Chicago's 10 Biggest Restaurant Openings of 2013

By Sarah Freeman  |  December 16, 2013
Credit: Nick Murway

Does your dining routine taste a little bland? Well, that's on you. This year has been packed with blockbuster restaurant openings, from Matthias Merges' foray into Hyde Park to Paul Kahan's tribute to Italy. Add this year's 10 hottest openings to your dining repertoire, and you'll never have a boring meal out again.

  • A10

    The first in a series of pioneers that are making their way down to Hyde Park, on a pilgrimage to bring great cuisine to the neglected southern tip of Chicago, has arrived. Matthias Merges' Hyde Park restaurant is warm and inviting, with exposed-brick walls, rich tapestries and mosaic flooring. The menu is divided into small and large plates with sections for pizzas, pastas and sweets.

    1462 E. 53rd St.; 773-288-1010

  • Brindille

    Naha’s “refined Parisian” little sister is not letting fine dining go down without a fight. Leather chairs, gray tablecloths and nature-inspired art set the tone for a special-occasion dinner of elegant entrees, absinthe-driven cocktails and French wines. A meal averaging about $45 per person (without drinks) is not a bargain, but it is cheaper than a ticket to Paris.

    534 N. Clark St.; 312-595-1616

  • The Dawson

    When Billy Lawless (The Gage, Henri) and Branko Palikuca (Topaz, Amber) took over the two-story restaurant space on the intersection of Milwaukee, Halsted and Grand, they had their hands full. Full of 200 seats, two bars, a 150-seat patio and a menu of updated American classics ready to take the culinary world by storm.

    730 W. Grand Ave.; 312-243-8955

  • Dusek’s

    There's a renaissance happening in Pilsen right now, and it centers around the historic Thalia Hall. Leave it to the team behind Longman & Eagle to reinvigorate this 18th Street landmark with a multitiered restaurant/cocktail bar/public hall concept, anchored by Punch House and Dusek's Board and Beer.

    1227 W. 18th St.; 312-526-3851

  • Honey Butter Fried Chicken

    After more than two years of anticipation, the team from Sunday Dinner Club has opened its temple of fried chicken. The Avondale restaurant serves the signature bird on a platter with corn bread and honey butter or in a sandwich with crunchy slaw and pickles. Don't skimp on the market-driven sides such as heirloom tomato salad with roasted sweet corn or pimiento mac 'n' cheese.

    3361 N. Elston Ave.; 773-478-4000

  • Parson’s Chicken & Fish

    The second highly anticipated project from the team behind Longman & Eagle is an outdoor mecca for fried chicken and fish as well as a dangerously refreshing Negroni slushy. Inside, a design-forward space features booths and a full bar perfect for beer cocktails and salt cod fritters.

    2952 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-384-3333

  • Nico Osteria

    Nico is One Off Hospitality's (Donnie Madia, Paul Kahan, Terry Alexander and Kimberly Galban) tribute to Italy that focuses on the coastal regions with a menu rich with rustic dishes like housemade pastas and more delicate offerings such as grilled swordfish. Helping Kahan transport the simple flavors into a refined space is the culinary team of chef de cuisine Erling Wu-Bower and pastry chef Amanda Rockman.

    1015 N. Rush St.; 312-994-7100

  • Siena Tavern

    Dining in River North presents a sea of options - almost too many, between steakhouses, sports bars and ethnic restaurants. How can one choose? You don't need to at this eatery, where you can tailor the dining experience to your needs - from a more intimate meal in the wine room to bites at the bar or lounging with a cocktail. Chef Fabio Viviani and Chicago-based hospitality company DineAmic Group (Bull & Bear, Public House) have joined forces to create an all-encompassing Italian eatery.

    51 W. Kinzie St.; 312-595-1322

  • Sumi Robata Bar

    Chef Gene Kato, most known for his riverside restaurant Japonais, is behind this more-refined River North restaurant. The space is built with an attention to detail, from the type of charcoal used in the grills to carefully carved ice in cocktails. It's an elegant endeavor, from the food to the service, that brings a new level of class to the neighborhood.

    702 N. Wells St.; 312-988-7864

  • Tanta

    Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio brings his creative cuisine to River North in a sleek modern restaurant infused with Latin flavor via vibrant murals. The menu is equally as vibrant, with ceviche shots and chicharrón sliders, along with pisco sours and other craft cocktails from the marble-topped bar.

    118 W. Grand Ave.; 312-222-9700