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Chicago Festival of Oysters and Burgers & Bubbly at The Lobby

Chicago Festival of Oysters

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Oysters at Tavern On Rush

Oysters at Tavern On Rush

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Festival of Oysters at Tavern on Rush

It’s that glorious time of the year again; it’s the Festival of Oysters at Tavern on Rush! It’s everyone’s favorite bivalves at everyone’s favorite Gold Coast fixture, and it takes place August 2 all day long. The annual event entails $1 oysters on the half shell, $2 stone oven-baked oysters, and $10 fried oyster baskets, along with specials on beer and white wine

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Rooftop Garden at Harvest

Rooftop Garden at Harvest

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Rooftop Garden Dinner at Harvest

Summer is all about maximizing time on rooftops and patios. So you’d be wise to jump on the rooftop farm-to-table dinner taking place at Harvest on August 2. Situated on the ninth floor of the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, with sweeping views of the city’s most famous shopping district, Harvest gets guests up close and personal to the restaurant’s rooftop garden. Executive chef Myk Banas will prepare a five-course summer menu starting at 6:00 p.m., featuring items like housemade bread and butter, duck prosciutto with pickled Michigan cherries, wood-fired peach salad, Wisconsin ivory char with succotash, dry-aged strip loin with charred snap peas and rooftop herb vinaigrette and for dessert, a “twist” on s’mores. Dinner costs $90 per person, including beverage pairings. Seating is limited and tickets can be purchased here.

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Burgers & Bubbles at The Lobby

If burgers and bubbly are more your craving, head to The Lobby on Wednesdays through the rest of summer for some warm-weather comfort. Every Wednesday, the restaurant is running a special burger and sparkling wine combo from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Each week, guests get a rotating package that changes monthly. Last month’s pairing, for instance, was a grass-fed burger with Brie cheese, truffle aïoli, fried onions and bibb lettuce, paired with a half bottle of Ferrari Cerano. The pairing costs $25.

One Off Hospitality Group’s New Publican Anker

One Off Hospitality Group’s New Publican Anker

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Publican Anker

Publican Anker

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One Off Hospitality Group to open Publican Anker. Publican Anker the newest member of the much-loved Publican brand, is One Off Hospitality Group’s rendition of the perfect bar room. Located in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood (1576  N. Milwaukee Ave.), the bar naturally evolved from The Publican Fulton Market’s interpretation of a beer hall. The name, Publican Anker, originated from an old Dutch and German term referring to the unit of measurement used for spirits, wine and beer. Staying true to the name, guests can expect a bar program styled after backyard parties serving atypical affordable wines alongside a diverse beer program steeped in classic brewing traditions.

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The menu will feature bold seasonal vegetables and bar food in the spirit of The Publican, as well as raw and roasted shellfish and snacks for the drinker. Whether sitting at the bar for a round of German lagers, standing with friends over a bottle of Muscadet and oysters or enjoying a full meal at a spacious booth, Publican Anker is a refuge from the chaos of Milwaukee, Damen and North Avenue.

Burgers at Rhine Hall: Weekend Planner

Weekend Planner: Burgers at Rhine Hall, Tory Miller Pop-up,

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 Burgers at Rhine Hall

Burgers at Rhine Hall

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Burgers, Bluegrass and Brandy at Rhine Hall

Nothing says “summer fun” quite like a little live bluegrass paired with burgers and booze. Rhine Hall knows how to throw a good party, and they’re back at it with a festive and flavorful event on July 23 from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. During this time, the West Town distillery will host a cookout with bluegrass tunes by Mad Bread (7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.), burgers and sides courtesy of Sable’s Jeff Williams, and fruit brandy punch. Advance tickets are $18 and includes one plate of food and one cocktail. Get tickets here or buy them for $20 at the door.

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Tory Miller Pops Up at Honey Butter Fried Chicken and Sunday Dinner Club

One of the most esteemed chefs in the Midwest, Tory Miller of Sujeo, Estrellon, Graze and L’Etoile in Madison, is Chicago-bound for a couple days, wherein he’ll perform some pop-up events at Honey Butter Fried Chicken and Sunday Dinner Club. First, Miller will showcase pan-Asian flavors from Sujeo with special plates of Korean fried chicken available at Honey Butter on July 24. Available all day long, the fried chicken comes with cucumber kimchi and gochujang honey butter. The next night, Miller joins with Sunday Dinner’s Christine Cikowski and Joshua Kulp for a special five-course Spanish-themed menu inspired by Estrellon. Menu items include slow-roasted pork with hickory nut salmuera, fideos with roasted mushrooms, corn, chorizo and basil aioli, and Marcona almond doughnut holes with orange curd pastry cream and Wisconsin blueberries made by Miller’s wife Kristine Miller of Dough Baby Bakery in Madison.

The Sunday Dinner Club menu costs $65 per person and guests can BYOB or get drinks at the Honey Butter bar downstairs. Dinner starts at 7:00 p.m. and tickets can be purchased on Sunday Dinner’s Tock page here.

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Sake Sundays at Naoki Sushi

Sake-lovers, take note! Impeccable sushi spot, Naoki, is newly pouring out new large-format sake bottles as part of their new weekly Sake Sunday promotion. Past bottles have included Tozai Typhoon Premium Sake and Rihaku Wandering Poet Junmai Ginjo Sake. All these special sakes are offered at quite a bargain price by the glass, which really sweetens the deal.

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Dim Sum Brunch at Imperial Lamian

Another week, another brunch destination. This time it’s dim sum courtesy of River North newcomer Imperial Lamian, which is now serving up dumplings galore Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The savorous menu includes xiao long bao, mushroom bao, pumpkin puffs, vegetable spring rolls, siew mai, seared turnips, Shanghai dumplings, and more. Other non-dumpling items include the restaurant’s namesake lamian noodles, Jasmine tea-smoked ribs, Wagyu oxtail fried rice, and black pepper beef.

The Case for A Cupcake

The Case for A Cupcake

The Case for A Cupcake

The Case for A Cupcake at More

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The Case for A Cupcake at Swirlz

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“It’s something we all had when we were younger. It harkens back to what’s familiar,” says Patty Rothman, owner of More, a glamorous cupcake shop in the Gold Coast that helped beckon a new era for individually sized cakes by updating classic flavors and boldly experimenting with new ones. “We’ve elevated it,” she says. “And we’ve captured that in what we can do to make it truly more; make it really good.” And it’s that ethos that really speaks to this whole rise of the anti-trend; something that a quality cupcake really epitomizes. As long as what you’re making is exceptional and special, people will always crave it.

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More Cupcakes

More Cupcakes

“When we started More, we wanted to make it something that was familiar, but like a couture clothing collection, we’ve changed,” explains Rothman. “When we first opened up and we started with all of our savory flavors, that was really fun. But over the years, we’ve narrowed it down to what do people really like, and what are people coming back for.” She compares a great cupcake to a really good grilled cheese, in that “It doesn’t have to be fancy, just really good.” In such a way, it essentially becomes classic comfort food elevated to an art form, with everything scratch-made on a daily basis, matched with American buttercreams, Italian buttercreams, ganaches, and garnishes like brittles that are habit-forming enough on their own.

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The Case for A Cupcake at Swirlz

The Case for A Cupcake at Swirlz

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When More first opened its doors, it was a time when everyone was pushing the envelope, trying to capture the attention of the trend-seeking set. It was a time when many businesses lived or died by the hot and now. Hence, the shop quickly developed a boundary-pushing reputation as a cupcake shop capable of thinking well outside the box with outre flavors like BLT, a white truffle cupcake that cost upwards of $75, and a whole line of booze-infused cocktail cupcakes, complete with happy hour tastings. Smartly, Rothman and co. dazzled diners and captured the attention of the country for its unique wares before slowly but steadily pivoting in a more concise direction. “At the end of the day, it’s also the ability to take really good ingredients and present something that just tastes really good,” she says. Nowadays, savory flavors can still be found at More, but there’s a little less of that shock factor in flavors like mango-cilantro and strawberry-black pepper-balsamic. Explains Rothman, “Those are cupcakes that are a little more new, they’re not just chocolate and vanilla, but still are in that comfortable realm of what a cupcake is.”

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While one cupcake shop paved a progressive path to carve out its legacy, another longstanding establishment proves there’s more than one way to secure renown. As the first cupcake shop in Chicago, Swirz in Lincoln Park is still just as beloved and popular as the day it opened. Only about six months after Sprinkles made its debut in Los Angeles, Swirz came onto the scene in Chicago in 2006. “The identity of the brand is a rich buttermilk cake base and whipped Italian buttercream,” explains Pam Rose, who owns Swirlz with business partner Brandon Mayberry. “It’s unique in that you’re actually cooking the sugar and the water, adding fresh egg whites, and you add fresh European butter from Grasslands Farm in Wisconsin.”

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Pam Rose with cupcakes  (pictured right) at Chefs and the City

Pam Rose with cupcakes (pictured right) at Chefs and the City

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Over the years, Swirlz has done almost 1,500 flavors, many of which are interpretations of flavors from across the world. Everything is made from scratch, from eye-catching garnishes to fruit compote fillings made from berries plucked from a CSA, and it’s this kind of attention to detail, talent, and commitment that helps make Swirlz such an integral part of Chicago’s sweets scene, rather than a blip on the trendy radar.

Chicago Hot Dog Crosstown Classic

Weekday Planner: Curious George Happy Hour, Band of Bohemia’s Bar Menu and Pizza Nights at The Duck Inn

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Chicago Hot Dog Crosstown Classic

Chicago Hot Dog Crosstown Classic

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In the spirit of summer and baseball season, Blackwood BBQ is hosting a “crosstown classic” all its own, and it’s just as all-American as the sport itself. The restaurant’s famed brisket will be available in custom-ground brisket hot dogs served in two ways in honor of Chicago’s famed crosstown classic series. From July 25 through July 29, all Blackwood locations will feature the Smoky Woo Woo (two brisket dogs on New England-style rolls topped with crunchy apple slaw and housemade pickles with spicy Kansas City and South Carolina mustard barbecue sauces) and The Big Hurt (one brisket dog with chopped brisket, smokehouse beans, and Alabama white sauce).

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Curious George Happy Hour at Headquarters Beercade

Happy hour is especially happy when Curious George is involved. Headquarters Beercade embraces their whimsical side with a new Thursday happy hour that runs from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Dubbed “Curious George goes to Headquarters,” the adorably themed event features $5 cocktails, $5 craft beer cans, $3 well drinks, and $2 Curious Shots.

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New Bar Menu at Band of Bohemia

In case you needed more reasons to hit up Ravenswood’s stunning Band of Bohemia, the brewery/restaurant/bar just added a new bar menu that demands your attention. These new casual entries are great for snacking and casual weeknight dining, with comforting items like a steak sandwich with bearnaise sauce, a fried chicken sandwich, and a bacon fat gingersnap that’s frosted to look like a little pig. The bar menu is available anywhere in the restaurant, not just the bar.

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Pizza Nights at The Duck Inn

Another fun new weekly event to check out this summer is the pizza night promo taking place on Wednesdays at The Duck Inn. The clever concept has chef Kevin Hickey using excess ingredients found in the kitchen every week for pizzas served on the restaurant’s back patio. As you might expect from such a dexterous chef, these are far from your typical pizzas, with toppings that may range from uni butter to gooseberries, prawns, short rib, and morel mushrooms. Pizza nights take place on Wednesday evenings throughout summer.

GAMING FOR GREEN 2016

Gaming for Green 2016:

Chicago Gateway Green 2016 “Gaming for Green“, a poker tournament and casino night benefiting Chicago Gateway Green

Chicago gaming for green 2016

Chicago gaming for green 2016

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Gaming for Green 2016: Chicago Gateway Green 2016 “Gaming for Green“, a poker tournament and casino night benefiting Chicago Gateway Green. Event guests  will enjoy live music, and a variety of charitable gaming including, roulette, craps, blackjack and bean bag toss, along with a fabulous raffle and poker prizes. Fine food & cocktails will also be offered including Galleria Marchetti’s famous Italian specialties and complementary beverages with ticket purchase.

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Event Specifics

Date and Time: Thursday, July 21, 2016 5:30PM Check-In / 6:45PM Cards Fly

Venue: Galleria Marchetti, 825 W Erie Street Chicago, IL Tickets

Buy-In  $175, Spectator Ticket  $50

All Proceeds Benefit Chicago Gateway Green’s Tree Planting Program!

Click HERE to purchase your tickets today!

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Chicago gaming for green 2016

Chicago gaming for green 2016

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Prizes provided by:

Binny’s Beverage Depot ~ Bloomingdales ~ Cadella Medical Spa ~ Candyality ~ Chicago Athletic Clubs ~ Chicago Bears ~ Chicago Blackhawks ~ Chicago Bulls ~ Chicago Cubs ~ Chicago Food Planet Food Tours ~ Chicago Helicopter Experience ~ Chicago Pizza Tours ~ Chicago White Sox ~ Chicago’s First Lady Cruises ~ Crosstown Fitness ~ Destination Fitness ~ Devon Seafood Grill ~ Dinner Detective ~ Dinotto Pizza e Vino ~ East Bank Club ~ Entertainment Cruises ~ Fitness Formula Clubs ~ Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar ~ Garrett Popcorn ~ Gene Siskel Film Center ~ Griffith Parc Salon ~ Harry Carays ~ Hub 51 ~ Joes on Weed ~ Lynfred Winery ~ Mariano’s ~ Moksha Yoga ~ Pinstripes ~ Rockit Ranch ~ Shred 415 ~ Six Flags Great America ~ SkyDeck ~ Texas de Brazil ~ The Hyatt Regency Chicago ~ The Joffery Ballet ~ Trunk Club Mens Outfitters ~ Virgin America ~ Wines for Humanity ~ Xtreme Xperience, LLC

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Weekend Planner: Backyard BBQ Series in Chicago, Amperbash, and European Spirits Tasting

Backyard BBQ Series in Chicago and European Spirits Tasting

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Backyard BBQ Series in Chicago

Backyard BBQ Series

Backyard BBQ Series

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Backyard BBQ Series

Summers are for barbecues. It’s especially nice when said barbecues take place on restaurant patios, assuring the food is as memorable as the blissful weather. Bill Kim is kicking off a summer BBQ series at bellyQ on Sunday, June 26, and he’s joining forces with prominent local chefs to make it happen. Taking place on a monthly basis through summer on the last Sunday of each month on bellyQ’s patio, the roster gets underway with Giuseppe Tentori of GT Fish & Oyster and forthcoming GT Prime. For $45 per person, tickets include a menu of BBQ fare from both chefs, plus two drink tickets. 

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Amperbash

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To celebrate its first anniversary in business, Ampersand Wine Bar is hosting its second annual “Amperbash” on June 24 from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., and they’ve invited some of their local comrades to join in on the festivities. The bash is a wine walk and block party along the 4800 block of North Damen Avenue in Ravenswood, featuring local businesses, sommelier storytelling, wine education, tastings, food, live music, and more. Ampersand will be doling out mini burgers with Brie and horseradish mustard, plus kale and quinoa salads with roasted garlic, watermelon radishes, and candied cashews. Other vendors in participation include Bang Bang Pie, Amy’s Candy Bar, Gallery 19, One Key Yoga, Groundswell Coffee Roasters, and others. Attendees must be 21 years of age or older for entry, which costs $35 at the gate. Tickets include two wine tastings at each participating business.

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European Spirits Demo and Tasting at Bohemian House

Cocktails and European spirits take the stage at Bohemian House as part of a special tasting event on Sunday, June 26. Hosted by beverage director Danny Bautista, the event entails demos and tastings of two cocktails, including the Czech Mate made with plum brandy, Becherovka herbal liqueur, apple juice, lime juice, and angostura. The other drink is the Chartreuse Smash with Green Chartreuse, Becherovka, lime juice, mint leaves, and cucumber wheels. The event takes place from 2:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. and the cost is $15 per person. Reserve your spot by calling the restaurant.

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Barbecue

Barbecue (also barbeque, BBQ and barby/barbies) is both a cooking method and an apparatus. The generally accepted differences between barbecuing and grilling are cooking durations and the types of heat used. Grilling is generally done quickly over moderate-to-high direct heat that produces little smoke, while barbecuing is done slowly over low, indirect heat and the food is flavored by the smoking process.

The word barbecue when used as a noun can refer to the cooking method, the meat cooked in this way, the cooking apparatus (the “barbecue grill” or simply “barbecue”), or to an event where this style of food is featured. Used as an adjective, “barbecued” refers to foods cooked by this method. The term is also used as a verb for the act of cooking food in this manner. Barbecuing is usually done out-of-doors by smoking the meat over wood or charcoal. Restaurant barbecue may be cooked in large brick or metal ovens designed for that purpose. There are numerous regional variations of barbecuing, and it is practiced in many areas of the world.

Satisfy Your Corndog Cravings in Chicago

Satisfy Your Corndog Cravings in Chicago

Satisfy Your Corndog Cravings in Chicago at Roots

Satisfy Your Corndog Cravings in Chicago at Roots

Feeling nostalgic? Check out these spots in Chicago for corndogs that should transport you right back to the state fair.

Satisfy Your Corndog Cravings in Chicago

Corn dogs conjure memories of Americana state fairs and comforting junk foods of yore. Nowadays, chefs in Chicago have tapped into those recollections to deep-fry nostalgia and offer up their own savorous interpretations of this patriotic pastime. Grab a stick and dig into these exceptional corn dogs in Chicago.

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Bangers & Lace

When it comes to contemporary corn dog renditions, the end all-be all is the foie gras version served at Bangers & Lace. In case a deep-fried sausage wasn’t decadent enough, the beer bar gives fatty duck liver the state fair treatment by wrapping it in garlic sausage and brioche cornbread before dropping it in the deep fryer. The end result is an indulgent dog with a touch of sweetness and a richly creamy center.

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Roots Handmade Pizza

While Quad City-style pizza may get top billing at Roots, don’t overlook the corn dogs. The restaurant offers a few sausage options, all of which can be dipped in sweet corn breading and fried. The Vienna sausage is a hometown favorite, offered along with Italian sausage, bratwurst and even a gyro sausage.

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Old Town Social

For years now, Old Town Social has been at the head of its class when it comes to butchery, charcuterie and all things meaty in Chicago. Along with a dizzying array of house-crafted charcuterie platters, the restaurant and bar is particularly renowned for their meticulous housemade hot dogs, which took quite a bit of research and time to perfect. If you’re looking to up the ante, said hot dogs can be made into corn dogs, fried with a thin coating that lends a nice, light crunch to the seasoned and grilled sausages.

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Small Fry

This Logan Square newcomer specializes in all sorts of greasy Americana comforts, perfect for late-night noshing between bars. Along with burgers, chicken sandwiches and fries, there’s a unique corndog infused with miso-roasted corn and jalapeños. It’s a surefire way to upgrade your drunk eating in the neighborhood.

Lunch at Haywood Tavern, Yoga at SPiN

Lunch at Haywood Tavern, Yoga at SPiN

Lunch at Haywood Tavern

Lunch at Haywood Tavern

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Friday Lunch at Haywood Tavern

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Getting a jump on the leisurely weekend daytime eating and drinking, Haywood Tavern has rolled out Friday lunch service. Now available weekly from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., the menu is filled with American comforts perfect for summery lounging. Think smoked chicken and chickpea salad, smoked brisket Frito-quiles (!), a griddled cheese sandwich with quince mustard, and Haywood deservedly famous cheeseburger. To drink, there’s a Bloody Mary, a beermosa made with Weihenstephaner hefeweiss, and orange juice, and a Paloma Smash with grapefruit, tequila, lime, simple syrup, and mint.

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Rosé Sundays at Bottlefork

The best Sunday Fundays are ones filled with rosé, the unofficial drink of the summer… every summer. To celebrate the beautiful weather and the refreshing patio imbibing, Bottlefork is newly offering half-priced glasses and bottles of rosé every Sunday all season long. It pairs nicely with many of Bottlefork’s shareable plates, like tuna crudo, smoked salmon salad, and Wagyu jerky. The promo is available all day long, from 10:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.

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Yoga at SPiN

Summer is all about that beach bod. Get toned with a little rejuvenating yoga at SPiN, one of downtown Chicago’s hottest new bar/restaurant/ping pong club hybrids. From 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 a.m. on July 15, SPiN welcomes yoga instructor Brienne Coates to kickstart the weekend with an energizing morning session. Additionally, attendees who return that same afternoon will receive a complimentary drink. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.

Dining Chicago’s Cinnamon Roll Bucket List

Dining Chicago’s Cinnamon Roll Bucket List

Brunch time! Here are the best cinnamon rolls to eat in Chicago.

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Dining Chicago's Cinnamon Roll Bucket List Cantina 1910)

Dining Chicago’s Cinnamon Roll Bucket List Cantina 1910)

Dining Chicago’s Cinnamon Roll Bucket List

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From the churros with roasted cinnamon sugar to the cajeta crumb cake with housemade goat’s milk cajeta, the pastry program at Cantina 1910 is seriously strong. This is especially evident during weekend brunch, when both of those aforementioned pastries shine, along with chile-spiced cinnamon rolls that get generously frosted.

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One of the newest entries to the brunch scene, Dos Urban Cantina has a delicious miscellany of sweets and savories to choose from. Courtesy of adept pastry chef Jennifer Jones, some of the former includes the likes of Mexican chocolate coffee cake, Texas sheet cake, and cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. They’re splendid in their quality simplicity.

A hybrid between a croissant and a cinnamon roll, new rooftop destination Raised features a brunch pastry called a “Frassant” on their menu. It’s made with croissant dough, cinnamon, sugar, chocolate sauce, and berry jam, and it’s the best of both worlds.

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The cinnamon roll at The Bristol has a bit of a cult following going for it. Which is really saying something, considering the Bucktown restaurant makes so many things well and features a revolving door of seasonal ingredients, house-cured meats, and beautiful preparations. But come brunch and that hulking pastry really stands out, and for good reason. It’s tender and doughy in all the right ways, oozing with cinnamon-sugar goodness and frosting melting down into all the nooks and crannies.

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One can’t talk about cinnamon rolls in Chicago without bowing down to the queen: Ann Sather. The longstanding, famed Swedish breakfast and lunch joint features some of the most renowned cinnamon rolls in the country, and all it takes is one bite to see why. First of all, an order of a single cinnamon roll is actually two conjoined rolls that take up your whole table. They’re ridiculously soft and pillowy, laden with warm royal icing.

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For those looking to up the ante on their cinnamon rolls, head to Yolk and try the unabashedly indulgent cinnamon roll French toast. It’s an enormous plate of sliced and battered cinnamon rolls, with maple syrup rendered entirely unnecessary. Warm and crispy from the griddle, these are brunch pastries on steroids.

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Inspired by everyone’s favorite aromatic mall staple, Little Goat features their own rendition of a Cinnabun on their brunch and pastry menus. True to form, these things are on another level entirely. Sure, they’re just as enormous as that food cart mainstay, but the flavors are intense, potent, and well-balanced, with just the right amount of heady spice to counter all that sweetness.