Chicago bars, breweries, and restaurants that serve alcohol are now required to close by midnight at the latest, effective immediately, the Sun-Times reported. That’s an hour later than the city’s prior mandated closing time for bars. Officials say they aim to prevent “late-night congregating that could occur after the cutoff of sales,” perhaps like the scene captured on video in a Wrigleyville bar Sunday night.
Sales must end at 11 p.m. (or at 9 p.m. for to-go drinks), while customers can stay until midnight. After 12 a.m., these establishments can offer food for curbside pickup or delivery, as long as customers don’t enter the space. Restaurants without a liquor license aren’t bound by the same time limits.
Several states, in reaction to spikes in case numbers around the country, are again shutting down restaurants and bars — a disastrous financial proposition for both operators and workers. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has previously threatened to shut down Chicago bars and restaurants that don’t abide by the city’s rules, and businesses that fail to enforce face covering rules will be cited to the tune of $10,000.
And in other news...
— The team behind shuttered Detroit-style pizza spot Longacre is bringing back some of its most popular vegan items for a weekends-only operation, according to co-owner Andy Kalish. In September 2019, Kalish and wife Gina closed the vegan-friendly pizza restaurant and transformed the space into Sam & Gertie’s, arguably the world’s first vegan Jewish deli. Now both businesses will run out of space at 1309 W. Wilson Avenue. Staff will offer carryout, delivery, and sidewalk cafe service from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Menu items include vegan pizzas like “Red Devil” and “Motor City Derby,” along with a few salads, meat-free Buffalo “clucker” nuggets, “Wisconsin twice-baked potato” bread sticks, and fresh-squeezed lemon slush via an Italian slushy machine.
— Plans to close 75th Street in Grand Crossing and 26th Street in Little Village for outdoor dining have been scrapped over nearby business owners’s concerns about losing badly-needed customers to street vendors, as well as potential issues with public safety, according to Streetsblog Chicago.
— Beer gimmicks are a thing, even during a pandemic. In 2017, Revolution Brewing went to Craigslist to hire tuba players. Last year, Goose Island Beer Co. made fools of football fans trying to kick field goals outside its Fulton Market facility. Now, Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing is dipping into ‘80s nostalgic for its next stunt.
Beer-drinking Back to the Future fans can start dusting off their Members Only jackets for craft beer company New Belgium Brewing’s splashy release stunt for its latest entry in its IPA range, Voodoo Ranger 1985 IPA, On Wednesday, the company will deliver six-packs of the new hazy mango brew to “a lucky few around the city” in an ‘80s sports car, according to a rep. That car is a DeLorean, the time-traveling vessel that took Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) on a history lesson.
— The Riverwalk returns to pre-pandemic hours Friday, city officials announced, removing some restrictions implemented when it initially reopened to the public in June, according to the Sun-Times. The Riverwalk will be open to both visitors and vendors from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., and face coverings are still required.
— Lincoln Park is the latest neighborhood to hop on the street dining bandwagon with Feast on Lincoln, which will close Lincoln Avenue to vehicular traffic between Wrightwood and Fullerton starting Saturday, according to a news release. More than nearby 10 restaurants are participating in the six-weekend event, including Israeli and Middle Eastern mega-hit Galit, casual Mexican restaurant Takito Street, and Wisconsin-inspired Millie’s Supper Club. Street dining will be open from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays, weather permitting. Details and a full list of participating restaurants are available online.
— Not to be outdone, Lakeview is expanding its street dining opportunities with two new outdoor seating areas. Dine Out West Lakeview starts Friday at Cornelia & Southport avenues and Wellington & Lincoln avenues for customers who order takeout food from participating restaurants, such as empanada destination Cafe Tola and Midwestern-focused Farm Bar. Staff will offer drink service in the outdoor dining spaces. Hours and details are available online.
— Eleven Eleven, a Black-owned West Loop bar and restaurant, has launched a new menu with the assistance of a familiar name. Chef Charles Welch has developed a new menu for the restaurant and it represents a return for Welsh. Welsh was the opening chef at Honey’s, the restaurant the inhabited the space before Eleven Eleven. Welch has gone on to open Good Fortune in Logan Square, and has a few upcoming projects. That includes a revamp of Happy Village, the beloved Ukrainian Village dive bar that closed earlier this year.
— In other chef news, Cobblestone, the European restaurant that replaced the Northman in North Center has a new chef. They’ve brought on Reggie Wilbon (Chicago Cut, Ja Grill). He’ll be assisted by Ian Schuster (retained from The Northman). The dining room reopens Friday.