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Caffè Umbria Pours In River North; Gigi's Cupcakes Arrives in Wilmette; More

Empirical Brewery finally opens its taproom, Smokey Hollow spruces up the dance floor in River North, Salata raises the bar in Schaumburg and Mortar and Pestle in Lakeview.

Empirical Brewery Taproom
Empirical Brewery Taproom
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

RIVER NORTH— Caffè Umbria, a new urban-style European coffeehouse is serving coffee and espresso. Caffè Baci and La Fournette Bakery & Cafè will provide the baked goods. The chain was founded in 2002, and has spots in Seattle and Portland, Ore. Status: Certified open, 346 N. Clark St.

WILMETTE— The area's first Gigi's Cupcakes is open in the suburbs. Gigi Butler founded the chain in 2008 in Nashville. They offer more than 300 cupcakes, including the Gigi's swirl. Status: Certified open, 3217 Lake Ave., Wilmette in the Westlake Plaza.

Gigi's Cupcakes chicago

[Photo: Facebook]

SCHAUMBURG— Schaumburg has a new salad concept. Salata is a Houston-based chain that opened in Wheeling last year. Customers can create salads or wraps with a hot of homemade dressings. It's gluten-free friendly and they've got soup. Status: Certified open, 140 E. Golf Road, Schaumburg at the Copley Center.


[Photo: Facebook]

LINCOLN PARK— Green Bean Restaurant is open, offering healthy fast food and coffee, right near DePaul University. Status: Certified open, 734 W. Fullerton Pkwy.

Greenbean chicago

[Photo: Facebook]

RAVENSWOOD— Empirical Brewery opened a taproom so drinkers can gather at communal tables and throw down a few cold ones. Customers can order food delivery or bring their own food. Status: Certified open, 1801 W. Foster Ave. [DNAinfo]

RIVER NORTH— The former Board Room has a new tenant. Smokey Hollow has a dance floor and a DJ booth so folks can get funky. They call it "nightlife theater." Status: Certified open, 343 W. Erie St. [UrbanDaddy]

LAKEVIEW— Mortar and Pestlethe project from two Table 52 vets, is serving lunch and brunch on Broadway in the former Bombay Bliss space. They plan on eventually adding dinner service. Status: Certified open, 3108 N. Broadway St.