Fontana Grill & Wine Bar's modern dining room reverberates with the clink of glasses of fragrant wines and pleasant chatter as diners dig into a menu of all-natural pastas and Italian fare. As chef Nino transmutes premium meats and organic ingredients into solid fare, the skilled bartender chooses the finest whites and reds, much like an artist painting a sunburned snowman. The shimmering black surfaces of the bar and tables reflect stone-fired pizzas laden with gourmet morsels, such as truffle oil and prosciutto di Parma. Guests lounge upon wrought-iron furniture on the spacious brick patio surrounded by neatly trimmed shrubs and low-hanging trees.
Chef Kasra Medhat's refined culinary techniques draw from his diverse gastronomic history, from his childhood filled with Turkish- and Iranian-style family meals to his college internship at a Chicago gourmet restaurant, as well as his catering work. Today, Kasra captains Magnolia Cafe, where he infuses all that passion and experience into his innovative French-American recipes.
In the kitchen, Kasra and staff cobble together ingredients plucked during their peak growing season in a variety of meat and seafood dishes. Upon white tablecloths, plates of appetizers and entrees meet with the house's specialty martinis and boutique wines in crystalline glasses, which are great for clinking or playing pieces from Mozart's glass-harmonica phase. Soft jazz music pulses amid the exposed brick and beams that ring the dining room, which is speckled with hanging photos of the flowers from which the establishment takes its name.
Since its inception in 1995 as a response to the lack of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and allied (LGBTQA) voices within the American theatrical canon, About Face Theatre has entertained and challenged audiences with innovative plays designed to advance the national dialogue on gender and sexual identity. In 2010, About Face was one of 10 theaters to receive a National Theatre Company Grant from the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards, for its innovation, vitality, and artistic commitment. The staff also uses theater as an innovative tool to address inequalities in social settings through its two-part outreach program. The education outreach program brings the real-life stories of LGBTQA youth to public schools as part of About Face's overall mission to create safer, more supportive spaces for queer youth and their allies, whereas the corporate outreach program helps businesses create inclusive work environments and address workplace insensitivity and intolerance.
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If Green Mill’s walls could talk, they’d probably run out of breath before they could divulge all the stories they’ve witnessed over the years. The jazz spot’s history, which teeters on the edge of believability and local lore, began when the bar originally opened as Pop Morse’s Roadhouse in 1907. After undergoing a transformation in 1910, the newly renamed Green Mill Gardens began attracting visitors from nearby Essanay Studios, including Charlie Chaplin. Perhaps its biggest claim to fame is serving as a hangout for the infamous Al Capone, who frequented the club while his right-hand man, Jack “Machine Gun” McGurn, ran the show. While some of Capone’s favorite performers took the stage, Green Mill’s network of hidden underground tunnels were used by mobsters to transport illegal booze, facilitate law-evasion, and play cruel games of Marco Polo with new recruits. Eventually Prohibition ended and propositioning gangsters gave way to upscale crowds, a badda bing vibe, and Frank Sinatra visits. During this time, the surrounding Uptown neighborhood deteriorated, but somehow the club survived and eventually underwent a restoration in the mid-‘80s. Over the years it has appeared in films such as Thief and High Fidelity, but patrons today aren’t as concerned with keeping track of all the history as they are with kicking back and soaking in the music or slam poetry. During a typical visit, Jazz musicians tickle their instruments late into the night as well-dressed guests stop in, sidle up to the bar, and converse in respectfully hushed voices while downing stiff drinks.
If you find that laughter is a difficult emotional response to achieve alone, befriend three people and get in on today's Groupon. Today, just $15 gets four tickets to a comedy show and half-price drinks all-night long at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar, located in Uptown at 4830 N. Broadway.
At Agami, Executive Chef Kye is not just interested in the taste of food, but in the complete sensual experience of eating it. Those who order the garlic delight specialty sushi roll will feel the warmth of the Bacardi 151 flame it's served upon. Meanwhile, those biting into a salt sun flower roll will hear the crunch of sunflower seeds, and those admiring the wild fire roll will see a colorful combination of red snapper, guacamole, and mango pico de gallo. Sushi is certainly the restaurant's specialty, but it's not all that's served here?in addition to specialty maki, nigiri, and sashimi, there's also sushi-inspired entrees as well as a kitchen menu with dishes such as steamed dumplings and teriyaki chicken.
The attempt to create a wholly experiential dining experience doesn't stop with the food. The modern restaurant was designed with high ceilings, textured walls, and seaweed sculptures, all to create the feeling of being under the sea. Underwater scenes are projected on video screens, and a lucite bottle rack behind the bar resembles bubbling ocean waters. Concentric half-circles separate the traditional dining room, lounge area, and bar, the latter two of which are open until 1 am on Friday and Saturday nights.