Service Beyond the Table at City Winery Chicago

Several City Winery employees assembling gifts for children!

City Winery Chicago employees assembling children’s gifts

City Winery Chicago gives back this holiday season with a new employee initiative, “Service Beyond the Table.” Led by Dan Morgridge, one of our floor managers, the initiative is to encourage all of our employees to get involved to give back a little during the holiday season. Read what Dan has to say about the company’s first outing on December 16, 2014:


If I told you that google had absolutely zero results for the phrase “community service in the service industry”, would you be surprised? That probably depends on if you work in the industry. If there is one thing our staff is exceptional at, it is providing great service. From seaters to CEO, I’ve personally seen some very generous acts and and some very loving care given to our guests as well as each other.

But those who have been in the industry know that while this average server can do so many kind deeds, they are often short of time to do them off the clock. They’re often working tables around some other commitment – school, music, theater, or even a second or third job. And the opportunities most marketed and presented by service and charity donations are usually in direct conflict with their work schedule.

But still: can we do something more with this? Can’t we take this great big army of hospitality and use it for more than a tip?

Upon investigation, I found inspiration from some of the off-hours do-gooders on our staff – of which I learned there are quite a few! After hearing of several people’s ability to continually volunteer at several organizations, I decided to see if our whole staff was up for a challenge.

We’re calling it Service Beyond The Table. The goal is this: over the next three months, we want to get half of our staff involved in a service activity. These can be activities that they already do, these can be one offs, these can be a big old party of community service that we’ll try and organize.

Our first outing was organized by our pastry chef, Angelica Rangel. She took a group of us to work on a toy drive organization trip, where several staff members helped sort and package toy donations for thousands of kids in need across Chicagoland.

One of our servers also devised a way for busy staff to give something without giving up time – she’s set up a food donation bin for us to give to a local food pantry. If you want to get in on the giving spirit as well, bring your donations to us!

We’re hoping as the holiday season progresses, we’ll have even more leaders step up and gather some of our fantastic City Winery hospitality together for ever more good deeds. If you have a cause or activity you think would be a good fit, we’d love to hear about it – drop us a line and help us help others!

Celebration of Giving with The Catholic Charities

Celebration of Giving with The Catholic Charities

All of the children's toys waiting to be assembled

All of the children’s toys waiting to be assembled

January Events at City Winery


We all know how chaotic life can get toward the end of the year with shopping, cooking, parties and all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but what about when it’s all over? You know, on New Years Day, or the first Monday we go back to work and realize there’s no exciting holidays or parties to look forward to for a while? That’s where City Winery comes in! Our amazing January lineup assures that the only post-holiday blues you should have to experience are the smooth & soulful sounds of Bilal, the upbeat funky blues rock of Robert Randolph and the Family Band & Friends, or the acoustic bluesy folk songs of Jackie Greene!

Whether you’re into rock, jazz, R&B, country, bluegrass, or several genres, the diverse lineup of music and shows in our venue this January welcomes everyone to enjoy at least one City Winery event! After kicking off the new year with two nights of Bilal, an impressive week of rock music follows with three sold out nights of The Psychedelic Furs, an evening with Marshall Crenshaw & the Bottle Rockets, and a very special benefit with The Misfits for Chicago’s very own Rock ‘n’ Roll photographer John “NuNu” Zomot

The following weeks boast several distinct artists including cellist and composer Ian Maksin, energetic jazzy New Orleans group Stooges Brass Band, Mary Fahl of The October Project, and modern folk group The Duhks. Singer-songwriter & Grammy-winning producer Joe Henry performs, followed by modern Colorado bluegrass group Head for the Hills as part of the Chicago Blues and Bluegrass Festival. Platinum country musician Wynona Judd & Friends are here toward the end of the month to perform stories & songs, followed by an evening with actor & musician Jeff Daniels Band, and both shows have meet & greet tickets available as well! January will end on a humorous note with two stand-up performances by actor and comedian Kevin Nealon.

Aside from all of the concerts in January, The Dinner Party has a special pre-Dinner Party tasting with The Trotter Project for the first time, FWD Theater project is back for a special staged reading of The Black and White Ball, a new original musical, and our Winter installment of our City Winery Wine School which focuses on the Iberian Peninsula begins on 1/21 with a focus on Spain! If you haven’t attended one of our wine events yet, we highly recommend checking out our fun & educational wine classes & tastings!


Take a look at our full January Lineup below:

1/1- Bilal w/ Nola Adé
1/2- Bilal w/ Kentrell
1/4,5,6- The Psychedelic Furs (Sold Out)
1/8-Marshall Crenshaw & The Bottle Rockets (Sold Out)
1/9,10- Howie Day
1/9- The Misfits- A Benefit Concert for Chicago’s Own Rock ‘n’ Roll Photographer John “NuNu” Zomot w/ The Private Instigators (11pm)
1/11- Ian Maksin w/ Goran Ivanovic Trio
1/12- Fear No Art Presents the Dinner Party
1/14- Stooges Brass Band w/ Lowdow
1/15- Chuck Ragan w/ Al Scorch
1/16- Mary Fahl (Formerly of The October Project) w/ Rachael Sage
1/17- The Duhks w/ The Accidentals
1/18- Jackie Greene
1/19- Joe Henry
1/20- FWD Theater Project
1/21- Head for the Hills w/ Billy Strings and Don Julin
1/23,24- Robert Randolph and The Family Band & Friends
1/25- Kevin Griffin of Better than Ezra
1/28- Wynonna Judd & Friends: Stories & Songs
1/29- Jeff Daniels with The Ben Daniels Band
1/30- Kevin Nealon (7:30 & 10pm shows)

All tickets can be purchased on our website.






Bordeaux Dinner with Pasternak


Everyone loves wine, but not everyone gets the chance to actually learn about what they are drinking! One of the most unique aspects of our urban winery here at City Winery Chicago is our wine education program, which allows us to maximize the wine experience and share the wonderful world of wine with our customers. We offer a wide range of wine education events, including “wine school” series with our winemaker, as well as wine dinners focusing on a specific group of regions in which our guests can not only taste wines and foods of those regions, but also learn about their history and origins as well, which makes for a fulfilling wine experience!

This past week we held an exceptionally special and eloquent wine dinner: Bordeaux Around the World with Pasternak. Nearly 25 guests joined us with our beverage director Rachel Speckan and Jason Blanford of Pasternak Wine Imports for the exclusive opportunity to taste highly coveted wines from the Château Lafite Rothschild portfolio, accompanied by delectable dishes inspired by the regions of each wine. The wine list included a classic Bordeaux vintage, Los Vascos ‘Grande Reserve’ from Chile, Bodegas Caro ‘Amancaya’ Gran Reserva and Bodegas Caro ‘Caro’ from Argentina, and Champagne Baron de Rothschild from Champagne, France. Take a look at the full menu below!

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Course 1:Baby Vegetables, Middle Eastern Couscous with Pesto, and Nudja Spread
Wine: Los Vascos Grande Reserve 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon from Colchagua, Chile

Course 2: Bison Tartar, Fried Quail Egg, Caper Berries, Blackberry Moutard, Charred Shishito pepper, and Grilled Country Bread
Wine: Bodegas Caro Amancaya 2011 Gran Reserva Malbec/Cabernet Sauvingon from Mendoza, Argentina

Course 3: Duet of Bacon wrapped Petite Filet Mignon, Braised Wild Mushrooms, Bearnaise, Grilled Mini Lamb Rack, Spiced Black Bean Puree, and Red Chimichurri
Wine 1: Chateau Lafite Rothschild Duhart-Milon 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
Wine 2: Bodegas Caro Caro from Mendoza, Argentina

Course 4: Milk Poached French Merengue, Vanilla Soup, Orange Marmalade, and Port Reduction
Wine: Champagne Baron de Rothschild Chardonnay/Pinot Noir from Champagne, France


While enjoying each course, Jason and Rachel provided our guests with a brief history of the wine in their glass including the region where it is made, its character, age, etc. We all had the chance to discuss not only our thoughts about the food and wine, but also our backgrounds and where our interest and appreciation for wine came from, and we all got to know each other as much as the few hours together allowed. Several business cards were even exchanged!

Arranging wine events such as the Bordeaux Dinner allow our guests to enjoy so much more than food and wine, and we truly believe that anyone interested at all in wine should experience them. If you are interested in finding out more about our wine events, or if you are looking to attend another, be sure to take a look at our wine events on our website! 

Check out more photos of the Bordeaux Wine dinner below!

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