2014 Chicago Restaurant Preview

By Sarah Freeman  |  January 5, 2014

Are you ready for 2014? We hope you didn't leave your appetite in 2013, because the new year is packed with big-name restaurant openings. From Boka Group's two new spots to Mercadito's pair of new concepts, early predictions are already pointing to a delicious year. This might be the year of the second location: XOCO is expanding to Wicker Park while Yusho eyes Hyde Park. Or 2014 might be known as the year of the power hotel: Nobu and Soho House are opening locations in the West Loop - with restaurants, of course. It's out with the old and in with the new for the eateries in our 2014 restaurant preview.

  • Promontory

    The team from Longman & Eagle venture south with another nose-to-tail restaurant in Hyde Park. Promontory, named after Promontory Point, is a joint music venue and hearth-driven restaurant with food by chef Jared Wentworth. The team is currently in the process of renovating the historic Piccadilly Theater (1443 E. Hyde Park Blvd.), which was built in 1963 and once housed a 3,000-seat cinema.

  • Tony Mantuano

    The yet-to-be-named restaurant in the former Fulton’s on the River space (315 N. LaSalle Blvd.) will take the form of a casual, social dining hall. It will serve rustic American fare along the lines of whole-roasted chicken, whole-roasted fish and large cuts of beef. The restaurant will also feature craft beer, classic cocktails and wine in the scenic space that overlooks the Chicago River. The restaurant is inspired by Mantuano’s recent travels to London, where the chef dined at Roast, a British restaurant that sources ingredients from Borough Market.

  • Tippling Hall

    The new cocktail lounge from the Tippling Brothers and Mercadito Hospitality will offer a mix of comfort food with a focus on late-night dining and drinks from the duo known for their on-tap cocktails at Tavernita. In addition to the new late-night concept (646 N. Franklin St.), The group will also welcome Mercadito Counter (738 N. Clark St.). The fast-casual Mexican deli will offer staples from Mercadito like tacos and quesadillas as well as a few American street-food-inspired dishes like the Mole-Q hot dog.

  • Kinmont

    Giving rough fish - or fish that are less utilized than run-of-the-mill salmon/tuna/trout - a chance is a sustainable seafood restaurant from the guys behind Nellcôte and Old Town Social. The restaurant takes over the former Zealous space in River North (419 W. Superior St.) with copper details and a stunning skylight. Around the same time, Element Collective will open Leghorn (959 N. Western Ave.). Plans for the “socially conscious” chicken shack were announced in 2012; delays in finding the perfect hipster-friendly location postponed the opening until 2014.

  • Moody Tongue

    We’ve missed Goose Island brewer-owner Jared Rouben's signature brewing style since he left the Clybourn brewpub a year ago. His culinary background seamlessly translated into the world of beer; he crafted beers using farmer's market ingredients and made collaboration beers with local chefs. Truly special brews like a bourbon-barrel-aged chocolate barleywine with Rick Bayless and a funky sour ale made with truffles. His new brewery, Moody Tongue, will open soon in Pilsen (2136 S. Peoria St.), and he will use seasonal ingredients such as cherries, rhubarb, peas, teas and espresso with methods like infusing, baking, dehydrating and macerating.

  • Momotaro

    The latest concept from BOKA Restaurant Group is a big one. The bi-level Japanese restaurant will feature a lounge, 30-ft. bar, izakaya, robata grill and dining room on the first floor in addition to a private dining room as well as the Boka offices on the second floor. BOKA Group has one more trick up its sleeve for 2014: a "meat-centric" restaurant in conjunction with the team from The Bristol. The location is still to be determined, but the food will be steakhouse fare interpreted by chef Chris Pandel.

  • Mindy Segal

    Cookies, breads and pastries - oh, my! James Beard award-winning Outstanding Pastry Chef Mindy Segal is opening a very sweet treat for the Logan Square neighborhood. The focal point of her new bakery will be a daily bread program, with cookies and traditional bakery fare coming in a close second. The 6,000-sq.-ft. facility (2367 N. Milwaukee Ave.) was inspired by Segal’s honeymoon in Paris, where she traveled from bakery to bakery sampling traditional French desserts.

  • Credit: Michael Bulbenko

    Hot Hotels

    Chef Nobu Matsuhisa brings his hotel and restaurant hybrid to the West Loop with the opening of Chicago’s very own Nobu (846-854 W. Randolph St). The restaurant that began in New York and quickly expanded around the world with the help of partner Robert De Niro is known for its finessed Japanese cuisine.

    Soho House (113-125 N. Green St.) lands in Chicago with a 40-room boutique hotel complete with a rooftop pool and a glass-enclosed lounge. In true Soho form, the hotel will feature a selection of fine-dining options – three, to be exact, including a pizzeria, burger shop and chicken concept.

  • Double Down

    Popular Lakeview grilled cheese emporium Cheesie’s will open its third location in Wicker Park (1365 N. Milwaukee Ave.) with an attached whiskey bar.

    Opening on the heels of Matthias Merges’ A10, the team will open another outpost of Yusho in Hyde Park (1301 E. 53rd St.).

    Rick Bayless will bring tortas and drinking chocolate to Wicker Park when he opens the second location of XOCO (1471 N. Milwaukee Ave.).

    Fish 'n' chips along with oyster po’ boys have a new home at the second location Big & Littles opening in Lakeview (1034 W. Belmont Ave.).

  • Facelifts

    Japanese cuisine institution Japonais closed after 10 years to reopen with the help of a very famous chef: Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto takes on the River North restaurant as his first project in Chicago, Japonais by Morimoto.

    After four years, the Hearty Boys - Steve McDonagh and Dan Smith - closed their Lakeview restaurant to reopen with a new concept and partner: chef Gale Gand. Hearty will reopen as Spritz Burger. The concept channels old-school nostalgia with a vintage soda counter, grass-fed burgers and desserts by the acclaimed pastry chef.