Weekly Planner: Air & Water Show BBQ, Late-night Burgers, Paella Cook-off

Air & Water Show BBQ at GreenRiver

With the Air & Water Show taking place this weekend in Chicago, GreenRiver is poised to celebrate in style with a perfectly summery BBQ bash. Considering the restaurant’s location on the 18th floor of a Streeterville high-rise, it also happens to be the perfect setting for a front-row seat to all the action. Taking place both on August 20 and August 21, the ticketed terrace events take place from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., both with al fresco open bars. Chef Aaron Lirette will be cooking up Southern-style barbecue with dishes like slow-smoked beef brisket with bourbon molasses BBQ sauce, applewood-smoked pulled pork, mac & cheese, cole slaw and buttermilk cornbread. Head bartender Julia Momose will be shaking up a bevy of signature cocktails, like the Yuzu Gin & Tonic and the Aperitivo #1 with Rosso Antico, J Rieger Kansas City whiskey, blackberry, absinthe and Boker’s bitters. Tickets begin at $85 per person, followed by a $175 ticket that reserves two guests a terrace table. There’s also a $300 option that secures four guests a terrace table. Tickets can be purchased by emailing Derek Lauck at dlauck@unionsquareevents.com. 

Sunday Supper at Dolce Italian

Dolce Italian is getting in on the wholesome Sunday supper action with a new weekly repast all its own. Every Sunday evening, the chic River North restaurant rolls out a spread of dishes designed for sharing amongst friends and family. In order to participate, your table must have four or more diners, considering the portions and communal aspect. It’s a four-course family-style feast of dishes like meatballs, pappardella and gelato, and everyone gets a complimentary welcome cocktail. 


GreenRiver; photo by Barry Brecheisen

Late-Night at Epic Burger

Nothing satisfies those late-night drunk cravings quite like a good burger. Epic Burger is rising to the occasion with newly implemented late-night hours running Thursday through Saturday. Keeping things simple, delicious and high-quality, Epic Burger is renown for its thin patties griddled to perfection and heaped with onion, pickles and Epic sauce. New weekend late-night hours are 11:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. 

Crayfest at Smack Shack

In honor of crayfish season, Fulton Market’s new seafood go-to is christening its first annual Crayfest on August 20. Taking place from 3:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m., the all-day fete at Smack Shack features an all-you-can-eat Louisiana-style crayfish boil made in Smack Shack’s custom metal 100-gallon boil in a broth of Old Bay seasoning and onions. Crayfish will be served with red potatoes, corn on the cob, slaw and griddled milk bread. Tickets also include one of the restaurant’s Hurricanes, and live music will be played 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. courtesy of Four Star Brass Band. Tickets are $20 and are available through the day of the event here.  

Third Annual Paella Cook-off at Mercat a la Planxa

One of the best late-summer events in the city is back for a third round, as Mercat a la Planxa prepares to host its third annual Paella Cook-off on August 25. Once again, a handful of local chefs will come together to vie for paella glory, whipping up their own renditions of the Spanish staple. Produced in conjunction with Bon Appetit presents Chicago Gourmet, the event takes place from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., and this year’s roster of chef talent includes Ashlee Aubin of Salero, Angelina Bastidas of The Gwen, Ricardo Jarquin of Travelle, Cardel Reid of The Signature Room and Joanna Stachon of Ada St. A panel of chef and media judges, including Mercat’s own Jose Garces, will award the ultimate paella, while attendees will get to vote for the “People’s Paella.” General admission is $45 per person and includes hors d’oeuvres, paella samples, a sangria bar, beers and Spanish-inspired cocktails. A portion of proceeds benefit the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. There’s also a VIP option, which costs $65 and includes an extensive reception starting at 5:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here


Michael Jordan's Steak House
Michael Jordan's Steak House

Michael Jordan’s Steak House Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

They grow up so fast! Michael Jordan’s Steak House is gearing up to celebrate its fifth anniversary on August 23, and they’re celebrating in altruistic style. Not only will the steakhouse provide complimentary slices of cake to all guests dining for dinner, but they’re donating a portion of proceeds to the James R. Jordan Foundation, which works to provide equal academic opportunities for children. 

Ping Pong Night at Forbidden Root

Ping pong is so hot right now. Forbidden Root is even hotter right now. So it makes sense to combine the two and have a killer night of drinking, dining and entertainment. The West Town brewery and restaurant is hosting a ping pong night on August 24 from 8:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m., wherein half the chairs and dining tables will be replaced with ping pong tables. $5 Forbidden Root beers are available during the event, and there’s no charge to attend. 

- Matt Kirouac