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Chicago and Cook County Officials Will Raise Minimum Wage on July 1

Plus, Damarr Brown triumphs on ‘Top Chef’ after all

Two protesters holding placards stand in front of a larger crowd.
Salaries for tipped workers will increase in Chicago on July 1.

The minimum wage in Chicago will increase on July 1 for both non-tipped and tipped workers. The latter group includes the city’s restaurant servers and bartenders. The “sub-minimum” hourly wage for tipped workers at small businesses (4-20 employees) will increase to $8.70; at large businesses (21 or more employees), it will rise to $9.24, according to a news release from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office. Wages for non-tipped employees at larger businesses will land at $15.40, while those at smaller businesses can expect $14.50.

City officials will on that same date implement regular enhancements per its Fair Workweek Ordinance, requiring employers in specific industries such as hotels and restaurants to post work schedules at least two weeks in advance (previous rules called for only 10 days notice). The update also requires that employees who earn less than $29.35 per hour or just under $57,000 per year to be eligible for protection under the ordinance. Cook County has its own Minimum Wage Ordinance, which will also increase wages on July 1, but that will not apply in the city proper.

The battle to raise hourly salaries for tipped workers isn’t new to Chicago, as groups like Fight for $15, a coalition of fast-food workers who support a higher minimum wage and improved employee benefits, have pushed the issue for years. Chicago alderman eventually compromised in 2019 and agreed to increase the “sub-minimum” hourly wage by $2 — from $6.40 to $8.40 per hour — by 2021. The city council also raised Chicago’s $13 per hour minimum wage for non-tipped workers to $14 per hour in 2020 and to $15 in 2021.

Damarr Brown voted fan favorite on Top Chef

Although he came in fourth in this season of Top Chef, Damarr Brown, who in his regular life is chef de cuisine at Virtue in Hyde Park, came in first in the public’s hearts. Brown was voted fan favorite this season by viewers who appreciated his deadpan style and his skill at rescuing dishes from disaster at the last second. “Many people told me I need to smile more, talk more, be more excitable,” Brown wrote in an Instagram post. “Even though those people meant well and I actually tried to follow alot of the advice given, I couldn’t help but be myself, the fact that people resonated with that means more than I can verbalize.” The fan favorite award comes with a $10,000 prize. Past fan favorites include fellow Chicagoan Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat), Sheldon Simeon, and Carla Hall.

Last call at Emmit’s Irish Pub

Emmit’s Irish Pub will be closing on Saturday, June 25, after 26 years in the Fulton River District, where it hosted St. Patrick’s Day blowouts, performances by Irish dancers on top of the bar, frequent movie and TV crews, and innumerable celebrities, Block Club reports. The two owners, Kevin Doherty and Ron Halvorsen, both former firefighters, plan to retire, Halvorsen for health reasons and Doherty because he wants to get out of the restaurant business. They attempted to sell the bar with its name intact but found no takers; they’re currently in talks with a major Chicago restaurant group. Since the announcement, they’ve been besieged with requests from customers who want to know if they’ll be auctioning off bits of memorabilia, but Doherty says they’ll probably just give it away.

Emmit's Irish Pub

495 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60654 (312) 563-9631 Visit Website


1462 E. 53rd Street, Chicago, IL