You can’t stay on top of the Chicago dining scene without knowing what’s new — which is why we offer this indispensable list of the most notable restaurant openings around town. We’ll update the guide every week, keeping the latest openings at the top of the page.
NewNew AmericanWest Loop
The menu at this hip West Loop outpost emphasizes vegetarian and vegan dishes (with some meat proteins in evidence) and preps including wood-grilling, house-smoking and fermentation plus desserts from the house pastry chef and a bar program featuring low-alcohol cocktails and earth-conscious wines in a chic setting of wood, stone, brick and leather.
Lincoln Square’s meaty, farm-to-table offshoot of Fork is an upscale modern take on the classic steakhouse with house dry-aged beef joined on the menu by the likes of lobster tails, Parker House rolls, foie gras terrine, shrimp de Jonghe and a tableside Caesar, all paired with ‘craft and obscure cocktails’ in a low-lit setting of wood and red leather with a granite bar and abstract art.
A pedigreed chef team is cooking up New American creations with global references at this relaxed Lakeview fine-dining option with à la carte service and a reservations-only chef’s tasting menu from the folks behind Arami and SmallBar. With a full bar extending to signature cocktails and sake, the rustic-industrial space is highlighted by craftsman accents and natural elements including greenery and abstract wood installations.
Craft cocktails using local spirits star at the third-floor bar of the Two Brothers Craftsman concept in Naperville (joining the Modern Tavern and Market Cafe), where beer, wine and New American small plates round out the offerings in an intimate, low-lit lounge setting that’s open late on weekends.
NewCoffee ShopUnited Center
Coffee culture is brewing at this funky West Loop home of proprietary house beans from a vintage German roaster offered over the counter in hot and cold brews (plus retail) in an industrial-chic space with limited seating, tastings and cuppings.
“Contemporary” Thai cooking showcases a “cornucopia of flavors” that “you didn’t know existed” at these “affordable" BYOBs, where the “innovative” offerings “go way beyond pad Thai”; the cash-only Lakeview original is "shoebox"-sized, while its Edgewater sequel is roomier and accepts credit cards.
This Uptown Japanese lunch and dinner spot specializing in ramen, katsu, teriyakis and other classics also serves some Thai fare holdovers from the site’s former tenant in a laid-back setting with BYOB policy.
Behind a classic corner tavern exterior in Lincoln Park, this stylish New American eatery puts out updates on traditional appetizers and entrees in a rustic-industrial dining room with art-lined brick walls, plush tufted banquettes and a cozy basement lounge with a wine cellar.
While not an official offshoot of its deli meats namesake, this relaxed Loop hangout offers their ingredients in a variety of hot and cold sandwiches with build-your-own and grab-and-go options – plus salads, soups and baked goods – served over the counter beginning with morning coffee and breakfast fare.
Master Sommelier Alpana Singh (The Boarding House, Seven Lions) is the force behind this stylish Evanston Italian-Mediterranean kitchen focusing on wood-fired proteins, housemade pastas and pizzettes backed by an Italian-leaning wine list. Signature cocktails, craft beer and elevated snacks issue from the bar in the swanky, spacious environs with an open kitchen and a patio.
This late-night Loop haunt offers bourbon-centric cocktails, a deep beer list and house-aged whiskey alongside pub snacks. The rustic-chic space features banquettes and reclaimed wood, plus shuffleboard, flat-screens and frequent live music to keep things interesting.
Of the Naperville beer brewery’s three distinct destinations, this first-floor coffee shop and deli pours proprietary roasts, juices and smoothies to pair with breakfast bowls and pastries, hot and cold sandwiches, salads and charcuterie from the on-site aging room. House beers and tap wines are also offered in the sleek space with full front windows and a light garden with frosted windows along one side.
Of the Naperville beer brewery’s three distinct destinations, this second-floor eatery offers a rotating seasonal menu of farm-to-table American fare with house beers, wines on tap and full bar for dinner and weekend brunch. The sleek, wood-clad modern space with open kitchen has full front windows and a light garden with frosted windows along one side.
Upscale American comfort food (including brunch every day) pairs with with signature cocktails and rotating microbrews at these comfortable cafes with rustic-chic decor. The River North location is brunch and happy hour–only, while the Lakeview original also does steaks, seafood and other hearty plates for dinner.
The first Chicago outpost of a New York chain, this funky Lakeview hangout specializes in build-your-own burgers made with a variety of organic proteins, plus milkshakes, beer and wine, offered up in funky digs with a bar, colorful chairs and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Named for characters in ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’, this vibrant Lakeview cantina offers a full menu of tacos, nachos, fajitas and other Mexican classics, topped off with fried ice cream. The colorful space includes eclectic murals and a spacious patio ideal for sipping frozen margaritas in warmer weather.
Wrigleyville’s counter-service French cafe offers classic plates (including some restricted-diet options) and baked goods for breakfast through early evening, with sit-down weekend brunch service and artisanal coffee and tea in a simple storefront setting with subway tiles and a chalkboard menu.
Japanese, Korean and Thai barbecue with grill-your-own options and a variety of sauces is offered in a sleek, stylish Logan Square storefront with rustic and industrial elements and seating at booths, banquettes or the full bar with more than a dozen draft beer taps.
NewNew AmericanGold Coast
Small and large plates of vegetable-centric, gluten-free cooking and a few protein dishes are served at this modern Gold Coast health food cafe, a New York import also offering cocktails, wine, desserts and weekend brunch in an airy, industrial space with a small bar.
The Cajun seafood boil-in-a-bag trend gets an Asian twist at these casual spots featuring sauce options such as curry and Thai chile, plus appetizers, noodle dishes and po’ boys, all served in a funky setting with BYOB.