Chicago Mayor puts all his chips on the River West Casino site

Chicago has finally chosen a casino site. If all goes as planned, within two years Chicagoans and, especially, tourists will converge at the intersection of Halsted and Chicago at River West, currently occupied by the Grandstand print shop, play slots, watch shows, and sunbathe on a “pleasure deck” overlooking the Chicago River.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot made the announcement in an ungrammatical tweet Thursday morning: “It is with absolute pleasure that I announce that I have selected Bally’s Chicago at the Tribune Publishing Center as a finalist for Casino Chicago.”

The mayor chose Bally’s $1.74 billion proposal over two other sites in the South Loop. In addition to 3,400 slot machines and 170 gaming tables, a 3,000-seat theater and a spa and hot tub, Block Club reports the resort will also contain a 500-room hotel, a two-acre park with a outdoor music venue and six restaurants and cafes and a food hall.

But the mayor’s blessing is no guarantee that the casino will actually be built, the Grandstand warns. The proposal must first go through the city council and already Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) is rallying a coalition of his fellow aldermen to oppose the plan, Block Club reports; they object to the mayor’s lack of transparency in making his decision and demand more input from the community. Next is the state gaming board, which can take up to a year to issue approval. And then there’s construction, though during this phase Bally plans to set up temporary quarters in the Medinah Temple at 600 N. Wabash Avenue in River North, formerly Bloomingdale’s Home store.

The famous neon sign of Orange Garden lands in the hands of a famous suburban couple

Many Chicagoans were envious when they learned that a mysterious buyer ripped off the iconic neon sign of the 90-year-old Cantonese restaurant Orange Garden at an auction last week. On Friday, the names of its proud new owners were revealed: Chloe Mendel, co-owner of suburban tea shop Madame ZuZu’s, bought the sign for a whopping $17,000 for her husband, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. The Orange Garden sign has been at the center of a run for the couple, Mendel told the Grandstand, so when she came across news of the auction, she jumped at the unusual opportunity. The sign would be removed from its longtime home on Irving Park Road on Sunday, restored to its illuminated glory (it has remained dark since 2020) and displayed at Madame Zuzu’s in Highland Park.

A pre-Mother’s Day lunch on the South Shore will celebrate black moms

Private chef and caterer Cordell Weathers is hosting a “pre-Mother’s Day breakfast” for black moms and mother figures in South Shore on Sunday, serving pancakes and other breakfast foods, according to Block Club. It’s the first Mother’s Day event since 2018 hosted by Real Men Charities, a 32-year-old Chicago-based nonprofit, and is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the association’s headquarters, dubbed the Quarry , at 2425 E. 75th Street. Tickets ($10) and more details are available online, and proceeds from the event will go to Real Men Charities.

A Chicago chef has a problem with Grand Chief: Houston

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Only six chefs remained on this season of Grand Chief: Houston entering Episode 10, and much to the delight of the people of Chicago, which included Damarr Brown (Virtue) – the city’s only contestant – who put in a steady and solid performance week after week. On Thursday, however, Brown encountered some of his biggest setbacks so far, landing in the bottom half for both challenges. He struggled to properly prepare rice for the Quickfire, a Chipotle-sponsored fajita challenge, and cooked a lackluster meal for the NASA-themed Elimination Challenge, which required chefs to create a dish that he would possible to eat on the International Space Station. Despite his poor run, Brown has made it into the top five and will have another opportunity to prove his mettle next week. Read a full recap of the episode on Vulture.

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