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These Chicago Restaurants Have Gone Pokémon Crazy

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jul 14, 2016 3:12PM

Screenshot from Pokémon GO: Get Up and Go!

In case you're one of the three people in America who aren't playing Pokémon GO, much of the game has to do with running around the city and finding pokémon, items and "gyms" (places to train your little monsters). Now some Chicago restaurants are cashing in on the pokémon craze by facilitating meetups and using virtual tools to attract pokémon.

Wednesday night at Yusho in Logan Square, there was a Pokemon Go meetup, hosted by the restaurant. They offered inexpensive specials (including "Command Power Punch") and showed classic episodes of the TV series. From the discussion wall, it looks like plenty of people showed up, and they didn't take it too seriously.

Is this a PokéMon Y/N #pokemongo #crabs #ramen

A photo posted by Molly (@sullyeats) on

The Tribune reports that Eli's Cheesecake is offering people free desserts if they have lunch while playing at the bakery, and Graziano's in Niles gave a discount to pokémon players. Restaurants can spend a little extra to buy a "lure" which brings pokémon (and the customers who chase them) to their tables. This trend is spreading throughout the country, with restaurants seeing big crowds and sales increases if they participate. If you're more in the mood for the big chains, Applebee's and Olive Garden are also interacting with people catching pokémon in their restaurants and occasionally offering specials.

Plenty of restaurants were already chosen as pokéstops without spending a dime. According to this fan-made map, places like Cafe Orchid in Roscoe Village and Crosby's Kitchen in Lakeview are already in the game (whether they know it or not).

Restaurants and bars: If you haven't downloaded the game to find out whether you're featured, best to do so now. This craze is only going to get bigger, and you might as well cash in.