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Bartender-Loathed Summer Festival Draws More Controversy

Plus, a Trib critic gets a James Beard nod and Joe Flamm unveils a tasting menu

Young music fans lean over a metal barrier in Douglass Park.
Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash is slated for June in Douglass Park.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

As Chicago’s summer event season rapidly approaches, a group of concerned West Side residents in the North Lawndale neighborhood are asking the city’s park district board to bar a controversial music festival from Douglass Park so locals can celebrate Juneteenth.

The Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash festival, an annual hip-hop event that has rankled neighbors since 2018 over issues with traffic congestion, noise, and damage to the park, is slated to kick off in June — two months earlier than in previous years — with high-profile headliners Post Malone and Playboi Carti. According to Block Club Chicago, the change will displace community members and groups who sought to organize celebratory events for Juneteenth, a holiday on June 19 that marks the liberation of enslaved Black people after the Civil War. African Americans across the U.S. have long marked the date with gatherings and parties, but 2022 is the first year that Juneteenth will be recognized as an official holiday in Illinois.

Proceedings at Lyrical Lemonade took an ominous turn last year after a group of festivalgoers stormed a bar tent in a chaotic scene that prompted numerous bartenders to walk off the job. Videos posted to social media at the time showed attendees tearing down barriers around the bar and lunging at staff, and workers described patrons stealing inventory and money from cash registers. While organizers acknowledged last summer that an “unfortunate incident” had taken place at the festival, they maintained that the event was a success.

Tribune critic gets James Beard nod

Tribune co-critic Louisa Chu is among three finalists for the James Beard Foundation’s Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award. The nominations were announced Wednesday, April 27 at an in-person event in New York. The foundation is recognizing Chu for three reviews: Dear Margaret (the French Canadian restaurant in Lakeview), Hermosa (Chicago’s only Cambodian restaurant located in Hermosa), and George’s Deep Dish (the innovative pizza maker in Edgewater). Los Angeles Times critic and former Eater critic Bill Addison and San Francisco Chronicle critic Soleil Ho were also nominated.

A Fulton Market hot spot gets a tasting menu

Rose Mary, the Croatian and Italian restaurant in Fulton Market from former Spiaggia chef Joe Flamm, is adding a six-seat chef’s counter with Chicago’s newest tasting menu. On select days, starting on Saturday, May 7, diners will be able to see the Top Chef champ, or sous chef Brian Motyka, prepping behind the counter. Tickets are $195 per person and available via Tock, according to a news release.

The first two Starbucks in Illinois unionize

Labor organizers have succeeded at Starbucks locations in Peoria and Cary, making cafes in those two cities the first in Illinois where workers voted in favor of unionizing. The Trib reports 32 out of 35 Starbucks unionization elections have been successful across 31 states. Organizing at Chicago locations is ongoing.

Starbucks

4365 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60641 (773) 736-5226 Visit Website

Spiaggia

980 North Michigan Avenue, , IL 60611 (312) 280-2750 Visit Website

Dear Margaret

2965 North Lincoln Avenue, , IL 60657 (773) 360-8213 Visit Website

Rose Mary

932 West Fulton Street, , IL 60607 (872) 260-3921 Visit Website

The Counter

5779 Wilshire Boulevard, , CA 90036 (323) 932-8900 Visit Website

Hermosa

, , IL

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