“The Hangtime Experience” is abruptly cancelled before NBA All Star Game
NBA pop-up the Hangtime Experience was supposed to launch Thursday and run through All-Star Weekend with DJs, basketball-themed food and drinks, and decor at the Bar 10 Doors, 1251 W. Taylor Street. An ominous note on the event website, however, indicates that it won’t go ahead as planned: “Event cancelled we are processing refunds,” the site reads, though there’s no notice of a cancellation on its Facebook page. The pop-up’s logo looked similar to the NBA’s, which has caused speculation that the association’s attorneys may not have been happy with the operation. Of course, it could be poor tickets sales or a myriad of other factors. Organizers have not responded to a request for information on the cancellation.
Reservation portal Tock announces diner profiles, “digital concierge service”
Tock, the restaurant reservation portal from Nick Kokonas, Grant Achatz (Alinea, Next), and Brian Fitzpatrick, announced “digital concierge service” Tock Time yesterday, according to a news release. It’ll consist of three primary services, rolled out this year: the Wishlist (for booking special occasions and hard-to-get tables), InstantBook (like “Tinder for your tastebuds,” it allows diners to browse reservations with a swipe), and the Tock Timeline (a running list of past bookings, special occasion reminders, and alerts for local events and openings). The Diner Profile Page feature is available now (for free!), offering patrons a place to list preferences, allergies, and food restrictions, which are then passed to the restaurant when the reservation is made. It also allows for private interaction among members, the Trib notes, with the stipulation that company “will not publish your ratings or opinions, ever.” Stay tuned for updates and pricing for the concierge service rollout.
Updated mobile food truck licenses allowing four-hour parking are live
Improvements to the city’s mobile food vendor licenses went into effect on February 1. Changes also include a new mobile food preparer license. Both last for two years, are renewable, and cost $250. The licenses also bring Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to double Chicago food truck parking time to fruition, extending the maximum time in a single location from two hours to four. Local food truck operators have expressed support for the extension, but some say they’ve become so accustomed to a two-hour slot that the change won’t have much impact on day-to-day operations.
Industry publication names chef Sarah Grueneberg “Innovator of the Year”
Industry publication Nation’s Restaurant News named chef Sarah Grueneberg of Eater 38 restaurant Monteverde “MenuMasters Innovator of the Year,” and will honor her at its MenuMasters Gala at the Drake Hotel on May 16. The award, which has previously gone to chefs including Paul Kahan (the Publican) and fellow Top Chef alum Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat) is designed for “chefs or operators at chains or independent restaurants who bring a new dynamic or style to food and dining.” The Texas native was a season 9 Top Chef finalist who gained notoriety in Chicago under the tutelage of Tony Mantuano at Italian juggernaut Spiaggia. She opened Monteverde in 2015 and earned a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes two years later.
James Beard Foundation looks in the mirror for 2020 awards theme
The James Beard Foundation announced the theme of the 2020 James Beard Awards will be...the James Beard Awards. For the 30th anniversary of the awards — they began in 1990 — organizers plan “to commemorate the past, honor the present, and look to the future” by tracing the individuals and events that produced the “dynamic and ever enlightening food and restaurant community” of today. This year will also include a two-day “activation” of the James Beard Awards House at the Old Post Office, 433 W. Van Buren Street, including talks on pressing industry topics such as sustainability, racial equity, and wine tariffs. Details on programming and more are available online. The gala returns to Chicago on May 4.
Annual festival I Heart Halal plans its return to Navy Pier
I Heart Halal, a “halal lifestyle festival” that first launched in 2018, is back for its third year at Navy Pier on April 17-19, according to a news release. Last year, organizers integrated their experience from the festival’s somewhat chaotic debut, expanding the food court and number of vendors. There are no specifics yet on food offerings, events, or performances (Lupe Fiasco appeared last year), but hours and more are available on the event website. Stay tuned for details on the food vendor lineup.
Ukrainian Village restaurant sales sag as customers assume closure
And finally, January sales at Tecalitlan, a Ukrainian Village Mexican restaurant, sagged over the month, but ownership doesn’t think it’s just due to the normal winter slump at 1814 W. Chicago Avenue. Co-owner Karla Garcia and family believe a broken sign has caused passersby to mistakenly think the restaurant has closed. Garcia wrote that the sign was hit by a delivery truck in December and they thought it was salvageable until high winds caused further damage. They finally ordered a new sign in mid-January, but the custom-airbrushed order has taken longer than expected. A few passersby have emailed Eater Chicago claiming the restaurant has been closed due to the sign issue. Garcia said sales were down last month by 20 percent making January 2020 “probably the worst we’ve seen since the recession in 2008.” The new sign should arrive soon, but until then, give the restaurant some love.
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards.