☀️ It’s (almost) patio season!

Food & Drink

I have good news, bad news, and splendid news. 

Bad news: through no fault of her own Alisha Norris Jones, aka Immortal Milk, has pulled out of the next (April 3) Monday Night Foodball, the Reader’s weekly chef pop-up at Ludlow Liquors in Avondale.

Good news: Jones has rescheduled for a Monday in late summer and will be bringing along some very special guests (more on that in July).  Meantime, you can still hang at the bar this Monday and order a Banana Hammock from Grace and a Ludlow smashburger with a side of Copi nuggs from Jaren.

Splendid news: Today is the day I stop teasing it and finally release it: the brand new spring/early summer MNF lineup. It’s still at Ludlow, and the evening is coming when that spacious back patio opens every night to the warm twilit summer breezes and your hungry, high spirits.

It’s been a mild winter, right? Sure, the polar ice caps are gonna deluge us all soon enough, but maybe April 10 will be the night it finally happens. That’s when MFN vet Ricky Hanft of The Wurst, the destination-worthy Griffith, Indiana, craft butcher shop, returns with his tribute to the Beef Wennington, one of only four McDonald’s hamburgers to be created in honor of champion NBA players. Guess which? (more on that tomorrow).

Maybe Milo’s Market, the long-running, peripatetic Mexican pop-up,  or returning MNF vet Jennifer Kim of Alt Economy will bust open the wooden-slat gate. May Day looks good for Giống Giống, the Viet-Guatemalan mashup that kicked off the very first Foodball; and the week after, we’ll have Puerto Rican munchies from Moncho Moncheo, hot off the line from their regular gigs at Honey Butter Fried Chicken.

What better day than the day after Mother’s Day to wish Japanese American comfort food pop-up Mom’s a happy fourth birthday? (If that’s too far out, check out their Women’s History Month collab tonight with @lolo_agogoanother MNF alum—and Koval Distillery at Guild Row.)

Earlier this week John Carruthers, DBA Crust Fund Pizza, won runner-up on the Food Network’s Chopped. He’s been number one with us since Pizza and Donut Night, but now at least you can witness his triumphant revenge on School Pizza Night on May 22. Skip over Memorial Day for the return of regional Indian whisperer Jasmine Sheth the following week, flexing her Tasting India spice line.

It’s definitely getting hotter mid-June when Long Room stalwart Bad Johnny’s rolls out their wood-burning oven and parks it next to the patio gate on Wellington, to sling Roman-style pies. We’ve been trying to pin down Billy Zureikat, aka Tripping Billy, the hardest-working man in pop-ups, for like, ever. We’ve finally got him just two days after the solstice, with a greatest hits menu of his many triumphs. After that, we finish this round with linchpins of the New School of Chicago barbecue Heffer BBQ and their singular central Texican low-and-slow smokecraft.

And that’s just the first half of the summer! 

Remember to watch this space and follow the chefs, the Reader, and me on Instagram to get the very first word on menu drops and ordering protocol.

April 10: Beef Wenningtons from the Wurst

April 17: Mexican-inspired cuisine from Milo’s Market


April 24: Liquid Funk Fermentation Bistro with Jennifer Kim and Alt Economy (@alteconomy)

May 1: Grilling with Foodball O.G. Giống Giống

May 8: Puerto Rican jibaritos and munchies with Moncho Moncheo


May 15: Celebrating four years of Mom’s

May 22: School Pizza Night with Chopped alum Crust Fund Pizza (@nachosandlager)

May 29: Memorial Day
Bye week)

June 5: The return of Tasting India and friends

June 12: Roman-style, wood-fired pizza from Bad Johnny’s

June 19: Tripping Billy’s greatest hits

June 26: Central Texican barbecue with Heffer BBQ

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Best of Chicago is coming soon!

On Thursday, April 6, we’re excited to release the Best of Chicago issue! Click below to sign up for the Best of Chicago newsletter, and be the first to know of the winners! 


Issue of
Mar. 23 – Apr. 5, 2023
Vol. 52, No. 12

View/Download Issue (PDF)

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