Kaitlyn Lawlor, concierge at the Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile, offers up her top three things to do in Chicago this pre-holiday week. From pizza in Andersonville and Emerald City Theatre’s production of Cinderella at The Broadway Playhouse to ice skating in Millennium Park, it’s all here in this short video clip.
The beloved opera tells the story of two lovers who endure magic-filled ordeals in order to win each other.
This is the first new production of The Magic Flute in Chicago in 17 years and will feature the Chicago premiere of the English translation by Jeremy Sams. The Magic Flute performs at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park on September 15, 19, 21, and 23.
Chosen by former General Director Brian Dickie, who left the company in June, The Magic Flute will mark the last production of his 13 year tenure.
“Brian made Chicago Opera Theater a beacon of the opera landscape, both nationally and internationally,” says General Director Andreas Mitisek. “He produced all of the great Mozart operas during his 13 years at COT and The Magic Flute is a brilliant way to say good bye.”
The opera will be conducted by Steuart Bedford and directed by Michael Gieleta.
Singing the role of Tamino in his Chicago debut is tenor Sean Panikkar. He has sung numerous times at the Metropolitan Opera and also with the San Diego Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Washington National Opera, and Opera Boston. Soprano Elizabeth Reiter sings the role of Pamina. Elizabeth has most recently sung with Opera Frankfurt, Opera Memphis, Opera Company of Philadelphia, and the Castleton Festival. In the role of Papageno is baritone Markus Beam, who recently sang at Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Toledo Opera.
Russian bass Grigory Soloviov makes his Chicago debut singing the role of Sarastro. The past two seasons he has sung with Palm Beach Opera, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, and Opéra de Montreal. In the role of Queen of the Night is Irish soprano Claudia Boyle in her U.S. debut. She most recently sang with Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and at Wexford Festival, and last summer she sang at the Salzburg Festival with Maestro Riccardo Muti.
Individual tickets to The Magic Flute are available by calling 312-704-8414 or online at ChicagoOperaTheater.org and range from $45 to $125 per ticket.
COT offers half-off tickets to students in sections A, B and C. They have also introduced 100@25 – a new ticket program where they offer 100 tickets to each performance for only $25. These will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and are available in all sections of the Harris Theater. (Subject to availability, and a limit of two tickets per household.)
After, you guessed it, five years as a top competitor in Chicago’s world of exquisite dining this upscale European-inspired eatery is ready to celebrate. Beginning Thursday, June 28, and running for two full weeks, The Gage is hosting an anniversary celebration you won’t want to miss.
So, you might ask, what exactly does Executive Chef Dirk Flanigan have up his pristine white sleeves? The answer: an unforgettable five course menu; composed of his best creations:
Speck Wrapped Smelt, Giardiniera ($11)
Basil Escargot Goat Cheese Risotto ($16)
Potato Salad Arugula, Cream Onion Dressing ($10)
Sea Bream Oxtail, Pesto, Toast ($26)
Lamb Chops Stew Vindaloo ($32)
French Toast Maple Gelée, Butter Foam, Maple Mousse ($9)
To accompany these delectable ala carte dishes, The Gage is proud to offer an equally sophisticated list of spirits and ales, including The Gage Single Barrel 9 Year Bourbon, and a special anniversary brew, an Irish Red Ale appropriately titled Half Acre Gage 5YR Red. Both of these novelty beverages were selected especially to help the city celebrate the success of this iconic South Michigan Avenue restaurant, and both are available for just $5, as are the other libations available at The Gage, a list which includes their annual collaborative Goose Island brew, the Luciana.
This rustic-themed restaurant is a favorite for fine dining, known for its great taste and great service. So take advantage of a great atmosphere and these generously priced delights, and help the owners and staff at The Gage celebrate their five year achievement over lunch, dinner, or just drinks.
Located directly across from Millennium Park at 24 S. Michigan Ave., The Gage is easy to get to by El, bus or taxi, plus valet parking is available at the University Club (76 E. Monroe St.) for $20. The Gage is open every day of the week, closing at 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and at 10 p.m. on Sundays.
Now that summer is in full swing, get ready for music, drinking, dining, and more in Millennium Park!
The Plaza at Park Grill provides a casual al fresco dining experience with something for everybody: starters, salads, sandwiches, a children’s menu for kids under 10, and a walk-up bar with an impressive summer drink menu. The Grill is open every day from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., so stop in and find yourself in the midst of all The Plaza has to offer.
After lunch, why not visit The Plaza at Park Grill North Lounge, a comfortable lounge area where events can be seen all summer. Make sure to visit the tented South Lounge as well for games, food, and cocktails.
The Plaza at Park Grill’s summer events list includes a “Run to the Plaza” lakefront run (6 p.m. on June 19, July 24, and August 28) where the first 312 runners who sign up will receive refreshments, entertainment, and a complimentary 312 Urban Wheat Ale.
Thursdays this summer will host “Party in the Park” with 101.9 The Mix, including live bands every week from 4 to 6:30 p.m., and Friday afternoons from 5 to 8 p.m., Chicago cover band Rendition will perform, with specials on Goose Island 312 brews. On Saturday evenings beginning at 8 p.m., see DJ Heyzomb!e spin live!
All of these events are free so take an afternoon to stroll through the park, cool off with a frozen treat from Park Café (open every day at 10 a.m.), and enjoy Chicago in the summer with The Plaza at Park Grill.
Park Grill is gearing up for their fourth annual “Burgerfest,” a seven day celebration of America’s favorite sandwich. The Millennium Park restaurant will offer a special, week-long burger menu from Monday, May 21 to Monday, May 28 (which just so happens to be National Burger Day). This specialty sandwich menu will only be available during lunch service, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day.
Seven burgers will be featured in three categories: “the classics”, “local and sustainable” and “the eccentric group”.
8 oz black angus patty, lettuce, tomato, red onion, on a seeded bun ($11). Add herkimer cheddar, swiss, amish bleu, butter kasse cheese, mushrooms or cured bacon for an additional $2 each
American Kobe Burger
charred onions, grain mustard, on a pretzel bun ($17). Add gorgonzola cheese or cured bacon for an additional $2 each
Local & Sustainable
Mint Creek Farm Lamb Burger
tomato-rosemary jam, cambozola cheese, on potato bun ($16)
Berkshire Pork Burger
pineapple ramp relish, butterkase, pancetta, on a butter bun ($14)
The Eccentric Group
cranberry chipotle ketchup, brie cheese, on a brioche bun ($13)
Black Bean and Farro Burger
horseradish cheddar, smoked pepper aioli, charred onion, on a potato bun ($13)
ginger mustard, napa cabbage-sesame slaw, on a butter bun ($16)
Concierge Correspondent Bobby Gonzalez of the Hotel Palomar offers up an eclectic mix of things to do in Chicago this week.
From his compelling reason to snag tickets to BaconFest Chicago and why you should take in the beauty of the Lurie Garden in winter (yes, really!) to the best ways to celebrate Chinatown’s 100th Anniversary, it’s all here in this short video clip.
Park Grill announced today the appointment of Thomas Donnelly as executive chef. Donnelly is passionate about food and is committed to using high quality, seasonal ingredients that reflect a farm-to-table approach.
Donnelly was born and raised in Chicago and is a graduate of the Culinary Arts program at Kendall College. He comes to Park Grill with over 15 years of restaurant experience that includes Le Bouchon, ten years with Levy Restaurants and Bistro 110, Bistro Margot, Lettuce Entertain You’s Brasserie JO and Sopraffina Marketcaffe.
His most recent position was with Eurest Dining, a division of Compass Group International, as both a general manager and executive chef.
Christopher Rodriquez is concierge at the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago and is a South Side native who feels that Chicago’s warmth, inviting people and diverse offerings make it second to none.
“The friendliness you find here, even though it’s a huge city, is one of my favorite aspects,” he says.
Christopher has held many jobs over the years (and some interesting ones at that!), including stints as a ranch hand and repo man. It wasn’t until Christopher was working as a retail manager in a woman’s clothing store that he considered the concierge profession.
“While I was firmly trenched in guest service, I got my start as a concierge sort of by luck,” he says. “At the clothing store I was approached by a manager from the W Chicago Lakeshore hotel who asked me to follow up with her as she had a job in mind for me.”
That follow up meeting resulted in his being named head concierge at the W Chicago Lakeshore, where he worked for three years. Prior to joining the concierge team at the Trump hotel, he helped to start the concierge program at the then newly-opened Affinia Hotel.
“I have had the privilege to work with some of the best and brightest stars of this industry,” he says. “And my present team is a great example.”
So, what tops his list of things to do in Chicago? “I would recommend spending time walking around Millennium Park – especially taking in the gorgeous, serpentine BP Bridge and, of course, the Pritzker Pavilion which is my favorite aspect of the Park,” he says. “Couple that with grabbing a Polish sausage or Chicago-style hot dog from Downtown Dogs for lunch and some people watching on the Magnificent Mile and you’re guaranteed to have a great afternoon.”
Oh, he also suggests ending the night by indulging your sweet tooth at Sprinkles cupcakes. “It’s an absolute treat,” he adds.
Tags: Affinia Hotel, Chicago Style Hot Dog, Christopher Rodriguez, Concierge of the Week, Downtown Dogs, magnificent mile, Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Trump Hotel Chicago, W Chicago Lakeshore
Whether you’re looking to delve into history at the Pritzker Military Library, take in the legendary music of Frank Sinatra or to relax with friends before dancing the night way, Wyndham Chicago Concierge Kaitlyn Lawlor offers up her three picks for weekend fun in Chicago.
Tags: broadway in chicago, Chicago Events, Chicago Musicals, chicago theater, Chicago Travel, Come Fly Away, concierge video picks, Kaityln Lawlor, Millennium Park, Pritzker Military Library, The Mid, things to do in chicago, What to do in Chicago
Concierge at the Hotel Allegro – A Kimpton Hotel, located in the heart of Chicago’s theater district, Anthony Gates is a lifelong Chicagoan who loves to keep himself informed on the best happenings around town in order to tailor his guests’ experiences accordingly.
“I love helping to create a great experience in Chicago,” he says. “Helping to organize guests’ sightseeing itineraries so they get the most out of their visit in a specific time frame is incredibly rewarding, challenging and fun.”
And when those guests return to the hotel and have nothing but positive feedback on their experiences? Well, that’s just icing in the cake for Anthony. “It’s what makes me feel especially passionate about my job,” he adds.
So, how did he get his start as a concierge? “I was working at the Westin Hotel on Michigan Avenue as a night auditor and when I would leave at 7 a.m., I noticed that there would be a line at the concierge desk,” he says. “I took the initiative of going over there and helping with basic questions and really discovered my passion for hospitality and the profession.”
When it comes to helping his guests explore all that Chicago has to offer, Anthony excels at staying current on what’s happening in Chicago. Whether it’s street closures due to construction and giving his guests’ directions to avoid the hassles to knowing the top places to see and be seen.
“As a concierge, it is so important to be on top of the timely events that are taking place around town,” he says. “From watching the news and reading the newspapers, keeping yourself informed is a necessary—and fun—part of the job.”
What tops his list of things to do and see in Chicago right now? “Ice skating outdoors at Millennium Park or indoors at the John Hancock Observatory is an absolute-must,” he says. “I also encourage my guests to catch Buddy Guy when he performs at his eponymous club.”
When it comes to dining options, Anthony is passionate about our hometown eats. “You can’t be in Chicago without trying some of our specialties like a Chicago-style hot dog, deep-dish pizza or indulging in a steak,” he adds.
Tags: Anthony Gates, Buddy Guy's Legends, Chicago Events, Chicago Steakhouses, Chicago-Style Hot Dogs, Concierge of the Week, concierge picks, Deep Dish Pizza, Hotel Allegro-A Kimpton Hotel, ice skating in Chicago, John Hancock Observatory, live music, Millennium Park