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Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar to Pop Up in Chicago This Summer

Cereal milk soft serve and more is coming to Big Star Wicker Park in July

Milk Bar is on a national tour.
Milk Bar/Mackenzie Smith Kelly
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.

Renowned pastry chef Christina Tosi is finally bringing Milk Bar to Chicago this summer, well, at least for two days. Milk Bar, a New York bakery founded in 2008, (and rumored interested in opening a Chicago outpost), is popping up for two dates in July at Big Star, the popular summer taco stop in Wicker Park. Tosi, a Beard Award winner, will bring her desserts to Chicago on July 20 and 21.

The Milk Bar popups will serve desserts including cereal milk soft serve with cornflake crunch, compost cookies, Milk Bar pie (née “Crack Pie”), and cake truffles. A news release also touts “menu item collaborations at partner restaurants.” They’ll also have Milk Bar merchandise for sale.

The Chicago stops are part of a larger national tour for Milk Bar. The chain has already held pop-ups in Austin, Texas, another market rumored ripe for Milk Bar expansion. Perhaps these are city auditions for Milk Bar. Other stops are Dallas, Minneapolis, and Miami. A Milk Bar rep told Eater that they picked the tour’s cities based on the most demand, where they get the most requests to open a bakery. Chicago is among the most popular markets on its eCommerce site, the spokesperson added. Milk Bar last appeared in Chicago in 2016 at Lollapalooza, but this is its first dedicated pop up.

The pop-up up comes while Milk Bar is engaged in a legal battle with a Chicago restaurant over its name. In April, attorneys for Milk Bar accused JoJo’s Milk Bar of copyright infringement. Tosi’s lawyers demanded JoJo’s to change names and destroy all milkshake glasses and other products bearing the River North restaurant’s name and logo. They claim JoJo’s Milk Bar confuses customers into thinking they’re associated with Tosi’s Milk Bar.

JoJo’s opened in February and last month denied they violated any trademarks. Lawyers for both sides last convened in court on June 6. They’ve decided to switch judges in the case as they prep for a potential trial. The Milk Bar rep declined comment on the case.

The pop-ups at Big Star are from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, July 21. Expect long lines, just like when Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Zingerman’s Deli popped up in Chicago earlier this year.

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