As temperatures drop and daylight hours grow all the more brief in Chicago, the reality of fall is sinking in. While the fun of summer food festivals is in the rear-view mirror, autumn is an excellent season for eating, whether one is getting into soup mode or imbibing pumpkin spice Malört. Pop-ups are a great way for chefs and diners to keep things interesting as the leaves start to change. Follow along for a sampling of the best the city has to offer in Eater Chicago’s pop-up round-up.
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Around Town: Just in time for Halloween, Chicago chains Lou Malnati’s and Portillo’s have reanimated their Frankenstein-esque culinary collaboration: Italian Beef Deep Dish is back, baby. Originally launched in 2022, the gimmick was ideally positioned as fodder for local food media coverage. Anyway, it’s available again for nationwide shipping and sold in take-and-bake form at Lou’s locations.
Magnificent Mile: Sushi POP, a pop-up dinner series at the Lobby inside the palatial Peninsula Chicago hotel, is open on Friday and Saturday evenings through November 18 with a Japanese-influenced menu and a DJ-helmed soundtrack of ‘80s and ‘90s pop music hits, according to a rep. Attendees are encouraged to don vintage duds for a dinner of spicy scallop maki, maguro caprese, and more. A sushi tasting menu is also available. Reservations are available via Tock. Sushi POP at the Peninsula Chicago, 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through Saturday, November 18, 108 E. Superior Street.
River North: Motorcycle-riding oyster company Motor Shucker will pop up for eight days in October with a four-course menu at the Bamboo Room inside Three Dots and a Dash, according to a rep. Bar leadership from Three Dots will also create “Naval-inspired” rum cocktail pairings to accompany each course. Reservations are available via OpenTable. Motorshucker at The Bamboo Room at Three Dots and a Dash, Fridays and Saturdays from Friday, October 6 through Saturday, October 28.
Wicker Park: The Chicago Pizza Summit is returning after a little nap, coming to the Royal Palm Shuffleboard Club on Sunday, October 15. The pizza festival recently announced its lineup including a collaboration between Professor Pizza and Gino’s East. Read the full lineup on Instagram. Chicago Pizza Summit, Sunday, October 15 at Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, 1750 N. Milwaukee Avenue, tickets via Bucketlisters, tickets $65, $50 for patrons under 21; kids four and under free.
Aurora: Traveling food festival Halal Ribfest will make an Illinois stop on its nationwide tour from Friday, October 13 to Sunday, October 15 at Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, about an hour outside the city. Advertised as the largest halal food festival in the state, the event will feature ribs and other barbecued meats, as well as carnival games, live performances, pop-up markets, and raffles with prizes. Tickets, which vary in price based on date, and more details are available via Eventbrite. Halal Ribfest Illinois at Fox Valley Mall, Friday, October 13 to Sunday, October 15, 195 Fox Valley Center Drive in Aurora.
Humboldt Park: Suds on Screen: Drinking Scenes in Film and TV, a deep dive presentation on the stories of Chicago bars and restaurants immortalized on the big and small screen, will pop up on Thursday, October 19 at Goose Island Barrel Warehouse. Hosted by the Chicago Brewseum and WEBZ’s Curious City, the event will feature stories and clips of famous bar scenes in pop culture, and tickets ($25, available via Eventbrite) include two Goose Island beers. Suds on Screen: Drinking Scenes in Film and TV at Goose Island Barrel Warehouse, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, October 19, 603 N. Sacramento Boulevard.
The Loop: Chefsgiving, a new Thanksgiving pop-up from hospitality non-profit Chicago Chefs Cook and French restaurant Venteaux inside the Pendry Chicago hotel, will hold its inaugural gathering on Thursday, November 9 with a lineup of lauded chefs raising funds for the Pilsen Food Pantry. Participating chefs include Marcel Heiduk (Venteux), Rodolfo Cuadros (Bloom Plant Based Kitchen), D’Andre Carter (Soul & Smoke), Devon Quinn (Eden), Manny Mendoza (Herbal Notes), and Felicia Mayden (Lovage). Tickets ($150) are available via Eventbrite. Chefsgiving at Venteaux, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, November 9, 224 N. Michigan Avenue.