clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

These Chicago Restaurants and Bars Will Remain Open During the Polar Vortex

New, 1 comment

The cold didn’t bother them anyway

Polar Vortex Brings Extreme Cold Temperatures To Chicago
The city that works keeps on chugging along through the polar vortex.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Chicagoans who don’t want to cook still have food options despite the more than 200 restaurants closed on Wednesday because of sub-zero temperatures. For example, hotel restaurants, like Nico Osteria inside the Thompson Hotel in Gold Coast, stay open to serve travelers. But while industry workers rejoiced that they could stay home and avoid the cold, some restaurant owners want to give customers the option to leave home and enjoy a meal if the winter doldrums get too much.

Carson’s the Place for Ribs has been open for 42 years. Last year, Dean Carson and family left River North to move to a new flagship in Streeterville. After a staff vote, Carson’s is open on Wednesday, and ownership is touting that as a sign of Chicago toughness.

“We may be serving almost no one,” Carson wrote. “If that turns out to be the case, my staff will enjoy a meal and a drink together and laugh about how crazy we all are.”

All Alinea Group restaurants are open, according to co-founder Nick Kokonas, although Alinea in Lincoln Park has seen some cancellations because of air travel affected by the weather. Alinea is powered by Tock, where diners prepay for their meals. Given the historic circumstances, Kokonas said they’ve refunded reservations to diners with flight cancellations.

Over in Logan Square, Eater Chicago 2017 chef of the year Diana Dávila is keeping Mi Tocaya Antojeria open for the day. She doesn’t want to leave those who made reservations out in the cold. While larger restaurant groups have the resources to absorb losses, independent restaurants don’t.

“I want to make money,” Davila texted. “I haven’t read any of the weather news because I’m from the moon and I don’t think it will be that cold where people don’t want to come to eat some delicious Mexican food and drink some agave. That always heats you up.”

Chicago isn’t quite as cold as the moon, as temperatures there can dip to minus 280 degrees after sunset. But elsewhere in the neighborhood, Hopewell Brewing Co. is closed today after initially planning to stay open. A brewery spokesperson blamed transportation issues: Ownership worried about the taproom manager needing to find a ride. They closed rather than forcing that employee into a risky situation. Experts say it can take minutes exposed outdoors to these temperatures to develop frostbite.

Posh cocktail lounge the Aviary is offering a free hot toddy. Roister is offering a free appetizer, and Next Restaurant has 15 percent off wine pairings purchased on the website. If Alinea Group is offering discounts, it’s a cold day in Chicago.

In the West Loop, chef/owner John Manion has closed La Sirena Clandestina, but he’s keeping his other restaurant, the recently rechristened El Che Steakhouse & Bar, open. And it’s not because the bar has a flamethrower to battle the cold: Manion occasionally uses the flamethrower to ignite his kitchen’s grill. El Che does have a huge fireplace, and Manion feels that will make the restaurant welcoming tonight: “I can’t think of a room I’d rather be in than El Che during an epic cold snap,” he emailed.

Manion is an industry veteran and feels a responsibility to serve friends and family on the coldest night in years: “That is part of our mission,” he wrote.

Much of El Che’s staff relies on ride-shares, taxis, or CTA. The management pledged to reimburse workers for those transportation options to ensure a safe commute. The restaurant also has a lot of reservations for Wednesday night, and staff has fielded calls from customers wondering if they’re going to be open.

“I know this polar vortex is going to potentially break records,” Manion wrote. “I’ve lived through enough winters to remember how bad it can get. One of the things I’ve always loved about Chicago is how tough its inhabitants are and how unaffected they pretend to be about the cold.”

Dealing with the cold is a sensitive situation. For example, an Eater tipster claimed a longtime Chicago restaurant chain was threatening to fire workers if they didn’t show up to work on Wednesday. The chain denied the accusation. If the policy were in place, it was only at specific locations. Workers at other locations said their managers made no such threat.

Check out the following list of Chicago restaurants and bars that will be open. Some may have reduced hours, so check ahead before visiting. To add any restaurants or share any negative workplace experiences stemming from the weather, email chicago@eater.com. The list will be updated throughout the day.

  1. Carson’s the Place for Ribs
  2. Exchequer
  3. Murphy’s Bleachers
  4. The Smoke Daddy Wicker Park
  5. John’s Place (For lunch only)
  6. Gman Tavern
  7. Cheesie’s Wicker Park
  8. Second Story
  9. Corcoran’s Grill & Pub
  10. Vaughan’s Pub (both locations)
  11. Bar Pastoral/Pastoral (starting at 3 p.m., Chicago Restaurant Week menu starting at 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.)
  12. WhirlyBall (Bucktown, Lombard, Vernon Hills)
  13. Delilah’s
  14. Cafe Mustache
  15. Cole’s
  16. Lockdown
  17. Bellemore
  18. 312 Chicago
  19. Prime & Provision (dinner only)
  20. L&L Tavern
  21. Dark Matter Coffee (all locations)
  22. Sheffield’s
  23. Tricycle
  24. Kincade’s
  25. Kelsey’s
  26. Rex Tavern
  27. Blind Robin
  28. Donovan’s
  29. Wolcott Tap
  30. Lincoln Station
  31. Will’s Northwoods Inn
  32. Rossi’s
  33. A.J. Hudson’s
  34. Reed’s Local
  35. B’el Bar + Kitchen
  36. Elephant & Castle (all three locations)
  37. Pasta Bowl/The Other Side Bar
  38. Wingstop (various locations)
  39. Chicago Chop House
  40. Leona’s (all locations)
  41. Edge of Sweetness
  42. Cozy Corner (Logan Square and Norwood Park)
  43. Prairie Moon
  44. Medici
  45. Heritage Restaurant and Caviar Bar
  46. Matilda
  47. Avondale Tap
  48. Grill Stop
  49. Breakfast House
  50. Avondale Coffee Club
  51. Half Sour
  52. Smack Dab
  53. Red Lion Lincoln Square
  54. Beacon Tavern (dinner)
  55. Sapori Napoletani (free cappuccino, coffee, hot tea and hot chocolate)
  56. Louie’s Boston Fish Market
  57. Giordano’s (Downtown/Central Loop, Gold Coast/Magnificent Mile and Prudential Plaza/Millennium Park until 9 p.m.)
  58. Club Lago
  59. Rosebud on Rush (dinner)
  60. All Gibsons Group restaurants (Hugo’s Frog Bar, Gibsons, Lux Bar, Quartinno)
  61. Barney Callaghan’s
  62. Mango Pickle
  63. Lou Malnati’s (all location until 8 p.m.)
  64. Blackbird
  65. Dove’s Luncheonette
  66. Nico Osteria
  67. BOKA
  68. Girl & the Goat
  69. Arbella
  70. Pelago
  71. BLVD
  72. Graystone Tavern
  73. RPM Italian
  74. RPM Steak
  75. Smith & Wollensky/Wollensky Grill
  76. Uptown Lounge
  77. The Whistler
  78. Eataly (Caffè Lavazza will open 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; La Pizza & La Pasta from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Ravioli&Co from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
  79. The Loyalist/Smyth
  80. Z Bar
  81. Urbanbelly
  82. Miss Ricky’s/Commons Club inside the Virgin Hotels Chicago
  83. Upstairs at the Gwen
  84. NoMI at Park Hyatt Chicago
  85. Local Option
  86. Formento’s/Nonna’s
  87. Bristol
  88. Neon WIlderness
  89. Maple & Ash
  90. Etta
  91. Miller’s Pub
  92. Aba
  93. Antico Posto
  94. Bar Ramone
  95. Beatix (all locations)
  96. Big Bowl (all locations)
  97. Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!
  98. Crab Cellar/Oyster Bah/Seaside’s
  99. Do-Rite Donuts
  100. Ema
  101. Foodlife & Foodease
  102. Il Porcellino
  103. Joe’s Seafood
  104. L Woods
  105. Mity Nice
  106. Mon Ami Gabi (both locations)
  107. Nacional 27/Tallboy Tacos
  108. Ramen-San (all locations)
  109. RJ Grunts
  110. Shaw’s main dining rom
  111. Stella Barra
  112. Summer House Santa Monica
  113. Sushi-San
  114. Wildfire (all locations)
  115. Avli Taverna
  116. Bistronomic
  117. Aurelio’s Wrigleyville
  118. North Pond
  119. Le Sud
  120. Timothy O’Toole’s Pub
  121. Il Forks
  122. Cantina Laredo
  123. Michael Jordan’s Steak House
  124. Bar on Buena
  125. The Allis
  126. Begyle Brewing
  127. Joy District
  128. Twin Anchors
  129. Twisted Spoke
  130. Three Dots and a Dash
  131. Bub City (Chicago and Rosemont locations)
  132. Band of Bohemia
  133. Hopleaf
  134. Fisk and Co.
  135. Centennial Crafted Beer + Eatery
  136. Tai’s Till 4
  137. Hidden Shamrock
  138. Rogers Park Social
  139. Waterhouse Tavern and Grill
  140. Third Coast Cafe
  141. The Kerryman
  142. Burton Place
  143. Andy’s Jazz Club
  144. City Winery
  145. AceBounce
  146. Flight Club
  147. InnerTown Pub
  148. Club Lucky
  149. Pat’s Pizza (Lincoln Park)
  150. Scofflaw
  151. Burrito House (Elston/Kimball)
  152. Clark Street Ale House
  153. Cafe Spiaggia

Next Restaurant

953 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 312 226 0858 Visit Website

Bar Pastoral

2947 N Broadway, , IL 60657 (773) 472-4781 Visit Website

Smoke Daddy

1804 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 772-6656 Visit Website

Ramen-san

219 North Green Street, , IL 60607 (773) 645-0085 Visit Website

Chicago Chop House

60 West Ontario Street, , IL 60654 (312) 552-7729 Visit Website

312 Chicago

136 N. La Salle Street, Chicago, IL 60602 (312) 696-2420 Visit Website

Cantina Laredo

508 North State Street, , IL 60654 (312) 955-0014 Visit Website

Oyster Bah

1962 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 (773) 248-3000 Visit Website

Duck Duck Goat

857 West Fulton Market, , IL 60607 (312) 902-3825 Visit Website

Nico Osteria

1015 North Rush Street, , IL 60611 (312) 994-7100 Visit Website

The Loyalist

177 North Ada Street, , IL 60607 (773) 913-3774 Visit Website

Bistronomic

840 North Wabash Avenue, , IL 60611 (312) 944-8400 Visit Website

Breakfast House

1800 West Grand Avenue, , IL 60622 (312) 997-2400 Visit Website

Begyle Brewing

1800 West Cuyler Avenue, , IL 60613 (773) 661-6963 Visit Website

Sushi-san

63 West Grand Avenue, , IL 60654 (312) 828-0575 Visit Website

Smyth

177 North Ada Street, , IL 60607 (773) 913-3773 Visit Website

urbanbelly

1542 North Damen Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 904-8606 Visit Website

Twin Anchors

1655 N Sedgwick Street, Chicago, IL 60614 312 266 1616 Visit Website

La Sirena Clandestina

954 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 226-5300 Visit Website

L&L Tavern

3207 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60657 (773) 528-1303

Bar on Buena

910 W Buena Ave, Chicago, IL 60613 (773) 525-8665 Visit Website

The Allis

113 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 521-8000 Visit Website

The Other Side Bar

2436 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 525-8238 Visit Website

Dark Matter Coffee

738 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60612 (773) 697-8472 Visit Website

Local Option

1102 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 348-2008 Visit Website

Tricycle

1700 N. Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL Visit Website

Elephant & Castle

111 West Adams Street, , IL 60603 (312) 236-6656 Visit Website

Ema

74 West Illinois Street, , IL 60654 (312) 527-5586 Visit Website

Band of Bohemia

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

Alinea

1723 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 Visit Website

Hopleaf

5148 North Clark Street, , IL 60640 (773) 334-9851 Visit Website

Le Sud

2301 West Roscoe Street, , IL 60618 (773) 857-1985 Visit Website

Nacional 27

325 W Huron St, Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 664-2727 Visit Website

Roister

951 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607

Foodease

835 Michigan Avenue, , IL 60611 (312) 335-3663 Visit Website

Twain

2445 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 697-8463 Visit Website

Z Bar

108 East Superior Street, , IL 60611 (312) 573-6888 Visit Website

Mity Nice

835 North Michigan Avenue, , IL 60611 (312) 335-4745 Visit Website

Bar Ramone

441 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 985-6909 Visit Website

Cafe Mustache

2313 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 687-9063 Visit Website

Big Bowl

60 East Ohio Street, , IL 60611 (312) 951-1888 Visit Website

Il Porcellino

59 West Hubbard Street, , IL 60654 (312) 595-0800 Visit Website

Neon Wilderness

1270 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60622 Visit Website

RPM Italian

52 West Illinois Street, , IL 60654 (312) 222-1888 Visit Website

Girl & The Goat

809 West Randolph Street, , IL 60607 (312) 492-6262 Visit Website

Alla Vita

564 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60661 Visit Website

Boka

1729 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 (312) 337-6070 Visit Website

Epic

112 W Hubbard Street, Chicago, IL 60654 312 222 4940 Visit Website

WhirlyBall

1880 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 486-7777

Rosebud

1500 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 942-1117 Visit Website

Smack Dab

6954 N Glenwood Ave, Chicago, IL 60626

North Pond

, , IL 60614

Fisk and Co

225 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60601 (312) 236-9300 Visit Website

Beacon Tavern

405 North Wabash Avenue, , IL 60611 (312) 955-4226 Visit Website

Pastoral

131 North Clinton Street, , IL 60661 (312) 454-2200 Visit Website

Upstairs at The Gwen

, , IL 60611 (312) 645-1500 Visit Website

Three Dots and a Dash

435 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 610-4220 Visit Website

BLVD

817 West Lake Street, , IL 60607 (312) 526-3116 Visit Website

Aba

1011 South Congress Avenue, , TX 78704 (737) 273-0199 Visit Website

Blackbird

614 North 2nd Street, , PA 19123 (267) 324-5224 Visit Website

Commons Club

1415 Turtle Creek Boulevard, , TX 75207 (469) 436-7150 Visit Website

Smith & Wollensky

294 Congress Street, , MA 02110 (617) 778-2200 Visit Website

Bub City

435 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 610-4200 Visit Website

Mango Pickle

5842 North Broadway, , IL 60660 (773) 944-5555 Visit Website

Avli Taverna

1335 West Wrightwood Avenue, , IL 60614 (773) 857-5577 Visit Website

The Whistler

2421 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 227-3530 Visit Website

Mi Tocaya Antojeria

2800 W Logan blvd, Chicago, IL 60647 (872) 315-3947 Visit Website

Boston Fish Market

412 N Milwaukee Ave, , IL 60090

Joy District

112 W. Hubbard, Chicago, IL (312) 955-0339 Visit Website

Foodlife

835 North Michigan Avenue, , IL 60611 (312) 335-3663 Visit Website

Half Sour

755 South Clark Street, , IL 60605 (312) 224-1772 Visit Website

Mon Ami Gabi

2300 North Lincoln Park West, , IL 60614 (773) 348-8886 Visit Website

Wildfire

159 West Erie Street, , IL 60654 (312) 787-9000 Visit Website

Summer House Santa Monica

1954 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 (773) 634-4100 Visit Website

etta

1840 West North Avenue, , IL 60622 (312) 757-4444 Visit Website

RPM Steak

66 West Kinzie Street, , IL 60654 (312) 284-4990 Visit Website

The Aviary

955 West Fulton Market, , IL 60607 Visit Website

Arbella

112 West Grand Avenue, , IL 60654 (312) 846-6654 Visit Website

Twisted Spoke

501 North Ogden Avenue, , IL 60642 (312) 666-1500 Visit Website

Maple & Ash

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

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

The freshest news from the local food world