πŸ“ Happy Monday! It's National Bucket List Day. We can cross "write newsletter" off our list!

Today's newsletter is 902 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Deep-six the QR code menus

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

As other remnants of the pandemic fade away, lots of Chicagoans want QR code menus to disappear, too.

What's happening: We asked readers what they think about the trend, and we received an overwhelming response of hatred for it.

  • "Not only do I despise them, I actively avoid restaurants that employ them," reader Dean R. told us.

Why it matters: Lots of restaurants are retaining the practice for reasons ranging from curtailing printing fees to menu flexibility.

What they're saying: "QR codes allow restaurants one way to more efficiently service customers," Sam Toia, CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association, tells Axios.

  • "They provide the industry with a vehicle to better adjust to changes in availability and supply, while they also highlight specials."

Yes, but: Restaurateurs like Boka Restaurant Group's Kevin Boehm says his places, which include Boka, Girl & the Goat, and Momotaro, have happily ditched QR codes.

  • "I don't think they're hospitable," he tells Axios. "They're difficult to navigate sometimes, and people like holding something in their hands."

Between the lines: Though most readers were vehemently against them, some were on the fence or even pro-QR.

  • "Thumbs up for QR menus," wrote Paula M. "They are environmentally friendly, germ-free and allow more flexibility for chefs/restaurants to creatively change their menus if desired."

What we're watching: Toia at the IRA doesn't see the pandemic practice going away soon.

  • "Most restaurants will continue to offer a traditional menu, but QR codes as an option are here to stay."

2. Tournament: Chicago's best park

The Crown Fountain video sculpture in Millennium Park. Photo: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Each month, we bring you a no-holds-barred tournament to celebrate all things Chicago.

State of play: Last month, it was Chicago's best sports team, and before that downtown's best building.

  • This month's is a doozy: Chicago's best park.

Zoom out: Our "city in a garden" boasts parks known around the world for their exquisite design, prodigious green space and breathtaking views.

Context: Given that there are over 600 city parks, it was hard to narrow the tournament list to a top 16. But we did our best to compile an eclectic array of favorites (Lincoln and Grant Parks) and underdogs (Winnemac, Ping Tom) and, of course, Monica's secret love (Olive Park).

Bracket: Axios Visuals

Of note: We did not (for the most part) feature the lakefront nor trails like The 606.

Yesterday we asked you for your recommendations, which included:

  • Michael C.: "River Park runs from Lawrence to Bryn Mawr, and it is one of Chicago's hidden gems.Β It has the Chicago River running through it and a wonderful nature path that you can run on, bike and walk your dog."
  • Diane D.: "Ping Tom Park in Chinatown is just magical! Like a secret garden in the middle of Chicago. And little Cottontail Park at 15th and Dearborn is a well utilized gem that many people have no idea is there."
  • Gene T.: "The jewel of Chicago: Lincoln Park."

Voting for the first round is open till 4pm. Vote!

3. Tips and hot links

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

πŸ’‰An Illinois judge has ruled that the city must reinstate workers fired over COVID-19 vaccine requirements. (Block Club)

πŸͺ§ Marijuana dispensary workers are on strike in Niles and Joliet over alleged unfair work practices. (Sun-Times)

πŸ₯ The Northwestern women's lacrosse team won the Big Ten conference for only the second time in school history. (Big Ten)

4. "Sweetwater" tells a great Chicago story

Photo courtesy of Briarcliff Entertainment

A new film about one of the NBA's first Black players, Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton, is playing in selected theaters in the U.S.

Why it matters here: "Sweetwater" tells an important, but often overlooked, story about how one Chicagoan played a pivotal role in changing basketball forever.

Details: The movie stars Richard Dreyfuss, Kevin Pollak, Jeremy Piven and Everett Osborne, who plays the title role.

What they're saying: "Sweetwater was the key to the innovative game we love today," Osborne tells Axios.

  • "It's miraculous to see how one man's journey to challenge limitations and break through personal barriers has become an immortal triumph for a universal sport like the game of basketball."

The backstory: Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Clifton played high school basketball at Chicago's DuSable High School in the 1940s.

  • He went on to become a star with the famed Harlem Globetrotters. But they weren't in the NBA, which at the time didn't allow Black players.
  • In 1950, the New York Knickerbockers brought Clifton in to change that.

Context: Clifton was technically the second Black player to play in the league, after Earl Lloyd (played by former Bulls player Bobby Portis). Lloyd started four days before him.

  • Clifton played eight seasons in the NBA with the Knicks and the Pistons.
  • After his NBA career, he came back to Chicago to drive a taxi. He died in 1990.

How to watch: The film is being screened tonight in Oak Park and tomorrow in Highland Park. Each showing will be followed by a Q&A with Osborne.

New jobs to check out

πŸ’Ό See who's hiring around the city.

  1. Product Owner - Coupa Risk Assess at Northern Trust.
  2. Chief Marketing Officer, Education at The Renaissance Network.
  3. VP, Finance at Onco360 Oncology Pharmacy.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a Job.

5. Bite Club: Vietnamese meatball brunch

Xiu mai skillet at Danang Kitchen features egg, Vietnamese sausage and pork meatballs filled with quail eggs. Also pictured: a side order of bone marrow and fusion mini cakes. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Chicago overflows with tempting brunch options, but the Vietnamese midday treats we saw on Instagram from Uptown's Danang Kitchen reeled us in right away.

The bites: It was hard to choose between the xoi man sticky rice ($15) or the bone marrow skillet ($27), so we zeroed in on the xiu mai meatball skillet ($14) instead.

The verdict: These fatty pork meatballs simmered in tomato sauce delighted us with a surprise hard-cooked quail egg inside.

  • Gilding the lily are slices of pork loaf, a fried egg and hot French bread to sop it all up.
  • Wash it all down with Danang's rich custard iced coffee ($8).

Keep reading

Edited by Alexa Mencia and copy edited by Rob Reinalda and Keely Bastow.

Our picks:

🎨 Monica is excited about the upcoming APIDA Arts Festival featuring Asian American performers over four days, starting May 5 at the Cultural Center. Events are free but require registration.

  • Monica will moderate a panel on "art as a unifier." Fun!

🩳 Justin was just hit with the overwhelmingly positive sensation that Chicago summer is almost here. Also, he bought new shorts.

Want free Axios swag? Refer your friends to Axios Chicago and get cool merch like stickers, totes, hats, T-shirts and more!