Dining out: From James Beard Eats Week to Two Bros. new Barrel House
During James Beard Eats Week, more than 130 restaurants across Chicago will pay homage to the "Dean of American cookery" with exclusive dishes inspired by James Beard. As diners, we are the lucky ones who can take advantage of this culinary celebration running Friday, April 26, through Monday, May 6. While most of the participating restaurants are in Chicago, there are a few suburban outposts offering special dishes, too. What's even better: Every participating restaurant will make a $100 donation to the James Beard Foundation Scholarship Fund, which benefits aspiring Chicago culinary students. For details, see choosechicago.com/.
Beatrix: Diners can try the specialty chicken meatballs with ginger soy glaze for lunch and dinner at all four Beatrix locations during James Beard Eats Week. The suburban outpost is at 272 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, (630) 491-1415 or beatrixrestaurants.com/beatrix/oak-brook/.
Catch 35: Both the Naperville and Chicago locations will be serving charred Spanish octopus with duck confit, fingerling potatoes and chimichurri for $16; housemade tagliatelle with lump crab, Chinese broccoli and chili butter for $28; and toasted almond ricotta cheesecake with crushed almond crust and Grand Marnier crème anglaise for $8. Catch 35 is at 35 S. Washington St., Naperville, (630) 717-3500 or catch35.com/.
National Pretzel Day
Hey, why not have a National Pretzel Day? This year it's Friday, April 26, and there are some deals to be had. Philly Pretzel Factory in Naperville will be offering one free pretzel per customer on Friday, with no purchase required. World of Beer in Naperville is offering a buy one signature German pretzel, get one free on Friday. Also, Wetzel's Pretzels is offering a free original pretzel on Friday (no purchase is required).
Philly Pretzel Factory is at 1037 W. Ogden Ave., Naperville, (630) 717-8978 or phillypretzelfactory.com/. World of Beer is at 1727 Freedom Drive, Suite 121, Naperville, (630) 955-0399 or worldofbeer.com/. Wetzel's Pretzels has locations at Fox Valley Center in Aurora, Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, the Fashion Outlets in Rosemont and Gurnee Mills in Gurnee.
Scorched Earth Day Fest
How does some craft beer and live music sound? If you've been missing festival season, here's an option for you: Scorched Earth Brewing Company's Scorched Earth Day Festival from 3 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 26-27. The fourth annual fest features sour releases and specialty beers; live music from Jim and Justin from Modern Day Romeos, Hello Weekend and more; food vendors such as Toasty Cheese, Your Sister's Tomato Wood Fired Pizza, BBQ King and Toasty Taco; and ax throwing on Saturday. General admission for adults is $10 in advance or $15 at the door. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County.
The fest is in the parking lot of Scorched Earth Brewing Company, 203 Berg St., Algonquin, (224) 209-8472 or scorchedearthbrewing.com/.
Two Brothers' new Barrel House in downtown Naperville will serve up comfort food like Carolina pork.
- Courtesy of Two Brothers
The Craftsman transforms into Barrel House
It didn't take long for Two Brothers to retool its prime downtown Naperville location formerly housing The Craftsman into the newly renovated Two Brothers Barrel House. Opening Monday, April 29, the new two-story bar and restaurant is changing its focus to a more comfortable family-friendly environment in which to enjoy Americana fare, Two Brothers craft beer, and cocktails and spirit flights featuring liquors from Two Brothers Artisan Spirits Company. Besides new canned cocktails and vodka sodas, the drinks menu will include wine and handspun milkshakes for kids and adults (wink, wink) to pair with comfort food such as barbecue ribs and fried chicken. "We've already got some fun new plans for this location, including live music every weekend, Bloody Mary brunches and kid and adult-style milkshakes," Two Brothers co-founder Jason Ebel said. The Third Floor cocktail lounge and bar is currently open and will remain unchanged for now.
Two Brothers Barrel House is at 16. W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville, (630) 615-7100 or twobrothersbrewing.com/restaurants/twobrothersbarrelhouse/.
Oscar Lee's ramen bowl consists of chicken tonkotsu, pork belly burnt ends, soy-marinated egg, wood ear mushrooms, scallions, nori and toasted garlic-ginger oil.
- Courtesy of Oscar Lee's Barbecue
Oscar Lee's specials
Is it time for happy hour yet? Oscar Lee's Barbecue in downtown Libertyville makes the most of happy hour -- from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday -- with $1 hog wings (baby back ribs breaded, fried and tossed in honey-garlic Buffalo sauce), $2 domestic brews and $5 whiskey Cokes. Plus, there's more. Tuesdays are buy one, get one free sandwiches -- brisket, pulled pork, turkey, slider trio, the Mouth Breather, OLB cubano, turkey BLT, pulled barbecue jackfruit and banh mi -- from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Wednesdays through Saturdays, chef Lee Kuebler cooks up a themed dish each night, including ramen on Wednesday, fried chicken on Thursday, a fish fry on Friday, and a $12 burger and fries on Saturday.
Oscar Lee's Barbecue is at 603 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville, (847) 530-7172 or oscarleesbbq.com/.
Potbelly Sandwich Shop recently added the Avo Toast to its menu.
- Courtesy of Potbelly Sandwich Shop
Lunch is the new brunch
Love avocado toast? Now you can get it at Potbelly Sandwich Shop, which recently debuted the Avo Toast featuring open-faced toasted bread covered in fresh-sliced avocados, cucumbers, red peppers, onions and melted creamy feta. If you're in need of an afternoon pick-me-up, Potbelly now offers a new caffeine-fueled Cold Brew Coffee Shake made with hand-dipped ice cream blended with cold brew. Both are available for a limited time.
Potbelly Sandwich Shop has locations across the suburbs. potbelly.com/.
Classic margaritas are $5 during Bahama Breeze's Cinco de Mayo celebration April 28 to May 5.
- Courtesy of Bahama Breeze
Why wait until May 5 to get the Cinco de Mayo party started? Bahama Breeze is celebrating all week, from Sunday to Sunday, April 28 to May 5, with $5 Classic Margaritas and $10 Create Your Own Premium Tequila or Rum Flights.
Bahama Breeze is at 406 E. Golf Road, Schaumburg, (847) 884-7060 or bahamabreeze.com/.
Sip on a new Three Dons Margarita while noshing on a steak at LongHorn Steakhouse.
- Courtesy of LongHorn Steakhouse
LongHorn Steakhouse recently upped its drinks menu with new cocktails. The Three Dons Margarita features three pours of premium Don Julio Tequila -- anejo, reposado and blanco -- in one cocktail for $12.49. The LongPour -- available for the perfect, mango or strawberry margarita -- lets diners upgrade their cocktail to a glass and a half for $2.50 more. Other new drink specials include a Texas Margarita for $5.99, a Jack & Coke for $4.99, and 12-ounce Bud Light and Miller Lite drafts for $2.50.
LongHorn Steakhouse has locations in Bolingbrook, Des Plaines, Schaumburg, Oswego and other places. longhornsteakhouse.com/home.
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