to open eight more in 2018. Founder Zach Friedlander is moving “forward with his career,” Nation’s Restaurant News reports.
— Dim Sum icon MingHin Cuisine no longer runs its Streeterville restaurant at 215 E. Grand Avenue, ownership revealed via Facebook, writing that “our company has made the decision to move forward and transfer management of the Streeterville branch into the hands of another company.” There’s no word which company now runs the restaurant.
— And finally, two noteworthy deaths have sadly been reported this week. Frank Capitanini, the second generation owner of Italian Village — one of Chicago’s oldest restaurants — has passed away at 85, according to a news release, Facebook post, and multiple reports. The Sun-Times dives into his legacy, including many of the favorite orders of the restaurant’s celebrity patrons. Visitation will be today from 4 to 8 p.m. at Peterson/Bassi Chapels (6938 W. North Avenue) and mass is on Thursday, May 3 at 10 a.m. at St. Vincent Ferrer Parish (1530 Jackson Avenue, River Forest). The restaurant will be closed tomorrow in his honor.
— And Jack Glunz of trailblazing Chicago distributor Louis Glunz Beer Inc. has passed away at 82. The Sun-Times also dives into his legacy and has the details on his funeral, mass, and visitation.