Lauded Boka chef Lee Wolen to open a rotisserie chicken spot
Acclaimed Chicago chef Lee Wolen (Boka, Somerset) will turn his passion for chicken into a full-time vocation at his forthcoming Revival Food Hall stall GG’s Chicken Shop and Rotisserie in the Loop, according to the Tribune. Named for Wolen’s mother Geri (who goes by “GG”) the spot will offer quarter, half, or whole rotisserie chickens and Somerset’s fried chicken sandwich, as well as soups, salads, and vegetarian alternatives. The 2014 Eater Chicago Chef of the Year hopes to open the stall in March at 125 S. Clark Street.
Beloved Wire star Wood Harris visits Marz Community Brewing
Bridgeport’s Marz Community Brewing welcomed a celebrity customer this weekend, founder Ed Marszewski wrote in a Facebook post with an accompanying photograph for proof: Wood Harris, best known for his portrayal of Baltimore kingpin Avon Barksdale on HBO hit the Wire, popped in to the brewery Saturday to “talk about beverages” with Marszewski. Born in Chicago, Harris earned his undergraduate degree in theater from Northern Illinois University and also appeared in hit shows and movies such as Empire and Remember the Titans.
Beverage giant Keurig Dr Pepper acquires Chicago company Limitless
Texas-based beverage giant Keurig Dr Pepper is acquiring Limitless, a Chicago company from the founder of health-focused cafe chain Protein Bar that produces “lightly caffeinated” sparking water, coffee, and tea drinks, Crain’s reported. Limitless founder Matt Matros, who currently operates retail locations in Fulton Market and the West Loop, has gotten his products onto shelves at chain retailers including Mariano’s and Walmart, and sells through Amazon online. There’ll be more info on how this will impact the cafes soon, so keep an eye out for details.
Owners of West Town brunch darling WHISK say closure is temporary
WHISK, the West Town brunch darling, unexpectedly closed earlier this month, but ownership hopes it’s only a temporary setback. Co-owner Rick Rodriguez — who was working the line at former Eater Chicago 38 member Big Jones in Andersonville and recently took over as head chef/kitchen manager at River North’s Concrete Cowboy and Clutch — said WHISK, 2018 W. Chicago Avenue, closed due to plumbing problems. His brother, David Rodriguez, is the chef. They’re waiting for the landlord to make repairs, but it’s been taking longer than expected. Rick Rodriguez hopes to be back open in April along with minor repairs for the restaurant. However, the restaurant’s lease is up in May and the brothers are pondering their future at this location. Rodriguez closed a spin-off restaurant, Son of a Butcher by WHISK, in the summer. Stay tuned.
Annual barbecue and music fest Windy City Smokeout announces meaty lineup
The annual Windy City Smokeout will return for its eighth year on July 10 - 12 with 22 barbecue experts from Chicago, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, and beyond. The event will feature repeat favorites such as Chicago’s Smoque and Lillie’s Q, as well as new entries including Los Angeles’s Slab Barbecue and Meat Mitch from Kansas City. Festival-goers can also buy access to a kick-off happy hour, barbecue brunch, cocktail classes, and whiskey tastings, and take in tunes from 15 music acts including Grammy award-winner Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish fame. Passes ($49 - $500) are available for purchase online.
Iconic Logan Square bar and restaurant Longman & Eagle celebrates 10 years
Logan Square icon Longman & Eagle will celebrate its 10th anniversary next week with a community party February 3 (a nod to the venue’s notoriously wild Monday nights) from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with food, drinks, and music. Also, from now through February 1, patrons can order off a special menu that offers a brief retrospective on its many food and drink hits, tracing back to the work of founding chef Jared Wentworth (Dusek’s Board and Beer, Promontory). A rep also promises a bartending lineup of “familiar faces.”
All-women charity bartending competition Speed Rack kicks off tonight
And finally, all-women charity bartending competition Speed Rack kicks off its annual event tonight at Pilsen’s Thalia Hall at 6 p.m., according to a rep. 24 female bartenders will show off their speed and skill by creating cocktails selected from a list of 50 industry-standard recipes, which judges will grade based on accuracy, taste, and presentation, eventually naming the winner the USA Speed Rack Champion 2020. Local competitors include Evangeline Avila (the Violet Hour), Amy Bird Lou (Victor Bar, Love Street), and Leah Schoenburg (the Dandy Crown). Tickets ($25) are available online, and 100 percent of proceeds go to breast cancer-related non-profits Pink Agenda and Bright Pink.