Chicago’s 13 Most Anticipated Fall Restaurant Openings

Museum dining, an Italian steakhouse and snazzy Tex-Mex
August 18, 2017
by Matt Kirouac

Crudite platters, shellfish platters and more dazzling contemporary American fare are on the way from Somerset

Even if we could predict the future, we don’t need a crystal ball to tell us that fall is going to be a great season for new restaurants in Chicago. Between a new museum restaurant from one of Chicago’s most respected chefs to a hip New York City export on Fulton Market, here’s what’s getting us excited for the months to come.

Boka Restaurant Group joins forces with an LA-based hotel chain for what’s sure to be a hit. Set for the Gold Coast’s soon-to-open Viceroy Hotel, Somerset will showcase contemporary, seasonal American cuisine by chef Lee Wolen. The decor is inspired by American country clubs, with a sprawling outdoor patio affording prime views of the bustling neighborhood. A poolside restaurant, Devereaux, will also feature food from Wolen.
1112 N. State St.

Regards to Edith/Prairie School
Early fall 
Easily the West Loop's most anticipated opening is the duo going into the former Smack Shack space in the Google building. Courtesy of Heisler Hospitality, Regards to Edith is a globally inspired restaurant helmed by award-winning chef Jared Wentworth. It draws inspiration from Chicago’s street foods popularized along Maxwell Street, including pork chop sandwiches, flaming halloumi cheese and matzo ball soup with truffle oil and foie gras schmaltz. Prairie School, named for the Midwestern architecture style made famous by Frank Lloyd Wright, is a cocktail bar partnership with Jim Meehan of New York City’s PDT. 
326 N. Morgan St. 

Fulton Market's getting a boozy export out of New York this season; photo courtesy of Blind Barber

Blind Barber
 Early fall 
Part hip barbershop, part restaurant and part speakeasy, New York City’s famed Blind Barber is en route to Fulton Market. By day, it’s a slick space to get a trim and a snack. By night, it becomes an alluring bar with potent cocktails and dinner plates. Chicagoans can expect a food menu of contemporary grilled cheese sandwiches, plus dips, snacks and unique tacos. Cocktails will skew both seasonal and classic.
948 W. Fulton Market

Lobo Rey
Early fall
A Zagat 30 Under 30 alum and fourth finalist on Top Chef Mexico, Daniel Espinoza has quite the pedigree, and he's bringing it to the South Loop early fall with Lobo Rey. Offering a modern approach to Mexican cuisine, Espinoza seeks to bridge the geographic gap between Mexico and the Midwest, using influences and ingredients from the ladder to inform the menu, which includes offbeat delicacies like scallop and pig ear tacos served on freshly made tortillas prepared with a 30-year old tortilla press handed down from Espinoza's mom. The chef's wife, Jhonana Ruiz, serves as pastry chef, baking up fresh breads and churros daily. 
1307 S. Wabash Ave. 

Early fall
The hitmakers behind Black Bull and Celeste have set their sights on West Town for what looks to be a boozy, fun addition. The space is massive, and while not much is currently known about the food, drinkers will be in good hands with Liz Pearce as beverage director. She currently oversees cocktails at The Drifter, and has been promoted to beverage director for the whole restaurant/bar group. 
1604 W. Chicago Ave.

One of Chicago's most acclaimed chefs is partnering with one of the city's great institutions. Come fall, food and art lovers alike will get to experience a new restaurant from Lula Cafe's Jason Hammel at the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is undergoing a $16 million renovation. The restaurant will serve seasonally focused lunch, brunch and dinner, and also include a coffee counter. Considering Hammel's track record as a farm-to-table pioneer, this bodes well. 
205 E. Pearson St.

The views from Gibsons Italia are sure to impress; photo courtesy of Gibsons Italia

Gibsons Italia
Formerly known as Coletta, the hotly anticipated Italian-inspired venture from Gibsons Restaurant Group has shifted gears following the departure of its namesake chef John Coletta. Instead, the group promoted chef Jose Sosa to run the kitchen, which is still bound to be one of the biggest debuts of the year. It's also literally big, spreading over three floors and featuring a retractable roof. Diners can expect ample steaks, chops and classic cocktails, along with Italian-influenced pastas and seafood. 
233 N. Canal St.

Pacific Standard Time
Pacific Standard Time is the first venture for Underscore Hospitality, a collaboration between chefs Erling Wu-Bower, Cosmo Goss and Joshua Tilden, all vets of One Off Hospitality, which is working with the trio on the River North newcomer. Set in the former Tavernita space, the sprawling setup is anchored by two handmade wood-fired ovens, which fuel a California-inspired menu of hearth cooking. Expect lighter dishes like whole-roasted fish, vegetables and flatbreads. 
151 W. Erie St.

Maillard Tavern
ETA: Mid-fall
The team behind Piccolo Sogno, one of the city’s beloved Italian restaurants, is going all-American for its next venture. Dubbed Maillard Tavern, and located across the street from Piccolo Sogno, the burger-centric eatery marks new territory for chef Tony Priolo and beverage director/partner Ciro Longobardo. Unabashedly indulgent, the menu will include items like burgers cooked in duck fat, soft serve ice cream, donut sticks, craft beer and cocktails. 
494 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Stephen Gillanders goes out on his own with S.K.Y. in Pilsen; photo by Anjali Pinto

When Stephen Gillanders originally moved to Chicago a few years ago, it was intended to be for a temporary chef-in-residence stint at Intro. Things changed when the chef and his wife became infatuated with Chicago, and he stayed on as Intro’s first executive chef. After racking up accolades at that ever-evolving Lincoln Park restaurant, he’s off on his own to open S.K.Y. in Pilsen. The international menu will feature everything from foie gras bibimbap to banana budino. It’s on track for a fall debut.
1239 W. 18th St.

ETA: October 
The city's biggest restaurant group is taking over the Embeya space for what is sure to be one of the year's hottest openings. Bellemore is Boka Restaurant Group’s dive into New American cuisine with chef Jimmy Papadopoulos of Bohemian House. Chicagoans hungrily clamoring for news on the chef’s next move should be pleased with this development.
564 W. Randolph St.

ETA: Late fall
Mark Steuer taps into his roots for the unique Funkenhausen. Opening in West Town, the restaurant is billed as a German-inspired beer hall and restaurant, an ode to the chef’s German father, with touches of Southern cuisine, a nod to Steuer’s previous restaurant, Carriage House. Together, the two cuisines make for comforting, hearty fare like pretzels with beer cheese and white barbecue sauce, Riesling-poached escargots and smoked beef rib roast. 
1709 W. Chicago Ave. 

Mark Steuer pays homage to his family roots with German-inspired Funkenhausen; photo by Richard Shilkus

Lonesome Rose
ETA: Late fall
The latest from Land & Sea Dept., a group that helped bring Logan Square’s bar scene into the national spotlight with Longman & Eagle, Parson’s Chicken & Fish and Lost Lake, is a Southwestern-inspired entry taking shape in the former Ronnie’s space. Lonesome Rose borrows inspiration from Northern Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. for a distinct brand of Tex-Mex, both in food and cocktails. The latter is the handiwork of barman Paul McGee. While most details are still unknown, the bar and restaurant will take up two floors and include a small rooftop deck. ​
2101 N. California Ave.  

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