With summer schedules winding down, you can free yourself up to go tailgating at Saint Lou’s Assembly, plot your first fall beer dinner, attend a Japanese food festival, and more.
Get a Taste of Aya Pastry on Saturdays
Aya Fukai is easily one of the most buzzed-about pastry chefs in town, and fans of her Maple & Ash desserts have been chomping at the bit for her to open a storefront for her Aya Pastry pop-up. But in the meantime, she’s started a series called Saturday Storefronts, which turns the space at 1332 West Grand Avenue into her own bakery for a few hours each week. This should satisfy the hungry hordes looking for sourdough loaves, croissants, and samoa cakes.
Details: Saturdays, 8 a.m.–noon, at 1332 West Grand Avenue
Bears Out Back: Tailgate at Saint Lou’s Assembly
In case you don’t have your own truck to tailgate with, consider Saint Lou’s Assembly your saving grace. The West Loop spot is hosting a season-long tailgate party in its backyard and on its patio (it’s enclosed in the winter, so no worries about freezing to death). Each week through January, the patio gets tailgate-ready with loaded waffle fries, wings, buckets of Miller High Life, and, of course, TVs for watch parties.
Details: Weekly through football season, starting September 5
Eat Brunch at Café Cancale
Just when you thought Café Cancale couldn’t get any hotter, the Wicker Park stunner adds Sunday brunch to the mix, giving diners a whole new set of dishes to fawn over, namely almond croissants, a buckwheat crepe called galette complète, and French omelets oozing with Gouda. To drink, French spirits such as cognac, pastis, and absinthe star in daytime potables like the Aveze Spritz.
Details: Sundays, 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Band of Bohemia’s 3rd Annual Caravan Art Festival
One of the most unique restaurant events in town, Band of Bohemia’s annual Caravan Art Festival feels part carnival, part brewpub, as the parking lot next to the restaurant fills with artsy tents, jazz, hot dogs, and brats. Peruse the vendors outside before heading indoors for brunch or dinner.
Details: September 8, 2 p.m.; $5 suggested donation
Wild Onion Beer Dinner at Maddon’s Post
As bittersweet as it sounds to bid summer adieu, I’m personally here to welcome our first fall beer dinner of the season with wide-open arms. Especially since it includes Midwest brewery Wild Onion and Wrigleyville’s delightful new Italian-Polish restaurant, Maddon’s Post. On September 12, the latter will spotlight fall flavors and pair them with beers like Crazy Fingers Pale Ale, Pumpkin Ale, and the 2018 Coffee Drago Barrel Aged Stout. The event is 21-plus, and menu details are TBD.
Details: September 12, 6 p.m.; $45
Dove’s After Dark
As obsessed as I am with the lunch-y/brunch-y dishes at Dove’s Luncheonette, I’m excited about the concept of a late-night Dove’s. For one night only, the Wicker Park restaurant is staying up past its bedtime and serving a bevy of cocktails in a low-lit setting befitting an evening of ambient imbibing.
Details: September 13, 11:30 p.m.–2 a.m.
Celebrate Grandparents Day With Sundae Funday
Speaking of holidays, you haven’t forgotten Grandparents Day, have you? With the holiday coming up September 8, Chicagoland Culver’s locations is offering an adorable promo that allows kids to celebrate with their grandparents in a truly sweet way: Beginning September 8, 25 area outposts are offering a free frozen custard sundae to a lucky—and hungry—grandparent. The offer is limited to one per customer, dine-in only, and with the purchase of another frozen sundae. Because Grandma or Grandpa shouldn’t be dining alone on Grandparents Day, anyway. To make things even cuter, all participating Culver’s will have a life-size pop-up picture frame for selfie opportunities, with the hashtag #GenerationsUnited to shout out the company’s efforts to engage all generations. The free custard offer is available on the remaining Sundays in September.
Details: Check out participating locations here
Meet & Greet Dog Adoption Event at Onward
If there’s one thing I can always get behind, it’s dog adoption. If there’s another thing I can get behind, it’s dog adoption with a side of avocado toast. Rogers Park newbie Onward is hosting a special dog adoption event and benefit on its patio with One Tail at a Time Dog Rescue, wherein 50 percent of proceeds from a special Bone Appetit dog menu will go to the organization—and several dogs available for adoption will be in attendance as well. Even better? Guests can bring their own dogs to hang out on the patio and enjoy chef Patrick Russ’s special menu of sweet potato strips and frozen peanut butter and banana treats. For humans, there’s plenty of brunch items to go around, from duck sausage sandwiches to avocado toast with smoked salmon.
Details: September 14, noon–3 p.m.; free
Adult Trivia Night at JoJo’s Milk Bar
I love a good racy trivia night, especially when it’s held in a fun, colorful space outfitted with a life-size Lite Brite wall, board games, and Pac-Man machines. JoJo’s Milk Bar now hosts adult trivia nights on Wednesdays in its upstairs “Playroom.” As the suggestive name hints, the trivia is for mature audiences only.
Details: Wednesdays, 7–10 p.m.
2nd Annual Kizuki Chicago Japanese Matsuri
After massive success last year, Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya and the Japanese Culture Center are once again hosting the Kizuki Chicago Japanese Matsuri, but this time it’s bigger. The extended festival takes place at NewCity Plaza and celebrates Japanese culture in all forms—look for lots of food vendors, performers, drinks, and artisans. The Z Gallerie space is being outfitted as “Drink World,” filled with sakes, Japanese beers, whiskeys, rums, teas, and a special custom brew from Forbidden Root. Additionally, Kizuki will conduct ramen tours at the restaurant, and patrons will get a chance to create their own ramen bowls.
Details: September 20–22; free admission, $10–$20 for food and drink tickets
S.K.Y. and Oriole Join Forces for a Very Special Dinner
When two of the hottest and most acclaimed restaurants in Chicago team up for a special event, you snag tickets ASAP. Especially when said event is an altruistic endeavor to raise awareness about suicide prevention. S.K.Y. is hosting Pausing for the Case on September 23, with the team from Oriole joining in the kitchen for the five-course meal. Tickets include a welcome reception with hors d’oeuvres and champagne, a tasting menu, and a special vintage bottle of champagne for two. Tickets go on sale September 3.
Details: September 23, 6–11 p.m.; $350
Hot Chicken Tuesdays at Pub Royale
For all you fans of Pub Royale’s amazing hot chicken, take note: The bygone menu item comes back on Tuesday nights only. Available all evening, the India hot chicken is served with a mercifully refreshing Hamm’s tall boy for $15.
Details: Tuesday nights