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Dining news: New spots, Great Fermentation, holiday offerings

Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

—LiqrBox, 873 N. Orleans St., is a new bar-lounge opening on Dec. 31. The social-dining concept will feature nostalgic cocktails and cuisine, as guests can indulge in elevated versions of childhood favorites, such as "adult" juice boxes and gourmet pizza rolls. In addition, LiqrBox has a 4 a.m. liquor curfew complimented with a full-service kitchen that serves shareable bites until 3 a.m. See

—Corner bar The Shelby has opened at 2759 W. Augusta Blvd. It features a beer program and full bar, and also has a casual restaurant serving snacks, salads, a load-your-own burger and baked-potato program. Chef Rodney Staton is heading the culinary and bar programs. See

—Geoffrey M. Curley + Associates ( GMC+A ) is hosting "The Great Fermentation," its first step in the development of a never-before-seen hands-on attraction and educational experience dedicated to the celebration of wine. GMC+A recently opened its free inaugural pop-up installation, on the third level of Water Tower Place, through Dec. 27. For more information, visit

—Gene & Georgetti Rosemont, 9421 W. Higgins Rd., is offering holiday specials ( on items ranging from bacon-wrapped scallops to bone-in osso buco ) available Thursday, Dec. 21 through Christmas Eve, Sunday, Dec. 24; and Thursday, Dec. 28 through New Year's Eve, Sunday, Dec. 31. In addition, Gene & Georgetti will have festive holiday cocktails available until Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. See

—Dunlays on Clark ( 2600 N. Clark St. ) and Dunlays on the Square ( 3137 W. Logan Blvd. ) will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, Dec. 22, and Saturday, Dec. 23, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Guests can enjoy brunch menu classics such as French toast with crunchy French bread dipped in eggs, cinnamon, vanilla and orange liqueur ( $9 ); and the Dunz Omelet with sundried tomato, basil pesto and smoked provolone cheese ( $10 ). Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling Dunlays on Clark at 773-883-6000 and Dunlays on the Square at 773-227-2400.

—Glazed and Infused is offering new holiday doughnuts. Examples include the Pecan Pie Cheesecake ( $3 ), a vanilla cheesecake-filled Bismarck with salted caramel glaze and candied pecans; Peppermint Mocha Old Fashion‹ed ( $3 ), an old-fashioned doughnut hand dipped in peppermint mocha ganache and topped with homemade peppermint bark; and the Raspberry Cream Holiday Dream ( $3 ), a raspberry cream-filled doughnut with green chocolate ganache, white pearl candies and raspberry ribbon. See

—Big Jones, 5347 N. Clark St., will mark the holidays with its Southern flair. On Sunday, Dec. 24, there will be a Creole Reveillon dinner, a tradition once celebrated in New Orleans' French Quarter after midnight mass. Diners choose one dish per course, with options like American chestnut tamal filled with duck confit and Heritage American buff goose gumbo with housemade meatballs. The full menu is at; the dinner is $52/person.

—The Windsor, 160 E. Huron St., will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday-Saturday, Dec. 22-23, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Items will include The Windsor Club, with ham, turkey, bacon, truffle aioli, tomato and basil ( $13 ); and signature monkey bread with cream-cheese frosting ( $10 ). Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 312-943-7777.

—Italian spot The Florentine, 151 W. Adams St., will have special menus for Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Items available during at least one of those days will include prime rib with painted hills ribeye, yukon gold potato puree, roasted Brussels sprouts, truffled jus and horseradish cream ( $42 ); whole roasted branzino with roasted cauliflower, romanesco, pine-nut relish and lemon caper hollandaise ( $42 ); and panettone bread pudding with classic italian sweet bread and salted caramel gelato ( $9 ). See Website Link Here .

—Evanston's Hewn, 810 Dempster St., has items for Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's Day. Offerings include baked sufganiyot ( through Dec. 20 ), herbed dinner rolls, take-and-bake morning buns, chocolate babka, whole wheat gruyere and more. See or email for more information.

—Seven Lions, 130 S. Michigan Ave., is also offering Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve menu specials. The featured menu includes blackened diver scallops, roasted venison and tres leches cake. Visit

—Winnetka's Restaurant Michel, 64 Green Bay Rd., is celebrating the holiday season with two culinary events on Christmas Eve ( $75/guest ) and New Year's Eve ( $95 ). Christmas Eve will feature four entree selections, including the filet of Dover sole, lobster galantine, brown butter Brussels sprouts leaves, saffron potatoes, lobster fondue and more. The New Year's Eve dinner will feature three entree selections, including the ‹‹roasted filet of venison and stuffed quail with Grand Veneur as well as several first-course selections such as the gratin of scallop and prawn with artichoke beignet and saffron sauce. Call 847-441-3100.

—Baptiste & Bottle ( 101 E. Erie St., in the Conrad Hotel ) will host a Christmas Day brunch at 12-6 p.m. The cost for adults is $95 and it's $20 for children 3-12. There will be a bottomless boozy eggnog and hot-chocolate station for $24. Menu offerings will include salad and carving stations as well as side dishes ( like roasted Brussels sprouts and candied yams ) and desserts ( like beignets and eggnog ice cream ). See Website Link Here .

—Inspired by the famous carol, Sable Kitchen & Bar, 505 N. State St., is offering Twelve Days of Christmas Cocktails, available Dec. 26, 2017-Jan. 6, 2018. Drinks include Three French Hens ( Dec. 28 ), a trio of original Prosecco cocktails served in sherry glasses; and Eight Maids A-Milking ( Jan. 2 ), a tiro of milk-based brandy punch cocktails served in mini milk bottles. See

—Gold Coast spots Spiaggia and Cafe Spiaggia have joined the Tock reservation system. A press release stated that "Tock specializes in reservation and table management built to help restaurants highlight what makes them unique, and provide superior hospitality along the way." To make a reservation, visit Article Link Here .

—On New Year's Eve, Shaw's Chicago, 21 E. Hubbard St., is hosting brunch at 9 a.m.-2 p.m. with all of its diner's buffet favorites from classic breakfast items to cold & hot seafood dishes. In addition, all diners will receive a $25 gift certificate to use toward lunch in the new year. Brunch costs $59 for adults, $10 for children ages 7-12, and is free for children under 6 ( exclusive of tax, gratuity, and beverages ); RSVP at 312-527-2722.

—Benny's Chop House, 444 N. Wabash Ave., will ring in the new year with music from jazz duo Carmen Stokes and Lynn Hilton—the BCH NYE Band—from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Dec. 31. Also, guests will have the option to order from the full Benny's dinner menu featuring all USDA prime beef, shellfish towers, a raw bar and maple-glazed bacon, plus a selection of holiday food and beverage specials and a midnight champagne toast. For reservations, call 312-626-2444.

—For New Year's Eve, Baptiste & Bottle, 101 E. Erie St., will have a Bourbon Street-themed tasting menu with seatings at 5:30 p.m. ( $95 each ) and 8:30 p.m. ( $125 each ). There will be live music during the second seating only.

—On New Year's Eve, Brindille, 534 N. Clark St., will offer a la carte dining options in addition to Chef Carrie Nahabedian's "Flavors of France" menu, highlighting Loire Valley. Tasting menus will also be available, with prices ranging from $125-$250 each according to menus and wine-pairing selections. See

—A prix fixe menu at The Dearborn, 145 N. Dearborn St., features a choice of three courses, including options such as the seafood tower, loup de mer, white alba truffle housemade gnocchi and jumbo ferrero rocher for dessert. The three-course menu will be $72 per person, with an optional $35 wine pairing. Two seatings are available at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Reserve online at Article Link Here .

—ROOF on theWit, 201 N State St., is hosting a Monte Carlo-inspired New Year's Eve Bash at 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 31. Those who purchase tickets—which range from $150 to $3,000—will have access to gaming tables, an open bar and entertainment from Chicago DJ Flipside. See Website Link Here .

—Geja's Cafe, 340 W. Armitage Ave., will offer New Year's Eve guests fondue and champagne along with classical/flamenco guitar music. Geja's will feature three special reserved seatings on Sunday, Dec. 31, at 5, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Seatings will be $95-$130 each; visit

—West Town Bakery is taking over Homestead on the Roof's rooftop, 1924 W. Chicago Ave., for a pop-up New Year's Day brunch filled with classic breakfast comfort food. The brunch is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is priced at $39.95 for adults and $19.95 for kids, exclusive of beverages. Reservations will be available through OpenTable; walk-ins will be accepted if space is available.

—On Monday, Jan. 1, Commonwealth Tavern, 2000 W. Roscoe St., will open at 10 a.m for a special "First Brunch of 2018," available until 3 p.m. Also, Commonwealth will broadcast the Citrus Bowl featuring Notre Dame vs. LSU Tigers at 12 p.m. Notre Dame Game day specials include $5 Guinness, $5 Jameson, $4 Fireball, $5 22-ounce Miller Lite Stadium Cups and $10 Fighting Irish Nachos. See

—On Friday, Jan. 22, JNK Concepts restaurant group will open Roka Akor in Oak Brook at Oakbrook Center, 166 Oakbrook Center. The menu will offer a steak program featuring Japanese and domestic Wagyu selections, including the coveted Certified Kobe Beef. The sushi program—named "Best Sushi Restaurant in the U.S." by Travel + Leisure and "Top 10 Sushi Spots in the United States" by Bon Appétit—features fresh fish that will be flown in daily. See

—The Odyssey Cruise and Spirit of Chicago will offer special menus during Chicago Restaurant Week, Jan. 26-Feb. 8. Depending on the boat, the dishes will include organic spinach and kale salad, baked ziti, oven-baked Atlantic salmon filet, honey-and-sesame chicken and a dessert station. The cost is $33 each ( excluding taxes, gratuity and beverages ).

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