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Chicago Aldermen Want Proof of Vaccination for Bar and Restaurant Customers

Also, El Milagro’s tortillas are nearly impossible to find in grocery stores

Baltimore Orioles v Chicago White Sox - Game One
Chicago could require proof of vaccination for public spaces.
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

A group of Chicago aldermen want to require customers to prove they’re vaccinated to dine and drink inside the city’s bars and restaurants. In a letter sent Tuesday to Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, the aldermen cited the rapid spread of the delta variant, the threat of future COVID-19 variants, the wide availability of vaccines, and the inevitable arrival of cold winter weather that will push Chicagoans indoors, according to the Tribune.

As Trib reporter Gregory Pratt notes, the eight council members who signed include a mix of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s critics, like Ald. (35th Ward) Carlos Rosa and allies like Ald. (43rd Ward) Michele Smith. The group calls on city health officials to mandate proof of vaccination for everyone visiting public indoor settings, including bars and restaurants, following the lead of places like New York City and San Francisco: “We believe it’s time to do the same,” the letter reads.

Lightfoot questioned the letter, wondering why it came from Rosa instead of Ald. (6th Ward) Roderick Sawyer, chair of the city’s health and human relations committee. Sawyer’s name wasn’t among the eight on the letter.

It remains to be seen whether Arwady will pursue such a requirement. In early August, she expressed interest in the idea but said there was no immediate plan for the city to pursue it. In the meantime, more than 70 local bar, restaurant, and music venues have instituted their own rules that require patrons to show proof of vaccination. Some have caveats that allow customers who can provide negative COVID-19 tests within 48 or 72 hours prior to entry.

Chicago officials did reinstate a mask mandate last month for public indoor spaces, requiring people age two and older wear a face covering that should only be removed while “actively eating or drinking.” Investigators from the city’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection department say they’ve issued more than 30 citations to business owners who haven’t enforced masking rules.

And in other news...

— Chicago is seeing a serious run on its popular El Milagro tortillas, which have become virtually impossible to find on grocery store shelves, according to WGN News. Many desperate customers have reportedly rerouted to the company’s factory stores, forming long lines. Demand is so high that signs in the store say that shoppers are now limited to five packets of tortillas per family. There are also reports of restaurants struggling to order supplies and they’ve resorted to buying tortillas from rivals like El Popo Tortilla.

— A pair of Logan Square heavy-hitters, brewery hub Pilot Project and New American restaurant Daisies, this month have teamed up on a vermouth-inspired hard kombucha called Bloom, according to a rep. Available for a limited time at both venues ($14.99 per 500 mL bottle), the fermented drink aims to hit notes of strawberry, rhubarb, orange blossom, and lemon.

A bottle sits beside a glass of orange-pink kombucha on a wooden table outside
Bloom, a limited-edition hard kombucha from Daisies and Pilot Project
Emily O’Keeffe

— New York export Verve Wine and Provisions will launch brunch service on Sunday for the first time in Lincoln Park, according to a rep. Patrons can expect a menu of sweet and savory items like brown butter ricotta pancakes, steak and eggs, spritzy cocktails, and plenty of wines by the glass. Brunch will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sundays at 2349 N. Lincoln Avenue.

A selection of brunch food on plates.
Verve’s new brunch.
Verve Wine and Provisions

— The late Chicago culinary legend Charlie Trotter would have marked his 62nd birthday on Wednesday. The charitable organization, the Trotter Project, marked the occasion on Facebook by touting Love, Charlie, a forthcoming documentary about the famous chef. The movie was announced in 2019.

— DeKalb High School valedictorian Cindy Crawford dined on Wednesday at posh riverside restaurant RPM Seafood with a group of friends, according to a Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises rep. The celebrated supermodel dined on dishes like miso black cod, and citrus-cured salmon. No word if they sat at the same table as Dave Matthews and family.

El Milagro Tortillas

2919 South Western Avenue, , IL 60608 (773) 650-1614 Visit Website

Verve Wine + Provisions

2349 North Lincoln Avenue, , IL 60614 (773) 904-8536 Visit Website

RPM Seafood

317 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 900-9035 Visit Website

Pilot Project Brewing

2140 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 270-5995 Visit Website


2375 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 697-9443 Visit Website