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Embattled Holiday Club Goes Into Damage Control, Plans Immigrant Fundraiser

Plus, Randolph Restaurant Row gets a new brunch service

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El Che Bar
El Che Bar plans a special five-course menu featuring South American food.
Nick Fochtman
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Holiday Club is in damage control. There’s no reassurance that co-owner Peter Malek will “resign” from his position after last week’s racist social media meltdown, but the North Side bar is hosting a fundraiser for RAICES, a group the helps migrant families: “Holiday Club Has always supported and celebrated a culture of diversity and inclusion,” reads the Facebook event page. Malek made controversial posts support President Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy that has separated families. That led to a social media storm. Photos of Malek wearing patches popular in Nazi Germany also surfaced. Block Club Chicago first noticed the Facebook event. The event takes place on Wednesday, July 11.

— Matthias Merges’ West Loop restaurant, Gideon Sweet, kicks off weekend brunch service on Saturday, eight months after the collaboration with Graham Elliot opened on Randolph Street. Brunch goes from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday with patio seating available. Read executive chef Joe Doren’s menu below. Highlights include a duck-fat biscuit, cinnamon monkey bread, and cocktails like a roasted tomato and garlic Bloody Mary.

Etta, the new Bucktown restaurant from the owners of Maple & Ash, opens in 11 days. It won’t be a full opening on July 16. Just the first floor will debut at 1840 W. North Avenue — the rooftop will open at another date. The Tribune has more details on the menu.

— Earlier this week, Red Beard Coffee Traders closed at 1948 W. North Avenue. The coffee shop was noteworthy because of the presence of TV host and entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis. Lemonis, of CNBC’s The Profit, brought a California-based coffee chain to Chicago in hopes of opening more locations. It’s the same space he hoped to work with Phil Tadros of Bow Truss coffee fame. Neither coffee chain worked, and now Block Club Chicago reports NYC Bagel Deli will working with Lemonis to open its third location — its first location is a few blocks east from the Wicker Park spot at the corner of North and Sheffield. The bagel spot would be more or less across the street from BroBagel, the bagel spot owned by Piece Pizza’s Bill Jacobs. Red Beard lasted less than eight months.

AMK Kitchen Bar, the first restaurant from a group that operates the Gringo in West Town, has temporarily closed in Bucktown. A Facebook post stated that the Bucktown restaurant “will be closing for a short time as we undergo an exciting re-concept of the space.” It’s unclear what those changes exactly will be, as a spokesperson didn’t respond with details. Whatever will pop up, Gigi Downing — a recent graduate of Kendall College and caterer — will helm the concept. She’s a Brazilian chef and her catering company’s called Azul Foods.

— Diners who like to eat at the bar have good news at El Che Bar. Starting on Wednesday, July 18, the West Loop restaurant launches a five-course, bi-monthly, and rotating dinner series that will feature the cuisines of a particular South American country. Chef/owner John Manion’s dinners will feature paired beverages from beverage director Jacyara de Oliveira. Next week’s series kicks off focusing on Uruguay. The dinners have 14 spot per seating and cost $105.20 per person. Check out the menu and snag a ticket at the link.

Gideon Sweet

841 West Randolph Street, , IL 60607 (312) 888-2258 Visit Website

Holiday Club

4000 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60613 (773) 348-9600 Visit Website

AMK Kitchen Bar

1954 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 276-4400

El Che Bar

845 West Washington Boulevard, , IL 60607 (312) 265-1130 Visit Website


1931 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 772-4422 Visit Website

Maple & Ash

8 West Maple Street, , IL 60610 (312) 944-8888 Visit Website

The Gringo

1202 West Grand Avenue, , IL 60642 (312) 265-1655 Visit Website