Longtime Alderman charged with attempting to extort owners of Laquan McDonald Burger King
A longtime Chicago city council member is tangled in a pay-to-play scandal involving fast-food giant Burger King. Southwest Side Alderman (14th Ward) Ed Burke was charged with attempting to extort the owners of the Burger King at 4060 S. Pulaski Road, as he allegedly demanded money in exchange for remodeling permits for the Archer Heights restaurant. Burger King was only described as “Company A” in the federal complaint released on Thursday — a fast-food company with more than 100 locations in Illinois — but various news sources, including the Tribune, identified the company as BK. Burke also asked a Burger King owner to attend political fundraisers in exchange for the permit, according to the complaint. Another wrinkle with this particular Burger King is that it was involved in the Laquan McDonald case in which a Chicago police officer was convicted of second-degree murder after Jason Van Dyke shot the 17 year old in 2014. The shooting occurred near the restaurant and its owners cooperated with the investigation. Burger King corporate ignored requests for comment on the Burke affair. This morning, Burke resigned from his as spot as the city council’s finance chairman, according to the Sun-Times.
Chicago Restaurant Week is coming soon with raised prices
A new year means many new things — including that the latest Chicago Restaurant Week will soon arrive. Reservations are live for the 2019 edition, the Tribune first reported, which runs from January 25 until February 7. Nearly 400 restaurants are taking part in the 12th annual promotion, including hotspots Aba, Pacific Standard Time, and many more. But prices have also been raised for the first time in years — lunches and brunches now cost $24 and dinners are $36 or $48, up from $33 or $44 — which was noted by Chicago magazine. Head here for a full list of participants and reservations.
A basement cocktail lounge opens in River West
Chit Chat Lounge, the subterranean spot below new bar and eatery the Swill Inn, officially opened on New Year’s Eve. Check out the menu which features punch bowls and snacks. It’s supposed to be more of a party atmosphere with DJs and a dance floor. The entrance is around the corner at 416 N. Des Plaines Street.
Staff exodus continues at Trump’s Chicago restaurant
There’s another staffing change at Terrace 16, the restaurant inside Trump Tower Chicago. Restaurant director Adam Stark on Friday morning announced via Facebook that he’s leaving. He’s a holdover from Sixteen, the two-Michelin-starred restaurant that formerly occupied the space before the more-casual Terrace 16 opened five months ago. Stark is just the latest to leave since the restaurant’s debut at the end of June — chef Nick Dostal joined Alinea Group in December and sommelier Parag Lalit left in the fall. Terrace 16 has been met with mixed reviews.
Chicago’s oldest restaurant should open its new location soon
Daley’s Restaurant, Chicago’s oldest eatery on the South Side, is nearly ready to move into its new digs. The Chicago Crusader checked in on its status and snapped a few photos of the new exterior at 63rd Street and Cottage Grove in Woodlawn. The opening date for the new location of the 127-year-old classic has been pushed back multiple times but it should be announced soon.
Bottled Blonde one of three downtown spots shut down on New Year’s Eve
And finally, embattled River North barstaurant Bottled Blonde was shut down by Chicago Police on New Year’s Eve for overcrowding, Block Club reports. Two other nearby spots — Vermilion and Concrete Cowboy — were also forced to close for the night. All three reopened on their next business dates. Bottled Blonde’s next court date for the city’s liquor license revocation charges is January 14.