With summer's official start mere days away, cravings shift toward seasonal sensations — refreshing popsicles, juicy burgers and hot chicken sandwiches. So, of course, new dishes and drinks abound all over town. Here’s what you need to be eating and sipping this summer in Chicago.
Neverland Triangle at Sable Kitchen & Bar
A pioneer of the craft cocktail movement in Chicago, Sable Kitchen & Bar just christened an all-new cocktail and food menu. Our favorite addition? Gourmet “Jell-O” shots. Dubbed the Neverland Triangle, Sable is serving a trio of gelatin cups flavored with different cocktails. There’s a mojito, an aviation and a strawberry pisco sour.
505 N. State St.; 312-755-9704
Strawberry popsicle at TWO
Just in time for the summer heat, TWO has added a lustrous popsicle to its dessert menu. True to form for the seasonally inspired West Town restaurant, it’s made entirely with locally sourced ingredients. For the month of June, the pop is flavored with fresh and dried strawberries, basil powder and cardamom-pickled rhubarb. The popsicle is served with sweetened powder and meant to be eaten Fun Dip-style.
1132 W. Grand Ave.; 312-624-8363
Drinky McDrinkerson at The Sixth
One of the most exciting cocktail bars in recent memory, The Sixth just rolled out a slew of new drinks. Of the newcomers, which include a boozy French toast milkshake and a strawberry-splashed vodka cocktail with watermelon salt, one standout is the Drinky McDrinkerson. It’s as fun to drink as it is to say, made with tequila, ginger, lime and habanero snow. The spiced shaved ice adds a cool sno cone-like quality to the drink, perfect for summer sipping.
2200 W. Lawrence Ave.; 773-433-5959
Burger at The Eastman Egg Company
You love the egg sandwiches, but there’s more to love at The Eastman Egg Company: a brand-new burger. The timing couldn’t be better, considering the all-American burger is perfectly synonymous with summertime comforts. Using beef sourced from Slagel Family Farm, the restaurant stacks two beef patties with American cheese, romaine, house pickles and Eastman sauce (toasted chili mayo) on a doughy potato roll. Naturally, the option to add a fried egg is on the table.
500 W. Madison St.; 312-281-6782
23 N. Upper Wacker Dr.; 312-384-1011
Citrus shio chicken at Furious Spoon
Piping hot bowls of ramen are typically more prominent in the winter months, when the weather is so frigid you consider dunking your head in broth. However, ramen mainstay Furious Spoon is full of culinary tricks that keep the cravings coming year round. New to the menu for the season is the citrus chicken shio ramen, a riff that adds a refreshingly acidic aspect prime for summer slurping. The classic shio-based ramen bowl contains tender morsels of chicken along with fresh orange and lemon.
1571 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-687-8445
Grilled asparagus at The Bedford
With so much produce in abundance during the summer months, it's the best time of year to liven up your dining routine with dishes like this one. New to the menu at The Bedford, grilled asparagus is served with polenta, a poached egg and ramp hot sauce. At once vegetal, hearty and rich, this is what summer dining is all about.
1612 W. Division St.; 773-235-8800
Lemonade at Roti Modern Mediterranean
Thanks to a certain trend-setting pop star, lemonade is poised to be the beverage of the summer. More so than usual. How fitting then that Roti Modern Mediterranean would just so happen to introduce a couple new lemonades for the season. Along with some other new housemade juices and teas, Roti’s new drink options include a blueberry basil lemonade and a version infused with pomegranate tea.
Hot chicken at The Budlong
The hottest (in more ways than one) new trend in chicken in Chicago is Nashville hot. The fiery fried chicken has been popping up on menus all over the city, but no place has tackled the form head-on quite like freshly opened The Budlong. The Southern-inspired eatery has been drawing lines in Lakeview, where chicken plates are available in a variety of spice levels ranking from classic to “X-Hot.” They’re served with two sides, like elotes and black-eyed peas, and white bread with housemade pickles.
Key lime pie milkshake at M Burger
Summer is milkshake season, and one of the best spots to satisfy the urge is M Burger. Along with classic menu regulars like chocolate and strawberry, the quick service restaurant always has something new to try each month. For June, that means Key lime pie milkshakes. Made with vanilla ice cream, fresh Key limes and a graham cracker crumb topping, it’s a pie and milkshake rolled into one.