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: 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: 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 Monday).
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_agogo—another 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.