13 Most Anticipated Chicago Restaurants of 2017

By Matt Kirouac  |  January 3, 2017
Credit: Kuma's Corner

We can’t predict the future, but we don’t need a crystal ball to tell us that 2017 will be a great year for new restaurants in Chicago. Between a modern Japanese launch, a gourmet bowling complex and a long-awaited Vietnamese entry in Pilsen, here’s what’s in store for the year to come. 

Milwaukee SafeHouse, courtesy of Marcus Hotels & Resorts

ETA: January
Milwaukee’s famous spy-themed bar is expanding for the first time, and they’re looking at a January debut at the AC Hotel in River North. The elusive SafeHouse promises a mix of elements from the 50-year-old original — including a password to enter — with contemporary touches by design firm The Gettys Group. Expect an interactive experience that even entails custom agent names for guests and “missions” that need completing. It all sets the framework for a fun, offbeat atmosphere in which to enjoy food and drink like fried cheese curds, burgers and house cocktails. 
60 E. Ohio St.

ETA: Early 2017
One of the most unique eateries on the way is HaiSous from the dynamic couple Thai and Danielle Dang. Chicagoans fell in love with them when they opened the now-shuttered Embeya, but HaiSous represents an exciting opportunity for the duo to get closer to their roots and passions. Opening in Pilsen, it will showcase authentic Vietnamese dishes and preparations rarely seen in Chicago, such as open-flame clay pot grilling. While Thai helms the kitchen, Danielle oversees the comprehensive drink side of the menu, and took on design duty through her firm Den of Lions.
1800 S. Carpenter St.

Courtesy of HaiSous

Like Minds Brewpub
ETA: Early 2017
Justin Aprahamian and John Lavelle are making their way down from Milwaukee to open a West Side brewery and restaurant. The former is a James Beard Award–winning chef for his restaurant Sanford, and he's rolling out dishes including a lobster roll with cucumber kimchi, lamb mole tacos and other beer-friendly items. Brews will lean toward the experimental, with options such as seasonal sours made with quince and rhubarb, cucumber kolsch and barrel-aged black tea beer.
1800 W. Walnut St.

ETA: Early 2017
Iliana Regan is one of the best chefs in Chicago. Just book a table at her tasting-menu restaurant Elizabeth for proof. So naturally, her next endeavor ranks high in anticipation. It’s billed as a Japanese restaurant and pub inspired by Midwestern bounty (Regan is known for foraging her own ingredients). Expect seasonally rotating dishes like fall squash with dashi; leaf broccoli with oyster garum; and shiitake and cabbage “gyoza” with black sauce.
4229 N. Lincoln Ave. 

Punch Bowl Social/Kuma's Corner
ETA: Spring
The biggest new addition to the rapidly developing Fulton Market area this coming year is the Chicago outpost of Punch Bowl Social, the hip Denver-based bowling alley and gaming complex equally renowned for its food, which just got a huge upgrade with the appointment of chef Hugh Acheson to develop its menus. The venue anchors a huge new multi-story development on Fulton, joined in the same building by a branch of popular burger joint Kuma’s Corner, which should open ahead of Punch Bowl Social.
832 W. Fulton Market

Courtesy of Lula Cafe

Mi Tocaya Antojeria
ETA: Early spring 
After dazzling guests with her take on Mexican cuisine at Cantina 1910, Diana Davila (pictured below) is embarking on her own with Mi Tocaya Antojeria in Logan Square. Translated as “my namesake” in Spanish, the restaurant is a love letter to the chef’s heritage, and her version of home cooking for the masses. She’ll focus on less familiar regional specialties presented as antojos, or small plates. For drinks, she’s planning a house margarita on tap, paloma slushies and Mexican and local beers. 
2800 W. Logan Blvd.

ETA: Late spring
A bit of classic Hollywood glamour is heading to the West Loop this year, courtesy of BLVD. Drawing inspiration from the restaurants and lounges along Sunset Boulevard in the 1950s, the restaurant harkens to the Golden Age with art deco design elements and an air of luxury. The food will be contemporary American, with an emphasis on shareable plates, and guests can also expect a stylish juxtaposition between old and new through the music and decor. 
817 W. Lake St.

One of LA's hottest sushi spots is en route to Chicago, with an outpost taking shape in River North. If it's anything like its predecessor, it's safe to expect pristine sushi and steaks in a sexy atmosphere. The cocktails and general bar scene should be smoking hot too.  
344 N. State St. 

Courtesy of Katana Los Angeles

Jason Hammel project at the Museum of Contemporary Art
: June
One of Chicago's most revered chefs is partnering with one of the city's most revered institutions, and come summer, food and art lovers alike will get to experience a new restaurant from Lula Cafe's Jason Hammel (pictured above) at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum will be undergoing a $16 million renovation this year, part of which includes an opening from Hammel. While details are still sparse, the restaurant will serve lunch, brunch and dinner, and also include a casual take-out counter. Considering Hammel's track record as a pioneering chef in Chicago's farm-to-table evolution, this bodes very well indeed. 
220 E. Chicago Ave. 

BOKA project in the Viceroy
ETA: Late summer 
After juggernaut openings like Duck Duck Goat and GT Prime last year, Boka Restaurant Group is keeping up the momentum for 2017. Coming up: The group’s first Gold Coast restaurant for the upcoming Viceroy Hotel. Though further info is still under wraps, be ready for a big hit. 
1112 N. State St.  

Golden Teardrops
Anything Land and Sea Dept. does is worth watching, especially considering its penchant for unique, crowd-pleasing food and drink at sister spots like Parson’s Chicken & Fish, Game Room and Lost Lake. Taking shape in Logan Square’s defunct Ronny’s space, Golden Teardrops will be a bi-level bar with a roof deck. 
2103 N. California Ave. 

Courtesy of Andrea Bauer

Sleeping Village
The folks behind The Whistler, one of Chicago’s groundbreaking cocktail bars, are branching out to Avondale for their new venture. Not much is known at this time, aside from the fact that bartender Eric Henry is on board, but this is a promising arrival on the mixology front for the Northwest Side. 
3734 W. Belmont Ave.

Jolly Pumpkin Brewery
ETA: Early summer
One of Michigan’s most famous breweries, Jolly Pumpkin, has set its sights on Hyde Park for expansion into Chicago. This’ll mark the brand’s first Illinois outpost (and first outside of Michigan) with a 5,800-sq.-ft. pub-inspired restaurant and taproom. Along with its Oro de Calabaza golden ale on tap, the bar's delivering more beer, ciders, wines, cocktails and a TBD food menu. 
1504 E. Harper Ct.