Expert Picks

Your Weekly Guide for What to Do, See, Eat, and Drink in Chicago: March 16-22

Photo by Shawn Hunt/Courtesy of Tuscany

This week in Chicago, celebrate March Madness with some lasagna, attend a Queer Asian-American storytelling series, reward your right to vote with a pretzel, and snag some shamrock-shaped cookies on St. Patrick’s Day.

Photo courtesy of District Brew Yards

March 16–20: 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: Chicago prices are $24 for lunch and $30 for dinner, and Wheeling prices are $19.95 for lunch and $29.95 for dinner
—Matt Kirouac, Food/Beverage

March 17: Carbs for Civic Duty 
Election years can be stressful (my 6-year-old daughter has already figured that out). District Brew Yards understands our woes and therefore is giving a free pretzel to anyone who shows a voting sticker or wristband on Illinois’s primary election day.
—Jim Morris, Beer

March 17: “Chicago Works: Deborah Stratman” at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago 
Revisit major events in Illinois history in this film by the Chicago artist, from the Manhattan Project to the devastating tornadoes of 1925. Divided into 11 chapters, or parables, the hour-long meditation thinks critically about collective memory, records, and all their gaps.
—Claire Voon, Art

Deborah Stratman, Still From Illinois Parables, 2016. Image courtesy of the artist.

Through March 20: St. Patrick’s Day Specials at Beatrix 
St. Patrick’s Day specials take the form of cookies and cocktails at all Beatrix locations in March. The former is an adorable iced clover cookie in the shape of a shamrock, while the drink du jour is called Whiskey in the Jar, a riff on Irish coffee made with Dubliner Honey Irish whiskey, espresso, cream, and cinnamon. Details: Cookies available March 13–17, cocktails available March 13–20
—Matt Kirouac, Food/Beverage

March 18: Queer Asian-American/Asian Diaspora Storytelling 
Our stories matter, especially during times of rising fascism and fear amid the horrors of climate change and pandemic-induced xenophobia. I want to see the latest event by Ada Cheng packed with people ready to listen, hear, and see queer Asians breaking dangerous stereotypes with each and every personal truth they reveal. Show up for Cheng and her beautifully curated crew of courageous storytellers and change-makers. Details: 7:30–9 p.m. at National Cambodian Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial
—Tanuja Jagernauth, Theater

March 19 and 20: Pee-wee’s Big Adventure 35th Anniversary With Paul Reubens at the Chicago Theatre
The iconic movie turns 35 this year, and if that makes you feel old, well, you kind of are. And that’s OK! Relive the ridiculous antics and magic of one of the most beloved characters of the ’80s and ’90s, Pee-wee Herman. The evening will feature a screening of the film, followed by stories about the making of the movie. Details: 7:30 p.m.; $39–$75
—Matty Ryan, Comedy

March 20: “At Sea” at Lillstreet Art Center 
Cassie Tompkins’s fiber works are bright and absorbing environments of swirling energy. In this solo show, she presents items made during her residency at Lillstreet—abstract fabric pieces that reference water, flowers, and skyscapes.
—Claire Voon, Art

Photo courtesy of Eataly Chicago

March 20: 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: 6 p.m.–midnight; $84
—Matt Kirouac, Food/Beverage

March 21: “Play All Day” at Rotofugi Designer Toy Store & Gallery 
There is no other word to describe Nellie Le’s art than cute. The Los Angeles–based illustrator, who is heavily inspired by Disney shorts, paints some of the happiest cats you’ve ever seen, along with dogs, birds, and inanimate objects with their own little faces. See some of her latest pieces in this solo exhibition, where everything is for sale.
—Claire Voon, Art

March 21: Nikki Glaser: Bang It Out Tour at the Vic Theatre 
With more than a decade under her belt, Glaser’s career continues to get hotter. She has had multiple stand-up specials and TV appearances, as well as hosted two shows for MTV and another for Comedy Central, and most recently put out an hour special for Netflix. She currently hosts a daily morning radio show called You Up With Nikki Glaser on the Comedy Central channel of SiriusXM. Details: 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; $35
—Matty Ryan, Comedy

Tuesdays in March: Stroller Grooves 
Winter can feel long with toddlers, so any excuse to get out of the house is a good one! Every Tuesday in February and March, Navy Pier hosts a different free concert with all the favorite kiddie artists from around town. Jam out with Mr. Dave; dance with Bollywood Groove; and keep the beat with Ayodele Drum and Dance. Details: Noon–12:45 p.m.
—Samantha Lande, Family Fun

Restaurant Opening of the Week: Swift & Sons Tavern and Oyster Bar 
The unstoppable force known as Boka Restaurant Group strikes again, this time with a casual spin-off of its Fulton Market steakhouse, Swift & Sons. Located in Wrigleyville, across from the iconic baseball field, Swift & Sons Tavern and Oyster Bar features a focused menu of steakhouse and seafood favorites from chef Chris Pandel, along with a 30-foot oyster bar and plenty of specials available on Cubs game days.
—Matt Kirouac, Food/Beverage