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A Cancer-Stricken Bartender Leads a Charity Effort to Support Imerman Angels

Plus, does Chick-Fil-A think free sandwiches will make the LGBTQ community forget?

A triangle-shaped bar space with large, retractable garage door walls.
Estereo is part of a campaign to support Imerman Angels.
Nick Fochtman/Eater Chicago

The owners of Estereo, Sportsman’s Club, and Pizza Lobo are raising money for cancer charity Imerman Angels in April. The campaign is personal for Brad Bolt, who used to work for Heisler Hospitality, the mastermind behind several of the company’s bars including Bar DeVille and, most recently, Neon Wilderness. In January, Bolt was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Bolt says his prognosis is positive after having surgery to remove the tumor in February: “I feel amazing, probably more energy than ever,” he says, adding that this cause is even more important as his mother survived thyroid cancer.

Now armed with the perspective of someone undergoing cancer treatment (Bolt’s waiting on lab results to determine if he’ll need chemotherapy), he says he wrestles with guilt and wonders if he supported his mother enough during her battle. He left Heisler in September for a job as a brand ambassador for Altos Planos Collective, which bottles Mijenta tequila. His medical expenses are covered, which is a rarity for workers in the bar business, in an industry that doesn’t automatically offer health insurance to employees. Many workers and their families often turn to GoFundMe or other means of raising money to pay off healthcare costs.

Over the last few months, Bolt has read about cancer treatments and notes how more folks might be diagnosed with the disease since many have hesitated to visit the doctor during the pandemic. Getting appointments is harder than before 2020.

Every month, Heisler picks a beneficiary for its Community Cocktails event and donates $1 from sales of a special cocktail, unique to each venue. They launched the effort two years ago and raised $35,000 for organizations including Brave Space Alliance, My Block, My Hood, My City, Chicago Period Project, Chicago Abortion Fund, Growing Home, Howard Brown Health Center, and Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

Here’s a list of Heisler’s Community Cocktails benefitting Imerman Angels through the end of April.

Estereo

Paloma (Mijenta & Tromba tequilas, grapefruit, lime, Maldon sea salt, carbonation): $12

Lone Wolf

Plug in Oaxaca (Mijenta blanco tequila, aperol, lime, ginger beer): $14

Pizza Lobo (Logan Square, Andersonville)

The DeVille (Mijenta tequila, madeira, grapefruit, lime, honey): $12

Nights & Weekends

Tequila & Tennessee Dew Highball (Mijenta tequila and housemade citrus soda): $14

Revel Room

The DeVille (Mijenta blanco tequila, lime, St. Elder Pamplemousse, simple syrup): $14

Sportsman’s Club

Strawberry Passionfruit Margarita (Mijenta tequila and chinola): $12

Queen Mary

Bay Watch (Mijenta tequila, lime, soursop, vanilla, bay Laurel, Thai chili): $17

A Wrigley Fast-Food Gimmick

Given its record with the LGBTQ community, it takes guts for Chick-Fil-A to open a location near the neighborhood formerly known as Boystown. But the fast-food chain has indeed debuted a shop near Wrigley Field. And they’re giving away sandwiches after each Chicago Cubs’ win. Various projection models predict the team to win around 75 games out of 162 in 2023.

Not Loving It

Chicago-based fast food giant McDonald’s on Monday shut down its corporate headquarters in West Loop ahead of hundreds of layoffs among its office workers. The hamburger heavyweight signaled that job cuts were coming in January with the announcement of a new plan to accelerate its rate of restaurant openings, according to Crain’s. This shift comes on the heels of another significant move for McDonald’s — the company is the first founding partner of the controversial NASCAR Cup Series’ Grant Park 220 and NASCAR Xfinity Series’ The Loop 121, set for July in Grant Park.

Grocery Store Hits Snag

A group of Englewood residents, elected officials, and activists have delayed the opening of a Save A Lot grocery store originally scheduled to launch on Wednesday at a former Whole Foods location at 832 W. 63rd Street, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16th Ward) tells reporters that she and her constituents are concerned about poor food quality and “less-than-fresh” produce that they associate with the brand. The grocery industry is in flux nationwide, in part due to a planned merger between behemoths Kroger and Albertsons that would create the second-largest grocery retail chain in the country. There are concerns, of course, about how a merger would impact customers, grocery workers, and farm workers.

Pizza Lobo

3000 West Fullerton Avenue, , IL 60647 (312) 265-1745 Visit Website

Estereo

2450 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60647 Visit Website

Revel Room

1566 North Milwaukee, Chicago, IL

Neon Wilderness

1270 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60622 Visit Website

Nights & Weekends

1009 West Lake Street, , IL 60607 Visit Website

Lone Wolf

806 West Randolph Street, , IL 60607 (312) 600-9391 Visit Website

Queen Mary

2125 West Division Street, , IL 60622 (773) 697-3522 Visit Website

Wrigley Field

, Chicago, IL 60613

Grant Park

337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601 (312) 742-3918 Visit Website

Bar Deville

701 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (312) 929-2349 Visit Website

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