Julia Thiel
Julia Thiel

Julia Thiel

I've worked at the Reader since 2007 and have been a staff writer since 2010. I write Key Ingredient, a chef-to-chef recipe challenge that won a James Beard award in 2011, and Cocktail Challenge (a similar ingredient challenge for bartenders). In addition to reviewing restaurants and bars, I write about local beer, spirits, and cocktails. Most of my articles focus on booze or food, from Illinois's first farm distillery to why Chicago's food truck scene is stalled. I also like to document my personal failures, like getting lost on a bike ride to the Indiana Dunes or making mozzarella that could double as a SuperBall. Semicolons are my favorite punctuation mark.

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An endangered piece of history beneath Lake Michigan's surface An endangered piece of history beneath Lake Michigan's surface The shipwreck of the Silver Spray has rested a stone's throw from the Hyde Park shoreline for nearly 100 years—but it may not be around for much longer. February 27, 2013
Catching a buzz without the booze at Chicago’s first kava bar Catching a buzz without the booze at Chicago’s first kava bar Wicker Park’s Tropikava Kafe serves up an alcohol alternative that promises relaxing, even euphoric effects. May 25, 2016

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