25 New Restaurants to Try Around ChicagoBy Zagat Staff | May 1, 2015 By Zagat Staff | May 1, 2015
We’re constantly seeking out the new and notable in Chicago’s dining scene, and there's always a healthy collection of fresh concepts to try. Bookmark this page to see the latest openings around town.
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C.C. Ferns Coffee (pictured)
Brendan Sodikoff continues his plan to turn Humboldt Park into a culinary destination with this coffee shop adjacent to California Clipper. Distressed-wood walls and retro furniture covered in mismatched pillows give the space a '70s-style basement vibe. The shop serves La Colombe coffee and donuts from Doughnut Vault.
Two former Hot Doug’s line cooks are hoping to keep the spirit of the encased-meat emporium alive with a new gourmet hot dog spot. The menu mirrors its predecessor, with options including Santa Fe chicken sausage and a smoked Thuringer as well as duck-fat fries on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Although it missed its Columbus Day opening day, the new fast-casual Indian restaurant is now open in Wicker Park. The menu features an approachable assortment of classic dishes, from chicken tikka masala to chana masala. Meals include a choice of three or four protein and vegetarian entrees with basmati or brown rice.
The newest location of Goddess & the Grocer ditches the shelves of preserved and packaged goods for a larger selection of sandwiches, salads, flatbreads and gelato. In addition to specialty coffee drinks, such as Goodie’s Gringo Horchata (cold brew, cinnamon, rice milk and lime shaken over ice), the restaurant also serves beer and wine by the glass.
All hail the neighborhood tavern, making a comeback in Humboldt Park thanks to Rodney Staton and Jason Balutan. Here, a concise menu of gourmet bar snacks and heartier entrees is paired with an extensive menu of draft, bottled and canned beer. The cozy space features a vintage metal tile ceiling, dark-wood booths and an L-shaped wood bar.
2759 W. Augusta Blvd.; 773-661-1084
A bit of Bourbon Street makes its way to Edgewater via this Cajun and Creole spot by the owner of Toon's Bar & Grill. Louisiana Jambalaya, blacked catfish, boudin balls and hurricane cocktails are among the more traditional offerings served in the rustic 80-seat space. It also boasts a rooftop patio with additional seating for 30.
5352 N. Broadway St. 773-555-1212
David Flom and Matt Moore (Chicago Cut) venture into the realm of seafood, which is delivered daily to this 8,000-sq.ft. River North spot (complete with fish tanks). Chef Bill Montagne, who honed his skills at New York’s Le Bernardin, offers elegant dishes such as scallop carpaccio and sea urchin pasta as well as a show-stopping turbot baked in salt-herb dough.
20 W. Kinzie St.; 312-280-8882
Competitive eating champions Pat Bertoletti and Tim Brown tapped their love of gluttonous foods for this over-the-top restaurant specializing in, as the name suggest, various flavors of bagged tacos. Fill up with cheeseburger-, pizza- or BBQ-inspired tacos, as well as bags of donut holes drenched with toppings like Nutella.
4604 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-250-2437
Since 1988, pitmaster John Stage has been slow-smoking meats for his now nationally acclaimed Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. What started as a single smokehouse in Syracuse, NY, has since expanded to several East Coast locations and this new Chicago outpost. The two-story restaurant and music venue serves a plethora of smoky delights, including signature items like BBQ wings and several dishes unique to this location — think pork three ways.
923 W. Weed St.; 312-462-1053
Chef Roland Liccioni (Les Nomades) explores the playful side of French cuisine with this bakery, brasserie and bar serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dine on croque madame egg rolls, “French’d Fried” chicken wings and six different variations on the French Dip sandwich in an ornately tilled dining room with a marble bar and black metal accents.
100 W. Monroe St.; 312-236-1234
Former Fish Bar executive chef Brian Ahern is behind this upscale meat-centric brasserie with German influences — think dry-aged steaks and raw seafood platters — housed in a slightly ominous black building on Western. It offers an elegant addition to the up-and-coming culinary destination, with cozy tables along an exposed brick wall and a long bar that leads to the open kitchen. Expect a deli counter serving made-to-order sandwiches to open soon.
1012 N. Western Ave. 773-661-2116
The nationally recognized gelato chain opened its first storefront in Chicago in the Gold Coast. Founded by childhood friends Cristiano Sereni and Paolo Benassi, it's known for all-natural gelato that's served in the shape of a flower — signature flavors include bourbon-vanilla, Ecuadorian chocolate and Speculoos, and there's a rotating flavor of the month (currently blueberry cheesecake). The charming space is reminiscent of an old Italian cafe with stone walls and wood accents, and also serves Lavazza coffee drinks, gourmet chocolates and waffles.
This Wrigleyville offshoot of Pearl Tavern specializes in pizzas with creative ingredients and rock-music names. Canned beers and cocktails star at the bar, and the expansive, bi-level pub setting has TVs, reclaimed-wood walls, high-top tables and a live-music stage.
3530 N. Clark St.; 773-789-8864
The Scofflaw crew turns their attention to seafood at this Logan Square hang turning out a thoroughly modern menu including oysters, creative shared plates and a handful of fish-free entrees. Whitewashed brick, wood shingles, rope and model ships lend a decidedly nautical vibe to the space, while blue banquettes and barstools lend a pop of color.
3213 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-486-7465
Ramen bowls, small plates and cocktails can be found at this hip West Loop Japanese. Inside you'll find bar seating, bare wood tables, low lighting and Asian signage.
819 W. Fulton Market; 312-498-1416
A changing selection of creative scones both sweet and savory (and a few gluten-free) are the draw at this Wicker Park hangout that also pours Halfwit Coffee brews. The hip space resembles a bar with its funky pendant lighting, exposed-brick walls, marble counter and arty lounge area.
1632 W. Division St.; 773-904-8722
The latest restaurant to make the move to brick-and-mortar is La Adelita Truck, with its Mexican street food-inspired Jarabe. The 20-seat restaurant offers an expanded menu of tacos — ranging from carne asada to chicken tinga — as well as burritos, tortas and specials such as chilaquiles rojos with roasted goat. The restaurant is now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner in Little Italy as well as delivery via GrubHub.
2255 W. Taylor St.; 312-725-0507
The second location of the Chinatown ramen hot spot offers a more central home for its housemade noodles. The intimate shop features wood walls, floors and tables are contrasted with paper lanterns and hanging plants. Guests will find the four signature bowls in additions to a few notable new items including shio ramen topped with ostrich.
As its name suggests, meatballs are the thing at this hip Wicker Park hangout where you'll find them in a variety of styles (sub, sliders, salad) topped by globally influenced sauces. A back bar also pours beer, wine and a handful of signature cocktails, and the funky space gets a boost from industrial elements and window seats.
1467 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-278-5959
Pi Gallery Bar
Bacon-bourbon cocktails meets Neapolitan-style pizza at this arithmetic-themed bar. The second-story bar features an eclectic mix of local art as well as a one-of-a-kind “indoor patio,” where guest can dine on one of the six house “pi” paired with beer or booze.
738 N. Clark St., second floor
The Wicker Park storefront offers Jeni's 15 signature flavors, such as Brambleberry Crisp, as well as seasonal and limited-edition flavors, including Bangkok Peanut. The shop also serves frozen yogurts, sorbet, ice cream sandwiches and French-press Intelligentsia Coffee.
After a three-month renovation, Atwood has reopened with a sleek new look. The redone dining room features neutral tones that put the focus on the 18-ft.-tall windows and soaring ceiling. An equally modernized menu offers seasonal American cuisine accented with playful touches.
1 W. Washington St.; 312-368-1900
This American in the Loop's Virgin Hotel turns out spiffed-up versions of comfort-food classics accompanied by cocktails and craft beer. The bright, modern space has an upscale diner vibe and serves from early morning till late.
203 N. Wabash Ave.; 312-940-4777
The third incarnation of Dion Antic’s storied, late-night club sets up shop in Lincoln Square's longtime Webster's Wine Bar space, where revelers can snack on light fare like oysters and charcuterie while sipping bubbly and craft cocktails. A gilded tin ceiling and ornate wall treatments with nightlife murals, vintage advertising and framed artwork decorate the candlelit boho-chic space, and the second floor houses a cozy fireplace-enhanced seating area.
Sibling to a DC spot of the same name, Jose Garces’ upscale Argentinean steakhouse sits in Streeterville's Loews Chicago Hotel. Wood-grilled fare, housemade sausages and pizzas are among the menu highlights, and the setting includes an open kitchen, rustic-chic dining areas and a front bar with draped booths and medieval light fixtures.
455 N. Park Dr.; 312-840-6605