For the first time since 2019, the James Beard Awards, also known as the Oscars of the food world, are happening in-person here in Chicago. The main awards ceremony is Monday evening at the Lyric Opera House, but there will be plenty of opportunities over the weekend to celebrate by eating and drinking and pressing the flesh of some of the nation’s top chefs. Here’s a list of events that are open to the public.
Friday, June 10
Bridgeport: Is your name James? Do you have a beard? If so, you’re in luck. Fabulous Freddie’s Italian Eatery is giving away free milkshakes all weekend long to every bearded James who purchases a sandwich or entree. 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, 701 W. 31st Street.
Sunday, June 12
Humboldt Park: The crew at Barda, a JBF award nominee for best new restaurant from Detroit, will run the grill at a backyard barbecue at Sportsman’s Club, which will provide the drinks. Later in the evening, the bartenders at Attaboy, a Nashville nominee for outstanding bar program, will take over the bar. Sunday Backyard BBQ with Barda, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. or while supplies last; Attaboy Takeout, 9 p.m. to midnight, 948 N. Western Avenue.
Lakeview: The Friends of James Beard are hosting a dinner on Wrigley Field’s center field, hosted by Matthias Merges (Folkart Restaurant Management) to benefit the James Beard Foundation’s Open for Good initiatives, which help support independent restaurants that are trying to come back from the pandemic. Tickets are $375 per person, and participating chefs include Tony Priolo (Piccolo Sogno), Josh Kulp (Honey Butter Fried Chicken), and Sandra Holl (Floriole). Stadium Chef Series at Wrigley Field, 5 p.m., 1060 W. Addison Street, tickets via Eventbrite.
Logan Square: Andros Taverna will be serving the much-celebrated, seldom-seen modernist pizza in honor of chef Francisco Migoya, author of the book Modernist Pizza, who will be present and signing books. Andros Taverna, 10 a.m. to noon, 2542 N. Milwaukee Avenue, reservations via Resy.
Logan Square: Doug Psaltis and Hsing Chen, the chef and pastry chef at Andros Taverna, are hosting an all-day food crawl through Logan Square. It starts at Andros Taverna, which will be serving a brunch menu with dishes from James Beard’s American Cookery, and continues through the Logan Square Farmers Market, Estereo, Mini Mott, Taqueria Chingon, Longman & Eagle, and back to Andros for a nightcap. Logan Square Restaurant Crawl, all day, starts at 2542 N. Milwaukee Avenue.
Loop: The Langham Hotel will be hosting a celebratory dinner based on James Beard’s cookbook American Cookery at its restaurant Travelle. Tickets are $150 per person, and participating chefs include Justin Gomes (Travelle), Verlord Laguatan (Somerset), and Zubair Mohajir (Wazwan). Chef Collaboration Dinner, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., 330 N. Wabash Avenue, tickets available via Tock.
River North: Kevin Beary, the beverage director at the Bamboo Room, the bar-within-a-tiki-bar inside Three Dots and a Dash, will be serving special rum-based cocktails all evening long. Customers should sign up for an hour-long time slot, which requires a $15 deposit. Evening at the Bamboo Room, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., reservations available via Tock.
West Loop: Seasonal tasting menu restaurant Smyth and its brasserie sibling the Loyalist are usually closed on Sundays, but chefs John Shields and Karen Urie Shields will open both this week to celebrate the revival of the restaurant industry after two years of pandemic-related chaos — and their own nomination for best chef, Great Lakes. A Celebration of the Industry, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., 177 N. Ada Street, reservations for Smyth and the Loyalist available via Tock.
Wicker Park: The management of the Violet Hour, the Beard award-winning speakeasy, is handing over the reins to Alba Huerta, owner of Julep, a Houston bar that’s a finalist for this year’s outstanding bar program award, so she can show off her Southern-inspired cocktails. Reservations are encouraged, but walk-ins are also welcome. Julep Takeover, 9 p.m. to midnight, 1520 N. Damen Avenue, reservations available via the Violet Hour’s website.
Ukrainian Village: Sheldon Simeon, a former Top Chef contestant and author of the bestselling cookbook Cook Real Hawai’i, will be in residence at the Michelin-starred Filipino restaurant Kasama for a special Hawai’i brunch featuring three of signature dishes from his Maui restaurant Tin Roof — Mochiko Fried Chicken, OG Combo, and Pork Sinigang Verde — in addition to the regular Kasama daytime menu. Chicago x Hawai’i Brunch, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., 1001 N. Winchester Avenue.
Tuesday, June 14
River North: Bar Sótano will be hosting a collaborative dinner with chef Edgar Rico of Nixto Taqueria in Austin, Texas, a Beard finalist for best emerging chef. The menu features two tacos from Nixta, one from Bar Sótano, and one collaboration from both restaurants, plus aguachile and dessert. Tickets are $60 per person. Aquí Comes Nixta, 5:30 p.m., 443 N. Clark, tickets available via Resy.
Around Town: Don’t feel like leaving the house? Here Here Market has assembled a pair of gift boxes full of pantry items and condiments created by local Beard winners. It includes popcorn from Luella’s Southern Kitchen, pasta from Monteverde, and sauces from Mott Street, GT Fish and Oyster, and the Little Goat. For sale online at the Here Here Market website.
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