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What You Need to Know About the Chicago Dining Scene This Week

A tri-level West Loop spot opens, and Chicago mourns the death of Donnie Kruse.

Sherry cobbler and Burrata dish at The Lunatic, The Lover & The Poet   Photos: The Lunatic, The Lover & The Poet/Facebook

Openings

Tri-level spot The Lunatic, The Lover & The Poet (736 W. Randolph St., West Loop) has opened its first floor, with a selection of 200 wines curated by co-owner/sommelier Tom Powers (Vivo, Marché, Red Light) and a small-plates menu courtesy of Jessica Nowicki (Naha, Brindille). The second floor—which houses a lounge and private dining space—and the lower-level wine room will debut in the coming weeks.

Bucktown gains another caffeine purveyor in Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea Bar (1620 N. Milwaukee Ave.). There’s no discrimination when it comes to roasters, and you’ll find Chicago’s own Dark Matter alongside Stumptown (Portland, OR), Irving Farm (New York City), and others; eight cold brews and teas on draft; and a matcha bar. There’s also a food menu offering pastries, hot breakfast, and lunch.

Morsels

Donnie Kruse, the beloved co-owner of Stanley’s Kitchen and Tap (1970 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Park), has died. He was a force behind the bar, turning it into an institution beloved by celebrities such as John Cusack and Chris Farley. Many fans are sharing memories on Twitter using the hashtag #thankyoudonniekruse.

Let your favorite high school–age baker know that they’ve got until Friday to submit a recipe for the first-ever Mayor’s Cup baking contest. The competition, sponsored by the French Pastry School, requires Chicago high schoolers between ages 14 and 19 to submit a recipe for a cupcake inspired by the city and a 50-word essay on why they’re inspired to bake—and the competition’s winner will receive a full scholarship to the FPS. Visit frenchpastryschool.com to enter.

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