Chicago Restaurants Celebrate Pi Day, March Madness, and Ramen

Friday, March 6, 2020
In Chicago, there's always a food-centric holiday or event to celebrate, from Lenten fish fries and St. Patrick's Day to the all-important Pi Day. Here are some of the best—and tastiest—events to check out this month.
Photo courtesy of All Together Now
Green Specials at Public House  Fair warning: There’s a slew of St. Patrick’s Day–themed specials available this month at Public House, and they’re guaranteed to make you drool. I can attest to that. On hand all month long, these green treats include an over-the-top Shamrocked Cake Shake made with Rumple Minze and mint chocolate chip cream (and a whole slice of rainbow cake); bright green pancakes; and Lucky Charms shots made with Bailey’s Irish Cream and Jameson. Details: Specials available through the end of March Weekend Bagels at All Together Now  I feel like Chicago’s bagel scene is slowly but surely getting better and better. The latest indication? Weekend bagels are now being made and served at Ukrainian Village’s idyllic All Together Now. Hand-rolled in such flavors as everything and plain, with cream cheeses like scallion and honey, they can be ordered individually or as part of a two-bagel platter with creamed trout, scallion cream cheese, pea shoot salad, and pickles. Details: Available Saturdays and Sundays while supplies last
Photo by Madison Olszewski/Courtesy of Onward
Friday Fish Fry Returns to River Roast  In honor of Lent, River Roast is bringing back its popular weekly fish fry special for the duration of the season. Each order is a decadent spread of battered and fried cod, malt vinegar fries, housemade pickles, coleslaw, and remoulade, and it’s available every Friday through early April. Details: Available every Friday through April 10; $20 for 8 ounces of fish or $39 for 16 ounces Travel to Florida by Way of Rogers Park Winter in Chicago can be a challenge, which is why Onward is channeling its inner Floridian for a special Florida Keys culinary takeover and fundraiser. Beginning on February 25 and running through March 8, the Rogers Park restaurant is serving sunny vibes with an all-Keys menu of specials like conch chowder, lobster lasagnette, yellowtail snapper with coconut rice, tiki cocktails, and, of course, Key lime pie. Decor will also provide tropical vibes with pastel colors, pink flamingos, palm trees, and pineapple lights, and a portion of proceeds from the specials will go to the Keys’ Dolphin Research Center and the Turtle Hospital. Details: Through March 8; food and drink specials priced à la carte Brochu’s Good Times at the Loyalist  As Chicago awaits one of its most anticipated restaurant openings, Brochu’s Fried Chicken & Fancy Seafood, chef Andrew Brochu is popping up for one night at the Loyalist, giving diners a preview of what’s to come at his in-the-works West Town venture. For the evening, Brochu will offer à la carte specials, including the fried chicken he made famous while at Roister in the form of a sandwich with uni butter. Other plates include “tidewater” stew, pimento cheese with Calabrian pepper giardiniera and fried bread, and crab-tofu dip with dill furikake, along with dishes from the Loyalist’s John Shields, like rainbow trout, broiled oysters, and caviar. Details: March 9 The Butcher & the Bartender: A Pitmaster Class Featuring Woodford Reserve  Any class is made better by the addition of barbecue and bourbon, which is why you’ll want to enroll in this special lesson hosted at Bub City. Learn all about why the two are a match made in heaven from chef Christian Eckmann and Woodford Reserve’s Johnny Costello. The chef will demo signature barbecue techniques, while Costello will host a whiskey tasting incorporating spices from the Rib Rub. Afterward, guests get to enjoy a family-style meal of charcuterie, ribs, and tableside s’mores, paired with double-oaked bourbon. Details: March 9, 6–8 p.m.; $80
Photo by Shawn Hunt/Courtesy of Tuscany
Death & Co. Takes Over Lost Lake  One of the most acclaimed cocktail bars in New York City is taking over one of the most acclaimed bars in Chicago…temporarily anyway. While the folks at Lost Lake embark on a research trip to Jamaica, Death & Co. is stepping in to put its stamp on the tropical Logan Square haunt. Look for D&C originals with a beachy twist, along with a special food menu from chef Dani Kaplan. Details: Death & Co. runs Lost Lake March 10–14 Celebrate Pi Day With Hoosier Mama Pie  In case you needed any excuse to eat pie, Pi Day is prime time to get your fill at one of Chicago’s premier pie shops. Hoosier Mama Pie has a variety of pies available for preorder to celebrate the silly mid-March holiday, with flavors like apple–sour cherry with oat crumble, chocolate chess, chocolate peanut butter crunch, coconut cream, and Key lime. Also of note is the bakery’s pie of the month, maple bacon custard pie: a dark maple syrup custard filling topped with candied bacon. Details: Preorders available here Three-Course March Madness Special at Tuscany Listen, I don’t follow basketball (or sports in general, really), and I’m only vaguely aware of what March Madness even is. But one surefire way to grab my attention is by offering a themed three-course Italian meal to celebrate the series. Tuscany is doing just that with its Stefani Three Pointer special menu, available for both lunch and dinner at its Chicago and Wheeling locations. Dishes include house salad; meat lasagna; and house-made cannoli with ricotta, chocolate chips, pistachio, and powdered sugar. Games will be shown in the bar areas, if that’s of interest to you. Details: Menu available March 16–20; Chicago prices are $24 for lunch and $30 for dinner, and Wheeling prices are $19.95 for lunch and $29.95 for dinner Fried Chicken Reubens at Honey Butter Fried Chicken  As if you needed any excuse to visit this Avondale chicken mecca, Honey Butter is bringing back its annual fried chicken Reuben for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s made with fried chicken strips, pimento cheese, caramelized onions, Thousand Island dressing, and house-made sauerkraut, all heaped on a pumpernickel bun. Details: The sandwich is available March 17–23; $11
Photo courtesy of Honey Butter Fried Chicken
SpringFest at Eataly  Eataly really goes big for spring, and the mega Italian food hall is bringing back its third annual SpringFest, filled with unlimited food, drinks, and live entertainment. The all-inclusive fete will feature Neapolitan pizza, whole-roasted pig, pasta, cocktails, house-brewed beers, Italian wine, and a live band. Details: March 20, 6 p.m.–midnight; $84 Movie Night at Le Sud  Any opportunity to combine dinner and a movie—especially in a restaurant setting—and I’m fully on board. Le Sud is starting a new monthly movie night series called Soirée Cinema, wherein a different French film is screened in the second-floor private dining space in HD with English subtitles. First up is The Rules of the Game on March 25, and tickets to the viewing include a glass of wine and popcorn, while the restaurant’s full menu will be available before, during, and after the movie. Details: March 25, 7–9 p.m.; $20 Diaspora Dinners at Young American  Celebrating the culinary history and heritage of the Jewish diaspora, an aptly dubbed Chicago-based dinner series called Diaspora Dinners is popping up for a special event at Young American later this month. Most of the night is a set menu, 6–8 p.m., though à la carte options start later at 10 p.m. Dishes include snacks like shawarma nuts and huevos haminados, followed by salads such as fried cauliflower with shawarma spice and zhoug; roasted beets with tehina and mint; and roasted rainbow carrots with Moroccan spices and yogurt. The main is mafroum with beef-stuffed potato and bread with olive oil and za’atar, and desserts will boast pull-apart babka, among others. Details: March 29, set menu served 6–8 p.m. and à la carte menu at 10 p.m.; $60 for set menu
Photo by Jack Li/Courtesy of Time Out Market Chicago
Ramenfest at Time Out Market Chicago  Noodle lovers, take heed: Ramenfest is back for its sixth year, and this time it’s at a brand-new venue, which means it’s bigger and better than ever. Taking place March 29 at Time Out Market Chicago and hosted again by Urbanbelly chef Bill Kim, the event features special ramen creations from more than 20 local chefs, including several with eateries at the food hall, like Abe Conlon (Fat Rice) and Edward Kim (Mini Mott). Tickets ensure tasting portions of each ramen dish, plus two drink tickets and an Urbanbelly gift card. Details: March 29, 5–8 p.m.; $75 for general admission and $125 for VIP, which entails early entry at 4 p.m.