NEWS from Choose Chicago

Al Orendorff

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Official kick-off for 12th Annual Chicago Restaurant Week

(CHICAGO – (December 5, 2018) – Choose Chicago, the official destination marketing organization for Chicago and producer of Chicago Restaurant Week (CRW), announces that ticket sales are now open for First Bites Bash – the official kick-off event for the 12th annual Chicago Restaurant Week.

Joe Flamm, Executive Chef, Spiaggia & Café Spiaggia, along with Chicago Mixologist Jarmel Doss will host this year’s annual event at The Field Museum of Natural History on Thursday, January 24, 2019, from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Choose Chicago will donate a portion of proceeds from First Bites Bash to Pilot Light, a nonprofit organization that helps children make healthier choices by connecting the lessons they learn in their classrooms to the foods they eat on their lunch trays, at home and in their communities.

In addition to serving as Executive Chef of the Michelin-starred Spiaggia restaurant, last year Flamm won the coveted ‘Top Chef’ award from the Bravo TV series of the same name.

“First Bites Bash is a great kickoff event to Chicago’s Restaurant Week and one of the many staple culinary events in Chicago that brings together the restaurant community,” Flamm said. “Restaurant Week is a great opportunity to introduce new guests while welcome returning guests into our restaurant to experience a hand selected menu.”

Jarmel Doss, Assistant Bar Director of The Aviary, started her hospitality career by bartending to help pay for college, where she was working toward earning a degree in biochemistry. In 2015, she joined the Alinea group and was promoted to Assistant Bar Director in 2017. Last year, she bested nine other local mixologists to win the first Chicago STARS Mixology Competition.

“I’m so excited to co-host First Bites Bash this year,” Doss said. “Beverage programs are an integral part of so many restaurants in Chicago so to be included this year is a direct reflection of that fact.”

More than 70 restaurants participating in Chicago Restaurant Week will be on-site at The Field Museum’s Stanley Field Hall to preview tasting portions from their respective Chicago Restaurant Week menus.

A limited number of Early Bird tickets are now available for $95 per person at until the quantity runs out. General Admission tickets to First Bites Bash are also available for $125 per person until event capacity is reached or until 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 24, 2019.

“An amazing meal can be the centerpiece of an even more amazing city experience,” said David Whitaker, Choose Chicago president and CEO. “First Bites Bash is Chicago’s annual opportunity to celebrate its leading role as a culinary destination and a sneak preview to Chicago Restaurant Week.”

The 2019 First Bites Bash event is sponsored by 100.3fm WSHE, 101.9fm The MIX, Chicago Concierge, Diageo, FROST Chicago, the James Beard Foundation, Josh Cellars, Michigan Avenue magazine, OpenTable, Regional Transportation Authority, Smithfield Foodservice and Stella Artois. The complete list of First Bites Bash participants is available at

Chicago Restaurant Week, taking place January 25 – February 7, 2019, offers locals and visitors 14 days to experience Chicago's diverse culinary talent with more than 390 restaurants featuring prix fixe menus. Brunch and lunch menus will be available for $24 and dinner for $36 and/or $48, excluding beverage, tax and gratuity. Visit on Wednesday, December 12 to view participating restaurants, menus and make online reservations.

About Choose Chicago

Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor destination leveraging the city's unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. For more information, visit Follow @ChooseChicago on Twitter and on Instagram @choosechicago. Like us on Facebook. Follow the conversation on Twitter with #FirstBites19 and #CRW19.


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