Congrats!: The winners of the Jean Banchet Awardswhich honor Chicago cuisinewere recently announced at Venue Six10.
Longtime Chicago Tribune critic Phil Vettel was (justifiably) honored with the Culinary Excellence of the Year Award. Middle Eastern spot Galit was named Restaurant of the Year, while some of the other honors went to Paul Virant (Chef of the Year), Tatum Sinclair (Pastry Chef of the Year), Best Intentions (Bar of the Year), Bronzeville Winery (Best Hospitality), The Omakase Room at Sushi-San (Best Restaurant Design) and Indienne (Best New Restaurant).
Opening: G.O.O.D Pineapple hospitality groupwhich is behind the Wicker Park spot The Deltais expanding with two very different concepts: The Pink Polo and Red River Dicks.
Located inside The Chicago Collection hotel at 312 W. Chestnut St. (formerly Drop Shop Coffee), The Pink Polo will offer coffee, pastries and sandwiches but will also function as a trendy workspace. Red River Dickswhich will be the only Black-owned country-and-western bar/restaurant in the Midwest when it opens in Lincoln Parkwill be inspired by the travels and stories of the 18th-century African-American cowboy Nat Love, AKA "Red River Dick." The Pink Polo will open in the spring and Red River Dicks will debut this summer.
In addition, a new Epic Burger will open in Northbrook's Willow Festival Shopping Center on Feb. 5.
Epic Burger Northbrook, located in the former Meatheads spot, will offer catering orders for groups of any size and will fulfill online orders. When I spoke with Epic CEO David Grossman last year, he mentioned that he was trying to buy another chain. It looks like he succeeded.
Extended: The modern Asian steakhouse HOLU, 2101 S. Jefferson St., is extending the availability of its Chicago Restaurant Week menu by one week.
HOLU's specially priced menu ($59)which features a signature omakase-style steak tasting will be available through dinner service on Sunday, Feb. 11. That tasting includes 45-day dry-aged ribeye and short rib along with filet and zabuton (Westholme Farms Australian wagyu) and hanger steak (Snake River Farms American wagyu) along with the HOLU salad and pickles, and vanilla ice cream.
See HOLUChicago.com .
Happy anniversary: Pilsen restaurant La Luna, 1726 S. Racine Ave., will mark its fifth anniversary on Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m.
La Luna invites guests to indulge in an evening of live music, delicious cuisine and craft cocktails. The event will feature Chef Marco Colin from La Luna, Chef Maria from Rubi's, Don Pedro Carnitas, Chef Alfonso Sotelo from 5 Rabanitos and guest mixologist Luigi Estrada.
Tickets for La Luna's 5th Anniversary Celebration can be purchased online at www.eventbrite.com/o/la-luna-59888705793 for $40 per person. All ticket proceeds from the anniversary event will be donated to Healthy Hood and Pilsen's Food Pantry.
Pizza on Earth: National Pizza Day is on Friday, Feb. 9.
To that end, AceBounce, 230 N. Clark St., will offer its unique pizzas to go along with the ping-pong and shuffleboard people can play there. There are Margherita and Garden Veggie varieties as well as a unique Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza accented with sweet-and-spicy, Kool Aid-soaked serrano pepper slices.
Free pizza: Home Run Inn, the family-owned pizza brand that has been dishing out pizzas in Chicago for more than 75 years, pays tribute to National Pizza Day on Friday, Feb. 9.
Available at any one of its nine Chicagoland locations, for dine-in or carry-out, guests will receive a FREE 12-inch frozen classic cheese or sausage pizza (value $7.99-10.99) with the purchase of any extra-large pizza (limit two free pizzas per guest). You're welcome.
Millions will be watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 11 (as my Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears will be catching it on TV)but people at the dog-friendly Cody's Public House, 1658 W. Barry Ave., will be taking part in the spot's third annual Puppy Bowl Viewing Party at 12-4 p.m. to benefit Chicago Canine Rescue.
The dog-friendly event will have food, raffles, contests, themed cocktails and more. In addition, Cody's will host a Super Fan Costume Contest where the best game-day attire will be rewarded with Cody's gift cards ($100 gift card for best dog costume; $150 gift card for best dog and human costume). To reserve grill space, email email@example.com .
Not so sweet: Macy's on State Street has closed its candy counter, according to the Chicago Sun-Timesbut the store "will always sell Frango's chocolates," a spokesperson said.
Pop life: Don't forget my other Substack: "Pop-Eds: My takes on pop culture." Thank you so much to the people who've already subscribed. The latest entry (Feb. 3) talks about Black History Month, Mark Zuckerberg and Justin Timberlake. Subscribe at andrew449.Substack.com .
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