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

Free lunch today!

Smyth   Photo: Galdones Photography

Openings

On Friday, husband-and-wife restaurateurs John and Karen Urie Shields finally unveiled Smyth (177 N. Ada St., West Loop, 773-913-3773), the companion resto upstairs from their perfectly cozy pub, The Loyalist. Smyth shares its sibling’s casual dress code but ups the culinary ante considerably: the inaugural 12-course tasting menu starts with a sunchoke cannoli and ends with frozen tomato mousse topped with “spicy flowers.”

You’d be forgiven for mistaking Ironside Bar and Galley (546 N. Wells St., River North, 312-973-7792) for Chicago’s latest steampunk hangout, what with all the dark wood, burnished bronze, and Jules Verne-inspired wall art. Still, this is River North we’re talking about here: expect flatscreens, cocktails, and elevated bar bites aplenty.

Morsels

Another dive bites the dust: the Two Way Lounge (2412 N. Milwaukee Ave., Logan Square), which had been pouring for decades, has sold its space to the crew behind the neighboring location of ramen spot Furious Spoon. Their plan is to convert it into a bar called Deadbolt, with drinks from Dustin Drankiewicz (Moneygun), slated to open this winter.

If you’re in need of a free lunch in the Loop today, stop into the pedway level of Block 37 (108 N. State St.), as the new location of grab-and-go chain Pret a Manger will be handing out gratis eats in anticipation of their official opening Friday. From noon to 2 p.m., the first 800 people can pick from a sandwich, wrap, or salad plus a drink.

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