Rooftop magic galore – and other fun weekend spots & events around Chicagoland

My friend Marina admiring the beautiful murals at Gino’s East in Streeterville

What are you doing this weekend? With so many fun food-related events going on in Chicagoland, there is plenty of choice – and only 2 days to spare! DH is almost always at the office during the weekend, and as such we have yet to make any plans. Hopefully he won’t have to leave for work and we’ll be able to go to at least one of the events below. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Keeping my fingers crossed πŸ™‚

Taste of Chicago is the highest anticipated foodie fest by far this weekend. With close to 70 restaurants and food trucks on the list and a packed schedule to boot, this festival promises great culinary discoveries and a fun family time all-around. I hope we’ll get the chance to attend tomorrow – the Celebrity Chef du Jour and the Lifeway Foods Taste Kitchen demo featuring Chef Nathan Sears look equally exciting. If not, then I can still catch up with Chef Sears’ exquisite creations at ROOF on theWit.

I visited ROOF on theWit back in the spring at the launch of their new menu developed by Chef Sears,Β  and savoring delicious Moorish region-inspired food and sipping on fashionable cocktails while watching the world go by from up above, made for a very rewarding experience. In the latest JetSet Series event tonight and tomorrow night, ROOF on theWit invites guests to go on a trip to Costa Del Sol, Spain and to fully immerse themselves in the sights, sounds, and tastes of this world-renowned tourist attraction. Party-goers will savor dishes such as chicken&chorizo paella and Spanish fried egg, and cocktails such as the Spanish Mistress, made with rum, chili peppers and passion fruit.

Picture courtesy of ROOF on theWit

If you’ve ever been to Spain, now’s your chance to relive the best parts of that experience. If you have yet to travel to Spain, now’s the perfect time to check out the vibrant Spanish nightlife, in anticipation of your next getaway. Fun time either way!

Picture courtesy of ROOF on theWit

If pizza is your thing, you must check out the rooftop and menu at Gino’s East on Superior St, which has been throwing some of the best pizza parties in Chicagoland since opening its doors, back in 1966. Famous for its high quality Chicago-style pies, Gino’s East also serves artisan beers and wines at the Superior St location, which was featured on TV shows/movies such as Man v. Food, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and Fred Claus.

Gino’s rooftop terrace is something to behold. Featuring comfortable upholstery pieces and extensively decorated murals, the location strikes a balance between classic and modern which definitely enhances the al fresco dining experience.

My friend Marina and I recently attended Gino’s East Summer Kick Off Party at this location and can vouch for the food as well as the service. Our server was awesome… πŸ™‚

… and so were the many pizzas she brought over to our table. The Diavola variety, with spicy pepperoni, basil and white truffle oil, packed a lot of heat and was my favorite by far.

I also enjoyed the Chicago Fire pizza, with hot&spicy sausage, fire roasted red peppers and red onions. This pie felt a bit heavier to me than the Diavola, yet it was flavorful and delicious nonetheless. Plus, it had roasted red peppers, one of my favorite ingredients ever. Enough said, lol

A special mention must be made about Eat Your Veggies, Gino’s vegetarian pizza option which featured zucchini, red onion, roasted eggplant, mushroom and basil. I really appreciated the addition of roasted eggplant, with a meat-like texture which complemented the protein-packed mushrooms and crunchy onions beautifully. This pie gets a big thumbs up from me!

Last but not least, another charming high altitude dining spot is AIRE, located on top of Hyatt Centric in the Loop. A rooftop bar with stunning views of the Chicago skyline, AIRE offers its guests a variety of cocktails and small plates made for sharing. The weather was hot and humid when I visited AIRE a few weeks ago, and I was actually not feelingΒ  well as a result. Thankfully, I started feeling better as soon as I arrived at AIRE, in part due to the friendly service (my cold drink arrived in a matter of seconds, no kidding!) and the patio umbrellas which offered plenty of shade.

Yep, this is how summer perfection looks and feels like in our great city:

The AIRE menu features a sizeable assortment of small plates such as beef sliders, roasted chicken wings, jalapeno cheddar churros and Bavarian pretzels, which can be paired with various local and national beers and cocktails. My friend really enjoyed these antipasto skewers with a balsamic glaze:


As for me, I am a new fan of the Clark flat breads served at AIRE, which come with marinated roma tomatoes, mozzarella, arugula,Β extra virgin olive oil and a balsamic glaze. All the deliciousness of pizza without the abundant calories!

If you live in the burbs and can’t travel downtown this weekend, no worries: there’s plenty of foodie gatherings outside Chicago to keep you busy. Two quick options spring to mind: the Hungarian Gulyas Festival in Norridge and the Rockin’ Ribfest in Lake in the Hills.

With so many fun food spots and events throughout Chicagoland, there’s plenty of opportunities for each of us to escape routine. Pick yours, have fun – and let me know how it goes. Cheers! πŸ™‚

*Disclaimer: While I received complimentary tastings to facilitate this post, all opinions expressed here are my own. Please call the locations above to check hours and days of operation and/or to make reservations.


  • Marina

    July 7, 2017

    Hey! I’m glad you had a positive experience at AIRE! πŸ˜‰ I’ve been to the ROOF on theWit, and I hope we can go there together sometime! You know how I feel about rooftops;) The antipasto skewers were indeed delicious.

    • MickyN

      July 8, 2017

      Yep, I know how you feel, and I should definitely make an effort to check out as many as possible with you πŸ™‚


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