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Gold Coast Gets a Hamptons-Inspired Bar and More Dining News

Plus: The Winchester announces its closure, and Tortas Frontera receives funding to expand.

The Hampton Social Streeterville   Photo: Marcin Cymmer

Openings

If you’re a fan of that rosé all day life, you’ve probably already been to The Hampton Social (353 W. Hubbard St., River North), a chic, East Coast-themed restaurant by Parker Restaurant Group. This week, a second Chicago location, Hampton Social Streeterville (164 E. Grand Ave., Gold Coast), opened, and this space has the same vibe but a lot more outdoor space, with both a multi-season covered terrace and a rooftop patio.

A long-shuttered bar with a retro menu is coming back to River North with a whole new look. The Motel Bar (600 W. Chicago Ave.) reopened last week and offers old-school dishes like Salisbury steak, pot pie, and a Friday fish fry, along with cocktails with pop culture-inspired names like the Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Morsels

Another sad closing of a personal long-time favorite: The Winchester announced on Facebook that it was closing after five years in operation. The restaurant had one of the coolest spaces in town, with a really lovely low-key atmosphere and a consistently incredible, farm-driven menu. The reason behind the closing isn’t clear (as per the post: “Several factors were working against us and we insisted on maintaining our integrity and standards”) but the owners plan to “reopen and reconcept” soon. Hopefully they make it.

City Winery at the Riverwalk (11 W. Riverwalk South, Loop) announced this week that it is going to bring back its “domes” on October 10. These are clear, igloo-like enclosures where guests can sit and drink in climate-controlled, foul weather-proof comfort. A reservation lasts two-and-a-half hours and costs $85 per person, which includes a $60 minimum food and beverage spend, so it’s not a cheap experience — but it’s pretty cool, with each dome equipped with speakers for music and chic furniture. Reservations are now available via OpenTable.

Speaking of the Riverwalk, the city announced that it plans to bring a dozen new vendors to the waterfront space next summer. A new portion of the walk will open next year after some fall construction, making way for the new vendors, many of which will be minority- or woman-owned businesses. The city is still accepting bids to fill these stalls, but as far as I’m concerned, making the Riverwalk even more vital and busy is a win for everyone.

If you’re a fan of Tortas Frontera during your waits at O’Hare, get ready for more tortas — a lot more. The Filipino fast-food spot Jollibee poured more than $12 million into the Rick Bayless restaurant to facilitate a massive expansion of the brand across the country. It’s great to see the expansion of a local brand that has prioritized supporting local farms and producers.

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