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Weekday Planner: Between Bites, Motown Cupcakes, Pancake Tacos, and Whiskey Week

Weekday Planner: Motown Cupcakes Weekday Planner: Eat Motown Cupcakes Motown and cupcakes, together at last! Two of life’s greatest leisurely joys converge thanks to Magnolia Bakery. In conjunction with Broadway in Chicago, in celebration of the Chicago debut of Motown The Musical, the bakery is serving up Motown-inspired cupcakes now through May 22. The chocolate cupcake features a […]

The post Weekday Planner: Between Bites, Motown Cupcakes, Pancake Tacos, and Whiskey Week appeared first on Dining Chicago.

Apr 22, 2014 06:09 PM
Restaurants Celebrate Earth Day in Chicago

Earth Day in Chicago is coming up on April 22 and with it comes a handful of eco-friendly food and drink deals. Support Gateway Green and keep Chicago beautiful, about Gateway Green: We lead urban beautification and greening projects that make a positive environmental and aesthetic impact on Chicago. Ultimately our work leads to improved quality […]

The post Restaurants Celebrate Earth Day in Chicago appeared first on Dining Chicago.

Apr 22, 2014 01:19 AM
This May at favorite Lettuce Entertain You spots Bub City, HUB 51 and RJ Grunts

Lettuce Entertain You spots Bub City, HUB 51 and RJ Grunts   Celebrate the Run of the Roses at Bub City On Saturday, May 3, saddle up for a day at the races at country bar and restaurant Bub City (435 N. Clark). Break out the sun hats and don your southern best, as you […]

The post This May at favorite Lettuce Entertain You spots Bub City, HUB 51 and RJ Grunts appeared first on Dining Chicago.

Apr 21, 2014 08:00 PM
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Mercadito Meets Deli With Mercadito Counter Restaurant

Mercadito Hospitality loves to keep people guessing. The avante garde restaurant group does a masterful job of reinventing itself with each new concept, from the taco-centric Mercadito to the tapas-based Tavernita, and eclectic offerings at Little Market Brasserie. Mercadito Hospitality is basically the Madonna of restaurant groups, re-emerging in a bold new way with each opening. Now with their newest endeavor due later this fall, the restaurant group offers its most casual dining destination to date. Mercadito Counter is also their most surprising iteration, a Mexican deli concept inspired by the Sandoval brothers' street food memories in Acapulco and corner store deli counters of yore.

Mexican hot dogs
(Mexican hot dogs, the one instance where ketchup isn't decried as heresy)

When Mercadito's casual sister spot opens this fall at 738 N. Clark St., it will feature a mix of Mercadito favorites and a slew of deli-inspired innovations, all in a fast-casual format unique to the Mercadito Hospitality formula of dining destinations in Chicago. Guests can get their fill of Mercadito's cultishly adored tacos, as well as nachos, quesadillas, and enchiladas. But it's the American deli-style fixtures that really stand out, as this is where Mercadito Counter exhibits its creativity. A deli menu offers to-go selections of guacamoles, salsas, Mexican cheeses, meats, tortillas, and prepared foods, while the food menu features the Mercadito burger topped with jalapeño butter and Manchego cheese, chipotle onion rings, gordita sliders, and a variety of hot dogs, including the bacon-wrapped Mexican dog laden with pico de gallo, jalapeño relish, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, and crispy bacon, and the deep-fried Mole-Q dog ensconced in mole barbecue sauce, green tomato-jalapeño slaw, a trio of mustards, and crispy onion strings. Mercadito Counter will also serve breakfast all day, with options such as huevos rancheros, breakfast burritos, and chilaquiles.

Agua fresca
(Quench your agua fresca cravings at Mercadito Counter this fall)

For the Sandoval brothers, Mercadito Counter represents the merging of two distinct styles of comfort food, both with casual streetside origins. Considering Chicago's Mexican population, the idea for a place that melded the two genres was the perfect segue into the casual dining sphere.

NYC restaurant known for killer tacos and a casual, yet upscale setting moves into the old Sugar/La Pomme Rouge space. This is the third outpost, but it takes the trend farther by offering an expansive dining room and lower-level cocktail lounge called Double A.

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Chef Ryan Poli helms the second project from the team from Mercadito, featuring a diverse mix of European-inspired dishes with Mediterranean and Latin flavors designed for sharing and a raw bar from Supreme Lobster. There's also a stand-up San Sebastian-style pintxo bar called Barcito.

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The team behind Mercadito and Tavernita have taken over the first-floor restaurant space to create this globally influenced restaurant that plans to serve American, French and European fare. Tavernita chef/partner Ryan Poli will oversee the menu, and New York's The Tippling Bros. will curate the cocktail menu. There will be a 125-seat sidewalk cafe as well. There is no opening date yet.

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The Mercadito team (Little Market Brasserie, Mercadito, Tavernita) makes its entry into the fast-casual dining scene with a Mexican deli concept in River North. Mercadito Counter, set to open fall 2013, pays homage to the deli counters of local corner stores in chef/partner Patricio Sandoval's native Acapulco.

Dish highlights include the Mercadito Burger, a ribeye and short rib burger with a jalapeño butter, Manchego cheese, and grilled scallions; The Mexican Dog, a bacon-wrapped beef sausage with pico de gallo, jalapeño relish, mayo, mustard, ketchup and crispy bacon; as well as Chicken a las Brasas, Mexican-style rotisserie chickens in a choice of adobo (red), Peruvian-style (white) or epazote marinade (green) served with tortillas, two sides and one salsa of choice.

There is also breakfast all day.

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