Though spring has begun to tease Chicago with occasional warm and sunny days, most Chicagoans know not to trust that winter is over. But locals are primed to seize those moments of seasonal optimism — as are chefs across the city who are embarking on creative collaborations and events in bars and restaurants around town. Follow along for a sampling of the best the city has to offer in this week’s Eater Chicago’s pop-up round up.
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Bucktown: Venerable bar and venue the Hideout will on Saturday bring back its annual South by Southwest Send-Off showcase of Chicago bands en route to the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas, which was canceled for the past two years due to the pandemic, This year’s send-off will feature singer-songwriters Liam Kazar (also behind Persian pop-up restaurant Isfahan) and Half Gringa, as well as Welsh punk singer Jon Langford and electronic artist Ness Heads, according to Block Club Chicago. Tickets will cost $15 at the door and more details are available online. SXSW Send-Off at the Hideout, Doors open at 2 p.m., 1354 W. Wabansia Avenue.
Irving Park/Albany Park: Chicago Reader’s Monday Night Foodball pop-up series continues on Monday, March 7, with a “Hot Mix Beef” from Titus Ruscitti of Chi BBQ King (and an Eater contributor) and Eric May of Easy Eats Chi. The pair plan to pay homage to the Italian beef sandwiches they grew up eating with a menu of beef, sausage, mushroom, and combo sandwiches with hot or sweet peppers, plus two types of potato salad and Garrett Popcorn-inspired “Chicago Mix” cheesecake. Pre-orders are available via CashDrop. Hot Mix Beef at the Kedzie Inn, 5 p.m. Monday, March 7, 4100 N. Kedzie Avenue.
Logan Square: Chef Jennifer Kim’s (Passerotto) experimental hospitality project AltEconomy is offering seafood-focused “vaffanculo box for two” available for pickup at Exfolia Botanical in Logan Square and limited delivery on Saturday, according to an Instagram post. The box is part of Kim’s newish series of curing-focused sub-projects, dubbed Bad Manners (Google “vaffanculo,” it makes sense) and includes tuna bresaola, hot-smoked hamachi, Roelli Dunbarton blue cheese, tomato conserva, and more. Diners can place pre-orders via AltEcon’s website. AltEconomy/Bad Manners at Exfolia Botanical, Saturday, March 5, 3608 W. Wrightwood Avenue.
West Loop: Atomic Hospitality, the group behind the massive indoor-outdoor bar and restaurant Recess will on Tuesday hold a preview “taco Tuesday” pop-up to build buzz around Tabú, its forthcoming pan-Latin restaurant scheduled to open in this spring the same neighborhood. A menu isn’t yet available, but executive chef Saúl Román is expected to give patrons a taste of what they can expect from the new spot. Reservations are available via OpenTable. Tabú “Taco Tuesday” at Recess, 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8, 838 W. Kinzie Street.
West Town: “Clandestine” dining pop-up Upperclub Chicago is sold out for its first Metamorphosis dinner on Saturday but will hold another on Tuesday, according to a Facebook post. Offerings will include small plates like beef heart tartare (preserved yolk, tarragon miso) alongside larger ones including mushrooms with kimchi (yolk shirodashi, rice fritter). A full menu and tickets are available via Eventbrite. Metamorphosis at Upperclub Chicago, 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8, 741 N. Bishop Street.
Andersonville: Chef Paul Fehribach (who yesterday earned a James Beard Award semifinalist nomination for Best Chef: Great Lakes) and his team at the acclaimed Southern restaurant Big Jones are going all-out for Mardi Gras 2022. The robust dinner menu includes three types of gumbo (ya-ya, z’herbes, and Creole seafood okra), five kinds of po’boys, barbecued jumbo Louisiana white shrimp, alligator and andouille sauce piquant, and much more. Naturally, bartenders are ready to enhance the experience with boozy hurricanes, sazeracs, and daiquiris. Patrons can also buy whole king cakes (serves 6-8). Mardi Gras at Big Jones, Available now through Tuesday, March 1, 5347 N. Clark Street.
Bucktown: Lottie’s Pub this year will bring back its popular Fat Tuesday ritual: a double showing of 2017 comedy Girls Trip along with canned hurricanes and sazeracs via Ina Mae Tavern, Cajun chicken sandwiches, shrimp tacos, and gumbo, according to an Instagram post. Diners can book individual outdoor tents, dubbed Camp Lottie, on the pub’s website. Fat Tuesday at Camp Lottie’s, 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, 1925 W. Cortland Street.
Edgewater: Cajun and creole staple Pearl’s Southern Comfort has unveiled a Mardi Gras menu that includes fried Louisiana alligator bites, powdered sugar-dusted beignets, and king cake from Gambino’s in New Orleans, according to an Instagram post. Bartenders are also slinging hurricanes, Walking on Sunshines (gin, apertivo spritz, sparkling wine), and Grandma Pearl’s hot bourbon cider. On Sunday, musicians Eddie Torrez & Los Cool Shades will play classic NOLA tunes. The celebration kicks off at noon on Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras at Pearl’s Southern Comfort, Available now through Tuesday, March 1, 5352 N. Broadway.
Fulton Market: Morgan’s on Fulton, one of Chicago’s most popular private event spaces, will get into the seasonal spirit on Saturday with a Mardi Gras Jubilee held on its heated retractable glass rooftop deck, according to a rep. Attendees can expect all-you-can-eat Cajun bites, a complimentary boozy beverage, and live entertainment from the Four Star Brass Band and Hot Tawdry Burlesque Show. Tickets ($35 for general admission, $75 VIP) and more details are available online. Mardi Gras Jubilee at Morgan’s on Fulton, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, February 26, 950 W. Fulton Street.
Fulton Market: Fresh off a James Beard Award semifinalist nomination for Best Chef: Great Lakes, chef Darnell Reed (Luella’s Southern Kitchen) will pop up for Mardi Gras starting Friday inside Time Out Market Chicago, the massive downtown food hall, according to a rep. Patrons can expect celebratory favorites like chicken and sausage gumbo, catfish po’boys, muffulettas, and king cake. Luella’s Southern Kitchen at Time Out Market Chicago, Friday, February 25 through Tuesday, March 1, 916 W. Fulton Market.
Ravenswood: Neighborhood spot Spoken Cafe will take a trip to the Big Easy with a special Mardi Gras menu that includes shrimp and crawfish etouffee, fried pickled green tomato po’boys (fully dressed), hot link Louisiana boudin, and more, according to a rep. Holiday offerings will available exclusively on Fat Tuesday while supplies last. Mardi Gras at Spoken Cafe, Tuesday, March 1, 1812 W Montrose Avenue.
River North: Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ old school seafood spot Shaw’s Crab House has plenty in store for Mardi Gras, according to a rep. This week, staff rolled out a festive menu for dine-in patrons that includes char-grilled oysters, crawfish po’boys, and classic New Orleans beverages like hurricanes and sazeracs. On Fat Tuesday, the adjoining oyster bar will offer a crawfish boil (potatoes, corn, andouille sausage) along with live music from the Kimberly Johnson band from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mardi Gras at Shaw’s Crab House, Available now through Wednesday, March 2, 21 E. Hubbard Street.
River North: One could argue that it’s always Mardi Gras at the New Orleans restaurant and speakeasy-style bar Storyville, but operators aren’t going to let the occasion pass unnoticed. On Fat Tuesday, customers can stop in for a celebratory crawfish boil ($18.95 per pound) served with traditional sausage, potatoes, and corn, as well as slices of king cake. Revelers can also catch a live performance from Chicago-based band Bowmanville from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fat Tuesday Crawfish Boil at Storyville, Tuesday, March 1, 712 N. Clark Street.
West Loop: Southern spot Jokers Cajun Kitchen inside the Chicago French Market will whisk diners to Louisiana on Fat Tuesday with a classic menu that includes jambalaya, gumbo, and muffulettas, according to an Instagram post. Voodoo punch, Abita beers, and hurricanes will also be available, and patrons can pre-order beignets by the dozen for pickup on the holiday (orders must be placed by Saturday). Mardi Gras at Jokers Cajun Kitchen in the Chicago French Market, Tuesday, March 1, 131 N. Clinton Street.
Andersonville: Drag comedy group Mom Jeans is slated to hold the first brunch performance of the year on Sunday, February 27 at Parson’s Chicken and Fish on Clark Street, according to a rep. The event will feature local queens Irregular Girl, Chanel Mercedes Benz, K’hole Kardashian, and special guest Jo MaMa, with tickets for $10 (available online) and a portion of proceeds going to Brave Space Alliance. Tickets secure one seat and a mimosa. Mom Jeans at Parson’s Chicken & Fish Andersonville, 1 p.m. Sunday, February 27, 5721 N. Clark Street.
Fulton Market: Modern Korean-American restaurant Perilla will pop up next week at Soho House for a special three-course menu from chef Andrew Lim that includes salmon tartare (citrus soy, Korean pear, pickled radish), a “kbbq set” (bone-in beef short rib or mushroom medly), and dduk (sesame). Attendees can choose between two seatings with bookings ($48 per person) available online via Resy. Perilla at Soho House Chicago, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday, February 23, 401 N. Milwaukee Avenue.
Old Town: Molino Tortilleria, described as Chicago’s first heirloom corn tortilleria, will pop up on Saturday inside Paper Plane Pizza with two types of fresh masa, corn tamales, blue corn champurrado, and more, according to an Instagram post. Patrons can place pre-orders online. Molino Tortilleria at Paper Plane Pizza, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, February 19, 1625 N. Halsted Street.
Ukrainian Village: The Empty Bottle’s annual winter block party Music Frozen Dancing with Goose Island Beer Co. will return this month outside the bar on Cortez Street, according to a rep. Organizers promise plenty of performances from artists including Devino Niño and Pixel Grip plus beer and slices all day from neighboring hotspot Pizza Friendly Pizza. Admission is free but staff will accept donations at the gate for Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Music Frozen Dancing at Empty Bottle, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, February 26, 1035 N. Western Avenue.
Wicker Park: Zeitlin’s Delicatessen, the virtual restaurant and bakery from Galit alum Sam Zeitlin that riffs on Ashkenazi Jewish deli culture, will pop up for two weekends in a row this month at South Asian street food spot Wazwan, according to an Instagram post. The restaurants will present side-by-side menus, placing the deli’s pastrami-spiced wild mushroom knishes and pistachio rose babka nose-to-nose with Wazwan’s tandoori honey chicken sandwiches and much more. Wazwan Chicago X Zeitlin’s Delicatessen, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, February 19 and Saturday, February 26, 1742 W. Division Street.
Wrigleyville: The snow is still actively falling in Chicago but some locals already have St. Patrick’s Day on the brain. That includes the team at Deuce’s Major League Bar, which this month launched Charm’d, its annual Irish-themed pop-up bar. Celebrants can count on an over-the-top multi-level party with tons of green decorations, boozy shamrock shakes, and “Irish nachos” with cheddar and Guinness fondue. Reservations and more details are available online. Charm’d at Deuce’s Major League Bar, Open 3 p.m. to close (subject to change) Monday through Friday; noon to close Saturday and Sunday through March 27, 3505 N. Clark Street.
Irving Park/Albany Park: Chicago Reader’s Monday Night Foodball pop-up series will return this month after a brief hiatus, kicking off with pepperoni pizza bureks and sour cherry baklava from Nemanja and Marko Milunovic, formerly of shuttered ghost kitchen Kiosk Balkan Street Food, on Monday, January 24. The series’s mostly-full (and definitely stacked) roster of local chefs is available online. Nemanja and Marko Milunovic at the Kedzie Inn, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, January 24, 4100 N. Kedzie Avenue
Logan Square: Booze-free event brand Coast Dry Bar will in February hold a series of pop-up events with alcohol-free cocktails at neighborhood bar the Native, according to a Facebook post. Plans include an open mic night, pop punk emo night, and board game night. Coast Dry Bar at the Native, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 5 - 28, 2417 N. Milwaukee Avenue.
Portage Park: Newish local roastery Veloria Coffee will this Saturday hold its first pop-up market featuring 12 small Chicago-area businesses including Camelia Bakes, Brown Box Cheesecakes, and Jerry’s Jerky, according to Block Club Chicago. Operators hope to turn the event into a pop-up series as they work toward opening a cafe. Maker’s Pop-Up at Veloria Coffee, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, January 22, 3936 N. Cicero Avenue.
Rogers Park: “Experimental Italian” pop-up Impastable Chicago this week kicked off a winter residency at Mission Control Arcade Bar, according to a Facebook post. Pasta maker Nathan Scheetz is offering a menu that ranges from snacks like Italian wedding soup and vegan bruschetta to three types of lasagna, available as a flight. The pop-up is slated to run through March. Impastable Chicago at Mission Control Arcade Bar, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, 1408 W. Morse Avenue.
Around Town: Chef Iliana Regan, founder of Michelin-starred Elizabeth, will host a two-day pop-up this spring, slated for March 18 and 19. All other details, including the location, remain under wraps but interested patrons can contact Regan by email for more information and booking instructions, she writes on Instagram. Known for her distinctive forage-based cooking, Regan officially left Elizabeth in October 2021. Iliana Regan pop-up, March 18 and 19, Location not yet available.
Chatham: Barbie’s Luxury Rentals will be hosting another edition of its pop-up shop for Black-owned businesses at the MDM Dance School the last Sunday of January. Food vendors include Happy Taco, I Heart Grits, and Barbie’s Catfish. 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday January 30, 8248 S. Cottage Grove Avenue.
Lakeview: Dear Margaret will celebrate its first birthday with an enthusiastic embrace of its Canadian roots: poutine, Labatt’s, peameal bacon-topped Canuck burgers, shots of Canadian Club whisky, and, best of all, an all-Rush soundtrack (and maybe some Celine Dion). Booze is available only with the purchase of food. Dear Margaret’s First Birthday, 5 p.m. till the food runs out, Monday January 17, 2965 N. Lincoln Avenue.
Lincoln Park: Replay Lincoln Park is extending its Hogwarts-themed Very Harry Winter celebration for another month. The bar is featuring Harry Potter-inspired decorations, a cosplay contest, and a House Cup Competition that includes trivia, wizard staff fights, and Quidditch Beer Pong. Express entry tickets available here, for customers 21 and older only. Very Harry Winter at Replay Lincoln Park, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily through January 31, 2833 N. Sheffield.
River North: Chefs Cedric Harden (River Roast) and Darnell Reed (Luella’s) will, on Wednesday, January 12, host the Chicago event for the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America culinary series, a collection of nationwide dining events aimed at supporting independent restaurants, according to a rep. Harden and Reed will present a three-course meal that includes king crab-pork belly gumbo and a crispy pork shank (served with lentils, corn, and apple cider nage), as well as vegetarian alternatives. Sixty-five percent of the proceeds from ticket sales will go directly to the participating chefs’ restaurants and 35 percent will support the Beard Foundation’s national programming. Tickets ($300 per pair) and more details are available on the foundation’s website. James Beard Foundation’s Taste America: Chicago at River Roast, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 12, 315 N. LaSalle Street.
West Loop: For Chicagoans who can’t head south for a tropical vacation themselves, Soho House is bringing the tropics north by hosting Sweet Liberty, one of Miami Beach’s top cocktail bars, for a one-month residency in its lobby bar. Along with warm weather-inspired drinks like the Always Sunny Negroni (Bombay Sapphire, Lillet rosé, pineapple-infused martini bitters, strawberry glitter, and dried mango), there will be thin-crust pizza from Paper Thin and a live DJ every night. Sweet Liberty x Soho House Chicago, January 14-February 12, in the lobby bar at Soho House, 113-125 N. Green Street.