What were the top restaurant newcomers of 2016?
Penny Pollack, Chicago magazine: The Barn. Let me count the ways: The entrance to this former stable is in the alley—because that's where it really is. There is not a single TV screen in the joint. I loved the liver and onions.
Elizabeth Atkinson, Time Out Chicago: Moody Tongue Brewery, Smyth and The Loyalist, Bad Hunter, Cafe Marie-Jeanne, The Budlong.
Chris LaMorte, UrbanDaddy: First, I'd like to say 2016 offered the most frenetic pace of new, high-profile openings I've witnessed in the past 10 years. While I'm going to bashfully admit I didn't get to all of the newbies, I went to enough that it made me think that we're really are in the midst of a great age of dining. But I feel a shakeout will be coming in 2017. Service has not been able to keep pace with culinary ambition, prices are becoming somewhat comical, and I'm not sure how many restaurants we can sustain in the long-term.
That said: top on my list: Roister, Giant, Lena Brava/Cruz Blanca, and while Monteverde opened toward the end of 2015, I'll add it to the list since I didn't get to until this year! They seem to be firing on all cylinders.
Michael Gebert, Fooditor: Oriole and Smyth & The Loyalist at the high end, Giant in the middle, Snaggletooth for breakfast and Hanbun out in the burbs somewhere.
Lisa Shames, CS: Oriole, El Che Bar, Monteverde, Smyth, Roister, Giant, Bad Hunter, Animale, Lena Brava, GT Prime ... Can I keep going?
Michael Nagrant, RedEye: Snaggletooth, Naoki, Kimski, Imperial Lamian, Duck Duck Goat, Leña Brava, Honey’s, Giant, GT Prime, Entente.
Anthony Todd, Chicagoist: My biggest newcomers of the year included the awesome sushi at Naoki, the beautifully small steaks at GT Prime and the totally predictable perfection of Giant.
Chandra Ram, Plate: Oriole, Smyth & The Loyalist, Giant, Duck Duck Goat, El Che Bar, Monteverde—Chicago kind of killed it this year with great restaurants opening.
Matt Kirouac, Zagat: Giant, Oriole, El Che Bar.
Morgan Olsen, RedEye: If I had to narrow it down to just three, they’d be Naoki Sushi, Roister, and Honey’s.