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Over-the-Top, Instagram Bait Milkshakes Coming to Water Tower Place

Despite an ongoing lawsuit, JoJo’s Milk Bar plans to expand

A hot chocolate in a cup loaded with whipped cream and a chocolate pretzel.
JoJo’s Shake Bar’s “BIGGIE Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate.”
Castle Hospitality Group [Official Photo]
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.

JoJo’s Milk Bar, one of River North’s Instagram-friendly, over-the-top milkshake peddlers, is opening a second location off the Mag Mile. Ownership plans to soon launch a stall, JoJo’s Shake Bar, on the second-floor mezzanine of Water Tower Place that’s replacing an Amazon kiosk inside the venerable urban downtown shopping center. It’ll focus on sweets, and won’t serve the burgers and other savory options that JoJo’s offers at its original location on Hubbard Street.

Ownership, the same group behind Shore Club — the restaurant and bar off North Avenue Beach — wants its new shake bar to complement the shopping center’s stores. A dessert station serving salted-caramel hot chocolates, cookies, and Oreo shakes could benefit the parents and children fleeing the nearby Lego Store during the holiday shopping rush. They describe the Water Tower opening as a push toward expansion for the brand. According to a news release, JoJo’s ownership, Castle Hospitality Group, will next year open more locations in Chicago and other Midwestern cities.

A computer rendering of a shake kiosk with a natural wood counter and ice cream machines.
A rendering of JoJo’s Shake Bar.
Castle Hospitality Group [Official Rendering]

JoJo’s Milk Bar opened in February and would later gain nationwide attention for its name, the subject of a lawsuit filed in April by the ownership of Milk Bar, the New York-based bakery mega-chain from star chef and cookbook author Christina Tosi. Her legal team claimed JoJo’s branding confused consumers in Chicago into thinking it was associated with their company. They demanded JoJo’s drop all references to “milk bar.” Tosi confirmed that she was eyeing Chicago for expansion before filing the lawsuit.

Jojo’s upcoming Water Tower Place location does not contain “milk bar” in its name. It also doesn’t serve savory items, which could be the reason behind the different moniker. A spokesperson for Tosi’s Milk Bar declined comment. Daliah Saper, JoJo’s Milk Bar’s attorney, confirmed the lawsuit is still ongoing, but had no further comment. The branding has remained the same on JoJo’s glasses.

There’s no opening date for JoJo’s Shake Bar, but with shoppers prepping for Black Friday next week, it should be soon. Stay tuned for updates.

Water Tower Place

835 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 440-3166 Visit Website

JoJo's Milk Bar

23 West Hubbard Street, , IL 60654 (312) 624-8963 Visit Website