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Nobu, the Long-Delayed Celebrity Sushi Spot, Now Targets a Summer Opening

And 10 more upcoming Chicago-area restaurants to know

Robert DeNiro was in Chicago in 2016 to break ground on Nobu, and now four years about the restaurant isn’t here and neither is former-Mayor Rahm Emanuel (far right).
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

February 25

ASHBURN — Ownership of what appears to be a forthcoming South Side bar called Q’s applied for a tavern liquor license this month at 8406 S. Kedzie Avenue.

HYDE PARK — An as-yet-unnamed cafe is moving into the Piccadilly Building at 5107 S. Blackstone Avenue, according to Chicago Cityscape.

LOGAN SQUARE — Tacos Loteria owners applied this month for a liquor license in the space at 3327 W. Armitage Avenue. The building was previously home to Tacos Garcia, which closed last year.

OLD IRVING PARK — Essential Vietnamese restaurant Tank Noodle plans to open its second location in May or June at 4706-4710 W. Irving Park Road, Block Club Chicago reported. The new space will include a bar featuring boozy takes on Vietnamese drinks. The original location doesn’t have a liquor license.

RAVENSWOOD — Koval Distillery, one of the most popular distillers in the city, is close to opening its hotly anticipated tasting room off the city’s growing “Malt Row” on the North Side, according to Block Club Chicago. The company is consolidating all its operations into one 40,000-square-foot facility at 4241 W. Ravenswood Avenue with a visitor center, tasting room, patio, retail space, and space for classes and programs.

SOUTH LOOP — Local mini-chain Caribbean Jerk Palace is at work on a dine-in location at 731 S. Dearborn Street, ownership confirmed in an email. An orange public notice from the city for incidental consumption is also affixed to the door of the space, which formerly housed Hax: Hops & Hamburgers, closed last year.

STREETERVILLE — An all-day “re-imagined” version of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’s taqueria Tallboy Taco is slated to open this spring at 676 N. St. Clair Street, according to reps. It’ll feature new taco option such as the “Korean cheesesteak taco” (grilled skirt steak, American cheese, kimchi, miso-sambal dressing). The space previously housed LEYE Japanese restaurant Mr. Maki.

UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — Build-out at LA-style “Jew-ish” deli Jeff & Judes began this week, according to owner and Hoosier Mama Pie Company baker Ursula Siker. She plans to feature a bar, baked goods, and plenty of family recipes like her grandfather Charles Yates’s chicken and dumplings with Southern touches. The space at at 1024 N. Western Avenue formerly housed Lockdown Bar & Grill.

WEST LOOP — Nobu Chicago is teasing a summer opening date for the star-studded sushi house co-owned by actor Robert DeNiro. A rep on Tuesday said the restaurant, part of a under-constructed hotel on the northeast corner of Randolph and Peoria streets, was on schedule for this summer. There have been several projected opening dates, but it appears Nobu will open before Wicker Park’s Checkers. The summer opening would mesh with this Haute Living report. Nobu is one of the city’s most anticipated openings.

WEST TOWN/WEST LOOP — Brochu’s, the forthcoming “throwback neighborhood restaurant” from Alinea Group alum Andrew Brochu, will pop up for one night at Eater 38 restaurant the Loyalist with “Brochu’s Good Times at the Loyalist” on March 9, according to a news release. Offerings will include Brochu’s legendary fried chicken (which debuted at Roister) on the “Beach Bird” sandwich (uni butter, pickles), as well as a collaborative surf & turf platter, the Loyalist’s popular burger, and more. Reservations are available on Tock.

LOMBARD — Fast-casual Mediterranean chain the Simple Greek is slated to open a suburban location this spring in Butterfield Road Plaza, according to a news release. It will be the chain’s first Illinois location. A franchisee will operate this forthcoming location at 789 E. Butterfield Road, but the company was founded by Marcus Lemonis, a controversial businessman and star of CNBC reality show the Profit.

February 12

BUCKTOWN — Natural wine store and bar Red & White Wines will reopen as Noisette this month at 1861 N. Milwaukee Avenue, according to the Tribune. The rebranded spot will continue to offer a selection of wines, as well as cocktails and coffee.

LINCOLN PARK— Maison Marcel has had signage for months for another location, taking over a space at 2562 N. Clark Street. The French bakery opened its first location in Lakeview in 2017.

LINCOLN PARK — Suburban breakfast and brunch restaurant Stray Hen Cafe is expanding into the city, signage shows at the former Drawl Southern Cookhouse & Whiskey Room space at 2423 N. Clark Street. The original restaurant in Elmhurst features a detailed menu of scramblers, omelets, breakfast bowls, sandwiches, and more.

OLD IRVING PARK — Essential Vietnamese spot Tank Noodle appears to be expanding into a second location, according to a liquor license application filed early this month for 4706-4710 W. Irving Park Road near Binny’s Beverage Depot. The Edgewater original is closed for a winter break through February 21, reps said a voicemail message at the restaurant.

OLD TOWN — Traditional Neapolitan pizzeria Gallucci is slated to open Friday, according to a Facebook post, and reservations are live online. Its run by pizza champion Gianni Gallucci, who eschews modern approaches like “neo Neapolitan” in favor of classical techniques and ingredients. The restaurant space at 1551 N. Wells Street formerly housed Old Town institution Dinotto, which closed Thanksgiving Day weekend after 30 years in business.

STREETERVILLE — Lettuce Entertain You taqueria Tallboy Taco has decals on the window in the former Mr. Maki space at 676 N. St. Clair Street, fulfilling ownership’s promise to reconcept after the Japanese teishoku restaurant closed in August after four months. There’s no word yet on an opening date, so stay tuned.

HUNTLEY — Microbrewery and brewpub More Brewing plans to open a new production facility to the public by the end of the month at 13980 Automall Drive in Huntly in Lake County, according to a distribution rep and the Northwest Herald. The brewery currently operates in Villa Park, and ownership plans to commence distribution in March.

February 4

ALBANY PARK — Coffee shop and health food spot Khepri Cafe is slated to open this winter at 4650 N. Kedzie Avenue, Block Club reported, featuring menu items like smoothies, breakfast sandwiches, and salads. An anonymous group that calls itself “For the People Chicago” has accused owners and neighborhood residents Tatum Drewes and Issac Melton of “exploiting working people.” A Facebook post and fliers posted around the area claim the cafe will draw “developers, gentrifiers, and police into the community.” Drewes then told Block Club that she isn’t exploiting anyone, wants to hire employees from the neighborhood, and plans to pay a generous wage.

AVONDALE/IRVING PARK — Venerable local Chicago-style hot dog chain Portillo’s hasn’t ditched its plans for a Northwest Side location, first announced over a year ago. The company still plans to open a restaurant on the border of Avondale and Irving Park at Addison and Kimball streets. It’ll have a “Roaring ‘20s” theme, as well as an outdoor patio, parking lot, and double drive-thru, the Trib reported. “We look forward to putting a shovel in the ground in the next two months and opening later this year,” Portillo’s VP of real estate told reporters in an email.

CALUMET HEIGHTS — A mysterious vegan and/or vegetarian restaurant called Plant Based Junkie Chicago is “coming soon” to 1635 E. 87th Street, according to a Facebook post. The location formerly housed jerk chicken spot Grill 87.

EDGEWATER — Esports venue and snack spot X Fun Gaming is coming to a ground floor storefront at 5214 N. Sheridan Road, according to Block Club. Ownership plans to offer snacks and soft drinks, but unlike some other local gaming cafes, alcohol won’t be available.

LINCOLN PARK — Mundano, the upcoming Latin American restaurant from former Quiote chef Ross Henke, should open by the end of the month, according to a Facebook update with the caption “February or bust!” It’s one of the most anticipated new restaurants of the year.

LOGAN SQUARE — Local restaurateur Esam Hani plans to open a new late-night hot dog spot in the spring under the working name Mr. E’s. He wants to choose a name that’s “quirky, fun, and easy to remember.” It’s slated to open in an unfussy storefront at 2704 N. Milwaukee Avenue beside sister spot the Old Plank, and Hani hopes to offer beer as well as dogs. His other restaurants include De Noche Mexicana, Cafe Con Leche, and Harding Tavern.

LOGAN SQUARE — Local chain Rosati’s Pizza is working on its seventh location, according to Block Club, in the former Panaderia La Central storefront under the California Blue Line station. Ownership hope to open the new space by the end of March. The now-shuttered Mexican bakery closed in spring 2018 after 35 years at 2218 N. California Avenue.

MAGNIFICENT MILE — Mexico City-themed brewpub Crushed by Giants is slated to open in May, Chicago reported, featuring hazy IPAs, Mexican lagers, and “fancy” tacos. It’s from the team behind Lakeview’s DryHop Brewers and Corridor Brewery & Provisions. The second-floor space at 600 N. Michigan Avenue formerly housed longtime Cajun restaurant Heaven on Seven.

The giants are starting to make their mark on the Mag Mile. Whose excited for our brewery to open in downtown Chicago?

Posted by Crushed By Giants Brewing on Tuesday, February 4, 2020

NEAR WEST SIDE — The transformation of the old Cook County Hospital at 1835 W. Harrison Street is just “months away” from completion, Block Club reported, and will contain an unnamed food hall, daycare center, medical office, and 210-room Hyatt House and Hyatt Place hotel. The 106-year-old hospital’s restoration is a component of Murphy Development and Walsh Group’s $1 billion multiphase plan to construct apartments south of the building.

RIVER NORTH — Gene & Georgetti’s, Chicago’s oldest steakhouse, plans to reopen its flagship location in “early 2020” after a grease fire forced the downtown icon to temporarily close in October, according to a news release. Fans can expect new menu items, refurbished decor, and “reimagined branding” when the steakhouse relaunches at 500 N. Franklin Street.

RIVER NORTH — Lodge Management Group plans to expand 26-year-old downtown stalwart the Redhead Piano Bar by 1,100 square feet, according to a letter sent to neighbors. The space is intended for a new private event room, storage, and additional bathrooms. The letter does not detail when the company plans to begin construction at 16 W. Ontario Street.

THE LOOP — North Center restaurant, bar, and performance venue Beat Kitchen plans to open a new location on the Chicago Riverwalk on April 9 with speedy dining options such as tacos, pizzas, and salads, according to the Tribune. Located beneath the bridge at Michigan Avenue at Lower Wacker, it should feature a to-go window for quick pickup and will be the first indoor dining option on the walkway.

THE LOOP — Famed Brooklyn pizzeria Roberta’s has applied for a liquor license at its forthcoming home, New York-based food hall Urbanspace planned for 15 W. Washington Street. Roberta’s first announced plans to open inside two pending Chicago Urbanspace locations in September.

THE LOOP — Longtime downtown food and drink destination Russian Tea Time is in the “final stretch” of its renovations, which began in June and were supposed to take around three months, according to a Facebook post with photos of the unfinished restaurant space. In the post, reps note that an issue with city inspectors over a neighbor’s duct work has stalled the reopening, but urged fans to stay tuned for an opening date.

January 21

IRVING PARK — Signs for a new burger restaurant called Big League Burgers Chicago are up at the former B-Side Burgers space at 3732 W. Irving Park Road, according to Block Club. The address was also previously home to neighborhood bistro Bread & Wine.

LOGAN SQUARE — A co-owner of essential taco spot L’Patron plans to open a new restaurant called Gabriela’s Carnitas, Block Club reported. The space at 3721 W. Fullerton Avenue previously housed neighborhood eatery Marcella’s, which closed in October.

LOGAN SQUARE — Sweet Shot Cookies, known for its filled and infused cookies and cakes, is slated to open Saturday, ownership wrote on Facebook. The shop at 3211 W. Armitage Avenue will offer pre-filled or DIY cookies that customers can fill themselves with the sweet stuff of their choosing.

PILSEN — Golden Gai Sushi, which may be Pilsen’s only sushi restaurant, is “coming soon” to 1144 W 18th Street, according to Facebook posts. Ownership has also applied for a liquor license.

WEST LOOP — Family-owned Cuban spot Cubano Bros. is planning to open its first city location inside the Chicago French Market, reps wrote on Facebook, though an opening date isn’t yet available. The original restaurant is located in suburban Elk Grove Village and offers a selection of Cuban dishes including sandwiches on house-baked bread, breakfast options, rice bowls, and more.

DEERFIELD — Health-focused cafe and coffee chain Protein Bar & Kitchen plans to open its first location in the North Shore in March at the Deerfield Shopping Center, the Tribune reported. The chain currently operates 11 Chicago restaurants, as well as locations in Colorado and Washington D.C.

LIBERTYVILLE — Sophisticated suburban restaurant Milwalky Trace is slated to reopen in a new space this spring around two years after it closed to make way for barbecue restaurant Oscar Lee’s, reps wrote on social media. The new space at 545 N Milwaukee Avenue will have a more “sexy and design focused atmosphere,” they wrote.

OAK BROOK — London-based “super tech” mini golf chain Puttshack plans to open a location in Oakbrook Center by the third or fourth quarter of 2020, the Tribune reported. At more than 25,000 square feet, the space will include food, drinks, private party space, and four mini golf courses in the former Lord & Taylor space in the Oak Brook mall. The company is also eyeing the downtown Chicago area and other surrounding suburbs for future expansion.

ST. CHARLES — The very long awaited suburban Wahlburgers is slated to open by early April, about a year after workers first broke ground on the site at 825 S. Randall Road in St. Charles, according to the Daily Herald. It’ll be the second Chicago area location for the chain helmed by brothers Paul, Mark, and Donnie. In April, they opened Wahlburgers’s first Illinois location in River North.

January 7

AVONDALE — Avondale Bowl, a retro bowling alley coming to the long-empty Northwest Bowl building, will open Monday with a limited cocktail menu and rotating draft beer offerings, according to Block Club. Former Longman & Eagle bar manager Tony Correale plans to pay tribute to ‘70s- and ‘80s-era Chicago bowling alleys with drinks including tequila sunrises and amaretto sours at 3118 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

HYDE PARK — The space that formerly housed 40-year-old neighborhood barbecue staple Ribs ‘n’ Bibs will become a Wingstop, Block Club reported. An opening date is not yet available, but the city granted a permit for renovations at 5300 S. Dorchester Avenue in late November.

LINCOLN PARK — The owners of Korean barbecue-inspired Mexican restaurant Bistec are in the midst of reconcepting the space into the more straightforward Daebak Korean BBQ, visible through the windows at 1523 N. Kingsbury Street.

LINCOLN PARK — A new restaurant called Mi Nueva Tierra is coming to the space that formerly housed Ignoble Wine Bar at 2417 N. Clybourn Avenue. Ownership applied for a liquor license late last month.

LOGAN SQUARE — Sweet stuff empire Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams plans to open another Chicago location inside luxury development Logan Apartments at an as-yet-unannounced date, according to Block Club. The city issued the company a construction permit for 2522 N. Milwaukee Avenue in late December for what will be its eighth Chicagoland shop. Reps have not responded to requests for more information.

NOBLE SQUARE — Chicagoans have been burned again by the Polish Triangle’s forthcoming Checkers, originally slated to open in July. Representatives previously pushed the date to late December, and now claim the fast-food burger chain will open in mid-January at 1555 W. Division Street, Block Club reported.

PULLMAN — Woman-owned barbecue business Lexington Betty Smoke House is slated to open February 1 inside the South Side’s One Eleven Food Hall at 756 E. 111th Street, reps wrote in a Facebook post. Photos of its smokey, meaty wares are also available on social media.

THE LOOP — Turkitch, a Turkish food purveyor and cafe mini-chain, continues its bid for local domination with another location slated to open in the food court of downtown office building 71 S. Wacker Drive. The company hopes to debut the new spot in February.

WEST LOOP — A new concept called Ten Goku from the folks behind Michelin-starred Omakase Yume is in the works for the same building, according to a liquor license application that names its address (651 W. Washington Boulevard) and the same owners. Reached by email, Kate Kim-Park (wife of chef Sangtae Park) said only that they plan to release more information in the coming months.

DES PLAINES — Acclaimed Japanese chef Kenta Ikehata (Tsujita) plans to open suburban restaurant Chicago Ramen on January 24, according to a news release. He’ll feature tsukemen, a variety that lets diners dip noodles into a separate bowl of broth, as well as red miso and white miso ramen at 578 E. Oakton in Des Plaines.

NAPERVILLE — Australian brand Guzman y Gomez plans to open its first U.S. location on January 16 at 1519 N. Naper Road in Naperville, according to a rep. Offerings will include burritos, tacos, churros and more.

NAPERVILLE — National Japanese barbecue chain Gyu-Kaku is planning its first suburban Chicago location at 47 E. Chicago Avenue in Naperville, the Daily Herald reported. Best known for offering diners a chance to grill their own marinated meats and veggies, the chain already has restaurants in the West Loop, Streeterville, and Lakeview.

SCHAUMBURG — Local Mexican mini-chain Taco Maya is slated to open a new suburban location in mid-January at 365 S. Roselle Road in Schaumburg with burritos, fajitas, and tacos, according to the Daily Herald. The company also operates restaurants in the South Loop, Niles, and Bloomingdale.

VERNON HILLS — Owners of burgeoning breakfast mini-chain Buttermilk Cafe are shooting for a late January opening at 925 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Vernon Hills, the Daily Herald reported. Existing locations in Geneva and Naperville are known for scrambles, waffles, pancakes, and other morning fare.

For the Fall 2019 list of upcoming restaurants, click here.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

1505 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60622 (872) 802-4668 Visit Website

Protein Bar

151 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

1364 West Randolph Street, , IL 60607 (312) 982-2840 Visit Website


2 East Ontario Street, , IL 60611 (312) 265-1290 Visit Website

Koval Distillery

5121 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60640 (312) 878-7988 Visit Website

Tank Noodle

4953-55 North Broadway, , IL 60640 (773) 878-2253 Visit Website

Gene & Georgetti's

500 N Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610 312 527 3718 Visit Website

The Redhead Piano Bar

16 W Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 640-1000

Tallboy Taco

620 North State Street, , IL 60654 (312) 488-4917 Visit Website

Red & White Wine Bar

1861 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 486-4769 Visit Website

One Eleven Food Hall

756 East 111th Street, , IL 60628 Visit Website

Chicago French Market

131 North Clinton Street, , IL 60661 (312) 575-0306 Visit Website