— The folks behind the dearly-departed Bar DeVille will open their highly-anticipated new bar in Wicker Park tomorrow. Neon Wilderness, from acclaimed bartender Brad Bolt in partnership with Heisler Hospitality (Sportsman’s Club, Bad Hunter), is a throwback neighborhood cocktail and beer bar at 1270 N. Milwaukee Avenue inspired by the neighborhood’s Polish history and named after a short story collection by local author Nelson Algren. Expect outstanding happy hour deals such as a Revolution Cross of Gold can and a shot for $5, cocktails such as the “Polish Broadway” — a twist on an old fashioned made with Zubrowka vodka — and Bolt’s acclaimed “Hard Sell” (gin, Malort, St. Germain, lemon), according to a news release and Block Club. Stay tuned for more details and a look around.
— Mason, the fancy companion restaurant to the newly-opened karaoke and cocktail bar Blind Dragon, will open on August 30 in the Found Hotel Chicago in River North. It will be a high-end steak and seafood chophouse, reps say, with a swanky interior that includes a mirrored ceiling, marble bar, leather booths, and dry-aged steaks. It’s the first restaurant for h. wood Group outside of Los Angeles.
— Michelin-starred Elizabeth Restaurant in Lincoln Square will be the latest Chicago restaurant to give props to Harry Potter. Iliana Regan and crew will launch a menu in January and February with dishes inspired by J.K. Rowling’s fictional wizardry books, the restaurant revealed in an email blast which was subsequently reported by Block Club. Look for “Harry Potter Inspirations” tickets to go on sale in late September.
— An investigative story in Inc. alleges that Chicago-based entrepreneur and The Profit star Marcus Lemonis “preys on the very companies he’s claiming to save.” Lemonis was behind the suburban The Simple Greek restaurants in Skokie and Highland Park and Red Beard Coffee Traders in Wicker Park, which are now closed. He’s also embroiled in lawsuits with Bow Truss’ Phil Tadros after pulling out of a deal to acquire the coffee shop chain.
— Chicago-based Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea, the mini-chain with locations in Bucktown and at the Chicago Athletic Association hotel which features coffee from an array of acclaimed roasters, opens a Los Angeles expansion today.
— The fifth annual “Charlie Trotter Days” kicks off today as acclaimed restaurants locally and around the country offer dishes, drinks, and full menus to honor the iconic chef and raise money for the nonprofit Trotter Project through August 19. Local restaurants taking part this year include Au Cheval, Bellemore, Etta, Girl & the Goat, The Duck Inn, and Topolobampo. Check out the full list and details here.
— And finally, Desira Miller, a bartender at Lost Lake for three years, was hit by a CTA bus on Friday night while riding her bike and suffered a compound fracture in her leg, broken rib, broken arm and fractured her skull, WGN9 reports. Look for the Tales of the Cocktail Best American Cocktail Bar to hold drink specials and raffles to raise money to get her back on her feet.