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Industry Experts Name the Top Newcomers of 2015

As 2015 fades into 2016, Eater surveyed a group of critics, writers, and all around experts for their take on the past year. We asked them eight questions: from Top Standbys to Top Newcomers, from Best Meals to Restaurants Broken Up With. All answers will be revealed—cut, pasted, unedited and unadulterated—by the time we pop the cork on 2016.

Intro was one of the new spots that made a big impression in 2015
Intro was one of the new spots that made a big impression in 2015
Marc Much

What were the top restaurant newcomers of 2015?

Chandra Ram, Plate: I think Intro is nothing short of an incubator for greatness; we're going to see some big stars and really great food come out of that place. On a smaller note, I loved Bom Bolla (RIP) — it was a killer Saturday afternoon day-drinking/snacking spot, and I hope it comes back somehow.

Michael Nagrant, RedEye: GreenRiver, De Quay, Boeufhaus, Formento's, Sink|Swim, Izakaya Mita, Furious Spoon, Monteverde, Bar Marta.

Peter Frost, Crain's: Cochon Volant: All-day French brasserie in the Loop? Yes please. Latinicity: Finally, something interesting in Block 37. Boeufhaus: Another steakhouse? It's much more than that. Pizza Barra: Sure it's marooned in Oak Brook, but Rich Labriola's new pizza place is a winner. Swift & Sons: Early reviews are mixed, but this place has staying power. It's gonna be a monster in years ahead. Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken: Welcome to Chicago, delicious chicken.

Jeff Ruby, Chicago Magazine: Momotaro was pretty stunning. I think we just take the Boka guys for granted—of course it's going to be good. But what they did there had the potential to fail spectacularly. Instead, it opened better than anything they've done before.

Sarah Freeman, Zagat: The Blanchard, Intro, GreenRiver.

Anthony Todd, Chicagoist: My two favorite new eating spots in the city were The Blanchard and Boeufhaus. Both had relatively understated openings, didn't include a major celebrity and don't have dining rooms that seat 300, which makes them restaurants that bucked the trend in 2015. Neither are particularly innovative, but both do exactly what they set out to do and do it very, very well.

Phil Vettel, Chicago TribuneAmpersand, The Blanchard, Boeufhaus, Duck Inn, Formento's, GreenRiver, Maple & Ash, Momotaro, Taus Authentic.

Sean Cooley, Thrillist: You could select seafood pairings at random at Angry Crab and not be disappointed; picking out your beer to bring in might be the only tough decision. Also a fan of Boeufhaus, The Blanchard and Small Cheval.

Michael Gebert, Fooditor: The Blanchard—classic, classy French. Monteverde might be the best Italian restaurant in Chicago, or if it isn't now, it will be in six months. Cantina 1910— we got a lot of new Mexican but her flavors really popped, really bummed about how that broke up so early. Arbor, the hidden secret inside that big building on Diversey, is like the restaurant Matt Damon would open on Mars, growing everything and keeping its building's crew alive.

Chris LaMorte, UrbanDaddy: The Blanchard. Intro.

Amy Cavanaugh, Time Out Chicago: Intro, for giving us a new take on fine dining; the Blanchard for proving that French food still matters; GreenRiver for some of the city's best cocktails and great food; and Band of Bohemia—I'm so excited to see where they take it their first year.

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken

847 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 733-1971

Izakaya Mita

1960 North Damen Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 799-8677 Visit Website


925 West Randolph Street, , IL 60607 (312) 690-7295 Visit Website


259 E Erie St Fl 18, Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 337-0101

Furious Spoon

1571 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 687-8445


384 Hayes Street, , CA 94102 (415) 626-1211 Visit Website

The Blanchard

1935 North Lincoln Park West, , IL 60614 (872) 829-3971 Visit Website

Cochon Volant

100 W Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603 (312) 754-6560 Visit Website

Taus Authentic

1846 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622 (312) 561-4500

Intro Chicago

2300 N. Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 868-0002


108 North State Street, , IL 60602 (312) 795-4444 Visit Website

Maple & Ash

8 West Maple Street, , IL 60610 (312) 944-8888 Visit Website


1020 West Madison Street, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 888-3041

Bom Bolla

1501 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 698-6601 Visit Website

Bar Marta

2700 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622


3213 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (773) 486-7465

De Quay

, Chicago, IL (872) 206-8820


1012 North Western Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 661-2116 Visit Website

Small Cheval

1732 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL (312) 929-4580

Ampersand Wine Bar

4845 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (773) 728-0031

Band of Bohemia

4710 North Ravenswood Avenue, , IL 60640 (773) 271-4710 Visit Website


820 West Lake Street, , IL 60607 (312) 733-4818 Visit Website