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Billy Corgan’s Tea Shop Raises $250K for Highland Park Shooting Victims

Plus, Publican’s Beard-winning baker has a new cookbook

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan and partner Chloe Mendel stand behind a black counter inside a cafe space.
Billy Corgan and Chloe Mendel hosted a benefit for victims of the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park from their cafe located a block away from the parade grounds.
Madame Zuzu’s

A concert benefitting victims of the July 4 mass shooting in suburban Highland Park, hosted at the tea shop co-owned by the Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, raised about $250,000.

Corgan and partner Chloe Mendel organized the event, called Together and Together Again, held Wednesday, July 27 at Madame Zuzu’s Teahouse, located a block from the parade grounds where a shooter’s bullets killed seven and injured 40. The money benefits a fund for victims and their families established by the Highland Park Community Foundation.

“This is a community reeling — I’ve lived here for 20 years, I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” Corgan said at the start of the event. “We’ve gathered a world-class group of musicians who want to play for you to support the idea, that together — and the reason I named it Together and Together Again is we won’t stop, we will always come together, we will always bond around what we care about: our community and our love for one another. And no one can take that from us. And tonight we begin to reclaim that for Highland Park and want to bring that message to the world.”

Among the performers was Perry Ferrell, the founder of Lollapalooza who was in town due to this weekend’s music festival. He closed out the show which was also broadcast live via YouTube. The stream will remain streaming until Monday, August 1 in hopes of attracting more donations. Concert T-shirts and posters, which sales of benefit the fund, are also available for sale. This is the second location of Madame Zuzu’s, a plant-based cafe that reopened in 2020.

A grand jury on Wednesday, July 27 indicted the shooting suspect, Robert Crimo III, on 110 counts, including 21 counts of murder.

Farewell, Thompson Center food court

The pandemic moved many of the tenants out, but now this marks the end for the Atrium Food Hall. Google announced it was buying the Thompson Center, the unique Loop building that housed government offices, including a basement DMV. This also means that the basement food court, which punched well above its weight with a mix of chains (hello, Sbarro!) and independent chefs — particularly those who served international cuisine — is DOA.

There’s no word on Lollapalooza’s lobster corn dogs

As massive annual music festival Lollapalooza returns to Grant Park this weekend for four days of body glitter and grime, organizers and Chicago officials are working to cement its future in the city — at least for the next decade. Lolla creator Perry Farrell on Thursday told WGN that Mayor Lori Lightfoot had approved a 10-year extension for the use of the downtown park. Hours later, however, unnamed sources told the Tribune that negotiations between C3 Presents, the festival’s production company, and the city have stalled over an amusement tax. C3 wants the new agreement to prevent an increase in that tax for large-scale events.

James Beard-Winning Publican bread baker gets a cookbook

It’s been a busy year for Publican baker Greg Wade. The James Beard Award-winning baker in March opened Publican Quality Bread in West Town — the first new restaurant since the pandemic began for Paul Kahan’s One Off Hospitality Group (Avec River North is a port of the original West Loop location). Wade and cookbook author Rachel Holtzman are releasing a cookbook, Bread Head: Baking for the Road Less Traveled. The book will features recipes such as farmhouse sourdough and marbled rye, plus international breads like injera from Ethiopia and paratha from India. There’s also pastry recipes. Look for a September 27 release, according to a news release.