wicker park • Chicago, IL
The restaurant notorious for its hard-to-score-phone-only-reservations since 2005 is welcoming in a new era—reservations on Tock. Which means you can now plan in advance for Chef Michael Carlson’s inventive tasting menu and no-nonsense service style, where a handful of chefs are the only staff in the entire place.
Times are changing, but Schwa will remain BYOB. Bring plenty to go around, as it’s not uncommon for fellow patrons to share a bottle of wine with the rest of the dining room
fulton market • Chicago, IL
This menu at Next is something akin to time travel—a chance to go back to Alinea’s opening years to see the innovative dishes that first earned the restaurant three Michelin stars, skyrocketing chef Grant Achatz into international culinary super fame. The cuisine and atmosphere is authentic to this bygone era, with whimsical favorites like the PB+J, Hot Potato/Cold Potato, and Hearts of Palm (pictured). It’s playful, nostalgic, and kind of trippy.
Laying off the booze? The Chicago Tribune called the non-alcoholic pairings brilliant. Think jasmine-rice stock with blueberry juice and brown butter or strawberry juice with barbecue flavors.
Photo: Galdones Photography/Cochon555
Grand Cochon: 10-Year Anniversary Party
west loop • Chicago, IL
Grand Cochon’s 10-Year Anniversary Party is happening this year at Chicago’s City Winery in the West Loop. General admission grants you access to a three-hour culinary experience where chefs that won the signature competition in fourteen respective cities across the nation come to town to compete for the crown. Sample their unique dishes, centered on ethically-raised heritage breed pigs, and imbibe on various beverages from local breweries, distilleries, and wineries.
VIP tickets are available for the die-hard fans. These include access to the venue one hour early to get up close to the chefs, winemakers, and farmers, and enjoy some preview dishes before the rest of the crowd arrives.
Jack's Pumpkin Nights: A Pop-Up
goose island • Chicago, IL
Do you love pumpkin season? This October, Jack's all outdoor multi-sensory pop-up brings all your favorite fall activities to the heart of the city. The Great Pumpkin experience, with thousands of pumpkins, stretches over two acres of land. From the folks who brought you Frosty's Christmas Bar, this autumn party will feature a massive corn maze, a brilliant light display, festive food and drinks, and nightly entertainment. Think magic for adults, axe throwing, and old-school carnival games. Check the calendar for exciting fall festivals, including a Cider & Beer Fest, Sweet Corn Fest, and Halloween events.
After 7pm, the corn maze turns boozy. Look for the hidden bars with seasonal beer and cider.
The Fat Duck
The Fat Duck's tasting menu is dubbed "The Journey." It's a nostalgic trip based on your own childhood memories. Despite the level of seriousness associated with their three Michelin stars, Chef Heston Blumenthal is somewhat of a kid at heart, who plays with his food. And he wants you to play with yours, too. You’re encouraged to be curious and adventurous while enjoying the multi-sensory journey.
why we love it
The menu is super personalized. Before you dine, you’re asked questions like, “What makes you feel like a kid in a sweetshop?” And “What sights, sounds, smells, flavors, or objects do you associate with a perfect childhood memory?”