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Chicagoans Poke ‘The Bear’ For Its Inaccurate Portrayal of River North as a Gritty Urban Neighborhood

Plus a new sexual harassment prevention ordinance goes into effect July 1

Two actors dressed as chefs square off in a kitchen.
Jeremy Allen White and Ebon Moss-Bachrach in The Bear, set in a mythical ungentrified River North.
Richard “Richie” Jerimovich/FX

The new Hulu show The Bear, set in a Chicago Italian beef joint not unlike Mr. Beef on Orleans Street, has earned praise from critics (including Eater’s Amy McCarthy) for its accuracy in portraying a fast-paced restaurant kitchen. But Chicagoans, always sensitive to coastal condescension, have an unerring eye for detecting inaccuracies in how the city is portrayed onscreen, and many of them call bullshit, especially about the show’s portrayal of the thoroughly gentrified River North neighborhood, primarily known for its business hotels and theme restaurants, as a gritty urban jungle.

“All the Chicago details from The Bear feels like everyone involved was from Indiana,” tweeted Ali Barthwell, a staff writer for Last Week Tonight and a TV recapper for Vulture.

“It does not speak Chicago in any of the ways that matter: neighborhood, class, segregation, race…these things dissolve away in favor of a supposed shared love of the White Sox,” comedian Ashley Ray wrote in a Substack post. Among the show’s other crimes, according to Ray: a character complaining about using tomatoes on a hot dog (tomatoes are one of canonical toppings of a Chicago hot dog; the true heresy is ketchup), a full Wilco soundtrack without any house music or Kanye, a poor understanding of CTA commuting patterns, and the assumption that Chicagoans in River North would be mystified by risotto.

Chicago Twitter seems to be in unanimous agreement that anyone seeking an accurate TV representation of the city would do better to check out South Side.

New Chicago sexual harassment prevention ordinance goes into effect July 1

A new sexual harassment prevention ordinance will go into effect in Chicago next Friday, July 1 that expands the definition of sexual harassment and notification requirements, requires mandatory training for all employees, and increases the fines for all forms of discrimination.

Under the new ordinance, all city employers must provide one hour of sexual harassment training for their employees annually, plus one hour of bystander training, with an additional hour of training for managers and supervisors. (Training materials are provided on the city’s website.) More significantly, the fines have increased tenfold, from $500 to $1,000 to $5,000 to $10,000. Employers are, of course, required to make sure the harassers and the harassed are separated, and retaliation is still illegal. That should definitely solve the problem.

Chefs come together to raise money to end child hunger

Taste of the Nation, a benefit to raise money for No Kid Hungry, a national campaign to end childhood hunger in America, returns tonight to Rockwell on the River after a two-year pandemic hiatus. Chaired by Diana Dávila (Mi Tocaya) and Joe Flamm (Rose Mary), the event features small bites and cocktails prepared by dozens of local restaurants, including Taqueria Chingon, Claudia, Superkhana International, and Soul and Smoke, plus guests like Evelyn Garcia of KIN HTX in Houston and this past season of Top Chef. Tickets are $95 (or $115 for the preview hour) and available on the Taste of the Nation website.

A crowd of people mills around outside of tents.
The Taste of the Nation benefit returns tonight.
Taste of the Nation


1952 North Damen Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 697-9486 Visit Website

Superkhana International

3059 West Diversey Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 661-9028 Visit Website

Rose Mary

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

Taqueria Chingon

2234 North Western Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 687-9408 Visit Website