Local bar owner, inspired by monks, gives up food in favor of beer for Lent
This year, a Chicago bar owner is opting for a historic take on Lent (the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter celebrated by Christians) by eschewing food in favor of beer, a practice originated by Bavarian Paulaner monks in the 17th Century, according to Chicago. Pat Berger, owner of bacon-centric Paddy Long’s in Lakeview and Kaiser Tiger in the West Loop, is sustaining himself with four doppelbocks (the style of beer consumed by monks at the Neudeck ob der Au cloister over their 40-day fast) per day. He’s also consuming coffee, tea, water, and vitamins. Berger is chronicling his beer-focused lenten experience on Paddy Long’s website, and has already lost 20 pounds, the Tribune reported.
Chicago’s tiniest dive bar sold and Silver Palm could be revived
The Matchbox, Chicago’s smallest bar (and one of the city’s best) nestled in River West, was sold in late February, according to journalist Dave Hoekstra. Local bar owners and restaurateurs Gregg Weinstein and Kevin Killerman (Blind Robin, Rex Tavern) purchased the business at 770 N. Milwaukee Avenue, and “plan to lovingly restore the hearty brick Matchbox and eventually reopen the historic Silver Palm dining car next door.” The Silver Palm, a 45-seat spot inside a chrome railcar on the southeast corner of Milwaukee, Chicago, and Ogden, closed in 2018. In a 2008 visit for his series No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain brought fame to the Silver Palm. He declared its Three Little Pigs, “the greatest sandwich in America.” The spotlight helped save the business by bringing in more customers.
Ballast Point to temporarily close in Fulton Market, revamp menu and space
The newish owners of the Ballast Point brewpub in Fulton Market will close temporarily due to a “city liquor license hang up” and use the time to refresh the menu and space, according to the Tribune. In a surprise move last year, Suburban-based Kings & Convicts Brewing Co. bought Ballast Point from Constellation Brands — the owner of the American rights to Corona, Modelo, and more. Over the course of the closure, ownership wants to work both the beer brand’s California roots and some Chicago touches into the still-developing menu. The spot at 212 N. Green Street has operated with counter service since it opened in 2018. Now owners plan to add some table service, particularly during the lunch rush. Dates for the temporary closure are not yet available.
Ramenfest moves to Time Out Market Chicago
Tickets are now available for the sixth annual Ramenfest, a festival that celebrates the culture and creativity of ramen, which will be held this year for the first time at Time Out Market Chicago. Bill Kim (Urbanbelly), who is also a vendor at the market, will host 20 chefs including Time Out chefs Abe Conlon (Fat Rice), Thai Dang (HaiSous), and Brian Enyart and Jennifer Jones Enyart (Dos Urban Cantina). General admission tickets ($80) guarantee festival goers a tasting portion of each ramen offering, plus two drink tickets and an Urbanbelly gift card. The event runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on March 29 at 916 W. Fulton Market. Tickets are available online.
Jeppson’s Malört gets the barrel-aged treatment
The company behind Jeppson’s Malört, Chicago’s famously bitter and beloved spirit, has warned fans to be on the lookout for special barrel-aged malört bottles at local bars, according to a Facebook post. The concoction is aged in whiskey and rum barrels, and as supplies are limited, may not be around for long. CH Distillery purchased the brand from Carl Jeppson Co.’s last full-time worker in 2018.
Sox pitcher drops $25K restaurant tab (in Arizona)
And finally, Chicago White Sox pitcher Dallas Keuchel, a Cy Young award winner and World Series champion, managed to spend around $25,000 hosting a dinner for 125 at an unnamed Arizona restaurant, according to USA Today. In what is virtually an unheard-of practice, Keuchel invited every player in the White Sox major-league clubhouse, along with the entire coaching staff, attendants, trainers, batboys, equipment managers, secretaries, and front-office employees, along with spouses and partners. He simply wanted to get to know everyone, he told reporters. Keuchel in the offseason, signed a three-year, $55.5 million free-agent contract with the White Sox. Keuchel, via Twitter, did not respond to a request to reveal the restaurant’s name.