Ahh, February in Chicago: the month meant for hunkering down and eating. Spring will not be springing any time soon, but who cares when there’s a downright amazing roster of restaurant pop-ups popping up around town? Here are the three most worthy of putting on pants and peeling yourself off the couch for.
Secret Donut Society Drops by JP Graziano
Pat McBride is a Le Cordon Bleu grad who worked under Homaro Cantu at iNG, headed up the kitchen at the now-closed Pork Shoppe in Avondale and has dabbled in donuts for years. He’s now employed at a school and finds himself with weekends off, so he’s decided to make the fried—and decidedly cheffy—treats he’s dreamt up a reality. You’ll find the one-man fledgling operation popping up for just the second time at the West Loop Italian grocer and deli J.P. Graziano with three flavors (lemon mascarpone and two others TBD), 60 donuts total, $4 a pop. Past flavors have included spumoni, coconut-lime, matcha and beet-tangerine, and all feature a cakey, sour cream old-fashioned base.
If you can’t make it on the second, you’ll find McBride back at J.P. Graziano the first Saturday of each month, and you can also score the goods at Kimski, beginning at 5 p.m. on the third Saturday of each month. What’s on deck for the (not-secret-for-long) Secret Donut Society? We donut know. “I’m just having fun right now,” McBride says. “It’s a side project.”
Details: February 2, 10 a.m. until sold out
Cellar Door Provisions Anniversary Party—With Pizza!
The crew from beloved Logan Square bakery Cellar Door Provisions is celebrating its fifth anniversary in unexpected fashion: they’re stepping away from the ovens and inviting Nick Lessins and Lydia Esparza of the storied Andersonville pizza spot Great Lake into the kitchen. (Yeah, the Great Lake where Jay-Z and Beyonce had to wait for a table just like the rest of us mortals.) Lessins and Esparza broke hearts when they shuttered their teeny storefront in 2013, and have been off the scene since.
In contrast to the Neapolitan-esque pies they served at Great Lake, Lessins and Esparza plan to offer square pies—sold by-the-slice for $6 to $7, eat-in only—at the shindig. If you ever dined at Great Lake, you know getting your hands on this pizza takes patience and stamina, and we expect the same here. See you in line.
Details: February 4, 5-9 p.m.
Milktooth Takeover at Dove’s Luncheonette
Experience the culinary pride of Indy in Wicker Park, when much-lauded superstar chef Jonathan Brooks sets up shop at Dove’s. Together with Dove’s chef de cuisine Tom Carlin, he’ll take to the kitchen for an all-day stint, whipping up some of the iconic comfort food dishes from his four-year-old upscale diner. In the morning, expect breakfast miso soup with pickled kombu and beech mushrooms; yucca latkes with acorn squash jam and pickled melon rind; and, God-willing, a spin on Milktooth’s insane Dutch Baby pancake. Later on, Brooks and Carlin will collab on dishes including a seared tuna sandwich on Texas toast and bacon-wrapped rabbit hot dogs with Southern-inspired Mexican toppings.
Details: February 18, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.