Chicago’s top doc encourages COVID-19 boosters for adults who want one. | Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Plus, the Tribune crowns the best bagel in the city and Saucy Porka expands to St. Louis

Chicago restaurant and bar workers who got a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine six months ago may already be eligible for their booster shot, even if they don’t know it. Chicago health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady in a press conference Friday urged adults who were inoculated last spring to get a booster shot if they’re attending “higher risk events” — a frequent activity for many hospitality employees serving patrons indoors, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If [Chicagoans] have any kind of underlying condition or if they’re working, or living, or even attending a higher risk event, we are encouraging them to also get a booster,” Arwady said Friday.

Official federal guidance on eligibility COVID-19 boosters is more conservative, prioritizing those who are 65 and older, have an underlying medical condition, or live in a long-term care setting. Arwady’s approach, however, seems to follow the lead of health officials in California who have informally opened eligibility for any adult who wants one, according to Axios Chicago. COVID-19 rates have increased in the city this month after a dip in early fall. As of Monday, the city’s daily case average is 436.

The announcement may evoke a sense of deja vu for Chicago’s hospitality workers, many of whom (those without a preexisting condition) spent more than a year of the pandemic navigating ever-changing mandates and managing unhappy and even abusive customers while trying to keep themselves and their families healthy. Most bar and restaurant workers had to wait until late March to be prioritized for their first round of COVID-19 vaccinations, watching with growing frustration as officials gradually removed pandemic-era safety mitigations and increased indoor dining capacities. Now they can book booster appointments online through the city’s digital portal.

Who has the best bagels in Chicago?

The Tribune’s Nick Kindelsperger recently embarked on a quest to determine the best bagel in Chicago and, after visiting 30 local shops and bakeries, reports his findings. “The majority of bagels in Chicago are soft, fluffy and bland,” he writes. “A huge segment of the population must prefer them this way, or why would they be so popular?” He did find several notable exceptions and waxes poetic about them at length, though his choices may offend bagel partisans. But isn’t it nice that Chicagoans, after much East Coast mocking, now have enough quality bagels that they can fight over which is best?

Meet Saucy Porka in St. Louis

Saucy Porka is about to expand to St. Louis, Post-Dispatch food critic Ian Froeb reports in a tweet. The Asian-Puerto Rican fusion restaurant, which already has locations in South Loop and Hyde Park, has acquired a local partner, St. Louis businessman Phil Le, who’s involved with the So Hospitality Group, a local restaurant company primarily known for the Drunken Fish sushi bar, a four-location minichain. It’s unclear when the St. Louis Saucy Porka is scheduled to open.

Bar Goa has a new featured menu item: comedy

Bar Goa, the River North cocktail bar inspired by the southwest Indian coast, is now in the comedy business, featuring comedians from clubs like Zanies and the Laugh Factory. The next scheduled comedy night is Wednesday, November 24, headlined by standup Erica Nicole Clark (aka the daughter of Mr. T) and featuring Tyler Fowler, Vik Pandya, and Hari Rao. The doors open at 10 p.m. and the show starts at 10:30. Reserve a spot on Tock; the $40-per-person deposit can be applied to food and drink.

Potash Brothers grocery founder dies

Melvin Potash, one of the three brothers who founded the Potash Brothers grocery mini-chain in 1950, died on November 1 at the age of 92, the Sun-Times reports. Potash, who grew up on the South Side and lived in Lincolnwood as an adult, continued working at the Potash Brothers location at 1525 N. Clark Street until 2017, stocking the shelves, chatting with regular customers, and taking special requests.

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