There are a couple openings this week focused on Spanish flavors — Porto (1600 W. Chicago Ave., East Ukrainian Village), a Spanish and Portuguese spot from the Beatnik team, debuted yesterday, while Boqueria (807 W. Fulton Market, West Loop), a New York import spot slinging tapas and paella, opens tomorrow. There’s also one re-opening: Duck Duck Goat (857 W. Fulton Market., West Loop) is back open after a fire in November shut down the restaurant.
A huge and disappointing closure this week: Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine, the group of gourmet shops and restaurants, is shutting down all locations after 15 years in business. This comes as a surprise, given that Pastoral recently renovated its French Market location. Apparently, money was running short. The stores, as well as Bar Pastoral, will be missed.
Another big change, though not one resulting in a closure — chef Tony Mantuano, the founding chef at Spiaggia (980 N. Michigan Ave., Gold Coast), is leaving the restaurant after more than 30 years. Executive chefs working under Mantuano have run Spiaggia for quite some time, leaving him free to pursue other projects in addition to his work at the restaurant. Now, he’s stepping away entirely.
Yet another reason to dine at Virtue (1462 E. 53rd St., Hyde Park): Erick Williams’s restaurant just got named one of Esquire’s 22 best new restaurants in America. The accolades just keep coming for this restaurant, which has also gotten a big award nod from Eater.
Heisler Hospitality is launching another year of their popular Hot Cocktails for Good promotion. At all of their properties, including favorites like Queen Mary (2125 W. Division St., Ukrainian Village), Bad Hunter (802 W. Randolph St., West Loop), The Revel Room (1566 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wicker Park), and more, there’s a special hot cocktail on the menu, and $2 from each sale goes to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The special lasts all December. Locations are also offering special mugs for $5, with all proceeds going to the Food Depository.
If you’re looking for some Christmas cheer, head over to Tack Room (1807 S. Allport St., Pilsen), the bar that is part of the Thalia Hall/Dusek’s/Punch House complex. They’re re-branding the bar as the Reindeer Room for the month of December, complete with decorations and a ton of special events, like a Charlie Brown Christmas Jazz Brunch.