clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Most Anticipated Chicago New Restaurants, Spring 2016

It's shaping up to be a buzzworthy season

Oriole
Oriole
Barry Brecheisen/UrbanDaddy

Pour a drink and pat yourself on the back because we've almost made it through another Chicago winter. With only warmer days ahead, it's time to start looking at the next wave of restaurant openings. Some of the city's biggest chefs€”Grant Achatz, Stephanie Izard, Rick Baylessare almost ready to unveil their latest projects so mark your calendars because you won't want to snooze on these hotspots.

Arbella

Address: 112 W. Grand Ave.
Projected Opening: May
Peruvian hotspot Tanta is expanding its horizons with a cocktail lounge in River North. The new spot€”located just a few doors down from the restaurant€”will feature fare from around the world. The 70-seat space promises to be "very cozy" while the drink menu will include "new-age progressive cocktails" spanning the globe. No word yet on the food but expect mostly small plates to complement the beverage program.

Photo courtesy of Arbella

[Photo courtesy of Arbella]

El Che Bar

Address: 845 W. Washington Blvd.
Projected opening: March
John Manion's Argentinean restaurant is almost ready to set the West Loop ablaze. The focal point of the space is a 10-foot hearth that will cook a variety of grilled seafood, roasted meats and smoked vegetables. The beverage program €”promises to deliver equally "ballsy" flavors ranging from smoke and leather to acid.

[Photo: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/elchebarchicago/">Facebook</a>]

[Photo: Facebook]

Cruz Blanca

Address: 900 W. Randolph St.
Projected opening: Spring
The Restaurant Row boom shows no sign of letting up as Rick Bayless is set to open a brewpub this spring. The Most Interesting Man in the World previewed his first beer line last year at Xoco, but the actual brewery will feature a 10-barrel brewing system and growler program complemented by a small, yet exciting menu that might focus on wood-fired bites.

[Photo: Ashok Selvam]

[Photo: Ashok Selvam]

Dixie

Address: 1952 N. Damen Ave.
Projected opening: May/June
Pitmaster and Lillie's Q owner Charlie McKenna is finally putting the former Takashi space to good use with the opening of Dixie. The cozy, two-story building on Damen Avenue has sat unoccupied since the end of 2014 but will now house a southern-focused restaurant that looks to challenge diners' perception of southern cooking. McKenna envisions small plates featuring fresh vegetables, seafood and rice, and he also plans on opening a companion cocktail bar€”called 1952½centered on bourbon.

[Photo: Barry Brecheisen]

[Photo: Barry Brecheisen]

Duck Duck Goat

Address: 857 W. Fulton St.
Projected opening: March
There's little Stephanie Izard can't do, so for her third restaurant she's trying her hand at Chinese. To prepare, Izard has spent time overseas doing research and honing her skills. Expect hand-pulled noodles, dumplings and more along with a takeout window offering Taiwanese-inspired street food like seasoned fried chicken bites. If the social media posts and pop-up dinners are any indication, she's about to deliver another hit.

[Photo: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/duckduckgoat/">Facebook</a>]

[Photo: Facebook]

Giant

Address: 3209 W. Armitage Ave.
Projected opening: May
After spending two years away from the kitchen, Jason Vincent is making his return with a new spot in Logan Square. The former Nightwood chef is ironically going with a small space that will seat around 40 guests plus a small backyard patio. The menu is still under wraps but "delicious food" and "seasonable" dishes are safe bets as well as an "in-depth pasta program," according to the Tribune.

[Photo: Galdones Photography]

[Photo: Galdones Photography]

Kitsune

Address: 4229 N. Lincoln Ave.
Projected opening: Spring
Hot off opening a bakery and café, Iliana Regan (Elizabeth, Bunny) is planning a homestyle Japanese spot for her next project. Work is underway on remodeling the former Big Cheese space and the restaurant will eventually offer a selection of Japanese snacks, ramen, a washoku family-style menu and Regan's sweets.

[Photo: Timothy Hiatt]

[Photo: Timothy Hiatt]

The Ladies Room

Address: 2957 W. Diversey Ave.
Projected opening: Spring
The Fat Rice team is turning its small waiting area space into a cocktail lounge. The 500-square-foot room will have 20 seats for guests to enjoy Abe Conlon's concoctions. He'll be creating a variety of locally-sourced, in-house bitters as well as making his own version of malört. Furthermore, the restaurant is also adding a daytime bakery that will offer "grab and go" items like the popular Portuguese egg tarts.

[Photo: Marc Much]

[Photo: Marc Much]

LondonHouse

Address: 85 E. Wacker Dr.
Projected opening: Spring
Chicago's rooftop scene is about to get a huge new addition when LondonHouse opens. The downtown hotel overlooking the Chicago River is slated to include an exclusive cupola for private dinners and receptions on the 23rd floor, as well as two separate bars featuring "re-imagined American fare." With three levels of entertainment and warmer days ahead, it should be a hotspot once spring arrives.

[Photo: <a href="http://londonhousechicago.com/eat-and-drink/">LondonHouse</a>]

[Photo: LondonHouse]

Oriole

Address: 661 W. Walnut St.
Projected opening: March 10
The follow-up to Michelin-starred Senza by Noah and Cara Sandoval is almost here. It'll be an intimate affair as the restaurant only seats 28 guests and the cuisine looks to be seafood-dominant, with Genie Kwon handling desserts. The tasting menu will be priced at $175 per person along with optional pairings available for $75, or $125 for "select wines."

[Photo: <a href="http://www.urbandaddy.com/chi/food/37197/Oriole_Hiding_in_Plain_Sight_Wine_Caviar_and_So_Many_Desserts_Chicago_CHI_Restaurant">Barry Brecheisen</a>]

[Photo: Barry Brecheisen]

Paulie Gee's

Address: 2451 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Projected opening: Late spring
Acclaimed Brooklyn pizzeria Paulie Gee's is headed to Logan Square. But fear not Chicagoans, these aren't New York-style pies that will make you question your allegiance. Instead, they're wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas featuring local spins, such as the "Thrilla in Manila," a Filipino-inspired creation with longaniza sausage, tomato chutney and an egg on top. The restaurant will also offer a number of vegan options using ingredients like vegan meatballs and jackfruit.

[Photo: Google Streetview]

[Photo: Google Streetview]

Il Porcellino

Address: 59 W. Hubbard St.
Projected opening: March
Lettuce Entertain You is transforming the late Paris Club Bistro & Bar into a casual Italian eatery. Former Elizabeth and Intro vet Aaron Martinez will be the chef de cuisine and focus on putting out vegetable antipasti, housemade pastas and a variety of focaccia pizzas. The drinks program also aims to be top notch as acclaimed Los Angeles bartender Julian Cox is moving to town to be beverage director.

[Photo courtesy of Lettuce Entertain You]

[Photo courtesy of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises]

Roister

Address: 951 W. Fulton Market
Projected opening: Spring
More details have been revealed as we inch closer to the opening of Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas' latest venture. Unlike their previous fine dining spots, Roister will be a more relaxed experience with Andrew Brochu cooking "rustic but refined" cuisine. The space will have communal seating, an open kitchen and both a la carte and tasting menus. Hiring is already underway so look for it before the end of spring.

[Photo: Ashok Selvam]

[Photo: Ashok Selvam]

Smyth & The Loyalist

Address: 177 N. Ada St.
Projected opening: May
This two-story establishment from former alums of Charlie Trotter's and Alinea is an ambitious concept that hopes to attract a wide range of guests. John and Karen Urie Shields will turn the second floor into Smyth, an atypical fine-dining experience with tasting menus that utilize ingredients from a local farm. Downstairs, The Loyalist will be a louder, more casual lounge that mixes classic cocktails and is better suited for any occasion.

[Photo: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/smythchicago">Facebook</a>]

[Photo: Facebook]

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Chicago newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world