Chicago Black Restaurant Week kicks off its seventh year on Sunday, February 6. This time around, 32 cafes, delis, restaurants, bars, and food trucks in the city and suburbs will offer special meals and discounts until Sunday, February 20.
Founder Lauran Smith came up with the idea for CBRW in 2015 as a way to honor Carter G. Woodson, the historian who, among other things, established the first Negro History Week during the second week of February in 1926 (to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln), which eventually expanded into Black History Month. Since the launch of CBRW in 2016, Smith tells Block Club Chicago, 50,000 customers have visited 200 restaurants.
The list of this year’s participants shows off the range of Black cooking: Southern, Cajun, Caribbean, Ethiopian, and West African cuisines are all represented, including Luella’s Southern Kitchen, The Mukase, Surf’s Up, Dock’s, Cocoa Chili Restaurant, Kitchen + Kocktails, and Afro Joe’s Coffee & Tea. There are also vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free spots such as Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat, The Black Vegan Restaurant, and CheSa’s Gluten-Free Food Truck, plus the non-alcoholic pop-up Prazbar. Find the complete list on the CBRW website.
Chicago brewery Hop Butcher for the World snaps up another brewing facility
Hop Butcher for the World, the Chicago brewery that in May announced plans to buy Half Acre Beer Co.’s North Center taproom, seems to be on a spending spree. Co-owners Jeremiah Zimmer and Jude LaRose announced this week that they have also purchased a 25,000-square-foot production facility in south suburban Bedford Park previously occupied by 5 Rabbit Cerveceria. The Tribune has more.
A local alderman endorses Starbucks workers’s union efforts
As pro-union Starbucks workers in Chicago join a national labor organizing movement at the country’s largest coffee chain, some local officials are seizing the opportunity to weigh in. Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th Ward) has publicized plans to support employees’ organizing efforts with a formal resolution at a City Council meeting on February 16, according to Block Club Chicago. In January, workers at Starbucks locations in the Loop and Logan Square filed for union certification after employees in Buffalo, New York made history in December as the first of the chain’s employees to unionize.
Pull out the calendar for Chicago’s stacked summer festival season
In an uncharacteristically optimistic turn, Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) have announced plans to bring back the city’s summer festival season after nearly two years of virtual and altered events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials announced Thursday. These include major food events like Taste of Chicago, which will be staggered through June and July, and the Maxwell Street Market. Time Out Chicago has compiled a list of dates for celebrations slated from April through October.
Lift a glass for Stephen Cunneen, a great Chicago bar owner
Stephen Cunneen, owner of Cunneen’s Bar, a comfortable, memorabilia-filled Rogers Park dive beloved by neighborhood residents and generations of Loyola University students, has died. Cunneen, who was 86, took over the bar in 1972, and in later years could be found there every afternoon doing the crossword puzzle. Bill Savage, a Northwestern professor who worked as a bartender there for 27 years, has started a campaign to erect an honorary street sign at the corner of Devon and Newgard to honor Cunneen’s contributions to the neighborhood.