Andersonville: California-based salad chain Sweetgreen has plans to move into the former home of longtime drag diner Hamburger Mary’s, though an opening timeline isn’t yet available, according to Block Club Chicago. The diner and adjoining performance venue Mary’s Attic closed in November 2020 after nearly 15 years on the corner of Clark and Balmoral. The new restaurant will be Sweetgreen’s seventh location in Chicago.
Bridgeport: The city is putting more money toward the rehabilitation of the storied Ramova Theatre and its restaurant, Ramova Grill, which closed in 2012 after an 82-year-run. Chicago aldermen on Monday expanded a tax-increment financing district’s (TIF) conveyance to $6.82 million, according to Erin Hegarty at the Daily Line. Duck Inn chef and owner Kevin Hickey is a partner on the team that’s been working toward the renovation since 2019. Developers have made several attempts to revive the space through the years.
Lakeshore East: Suburban Italian restaurant Carlucci has applied for indoor and outdoor liquor licenses at 400 E. Randolph Street. This appears to be a new restaurant space on the first floor of a condo building.
Lincoln Park: Esme, the highly anticipated forthcoming restaurant from wife-and-husband team Katrina Bravo (mk, Ada Street) and Jenner Tomaska (mk, Next, Elizabeth), is slated to debut in July at 2220 N. Clark Street, according to the Tribune. Reservations are scheduled to open in mid-June. While the pair haven’t disclosed any details about the menu, they have stressed that the venue will be about more than food: they also want to provide programming where youth can learn how to work in a kitchen, and partner with budding local artists including Paul Octavious.
West Loop: Ambitious plans for a new “intermodal riverwalk” to the south branch of the Chicago River include an upper terrace for outdoor dining, as well as lower tiers for public gathering and piers for boaters and kayakers, according to Urbanize Chicago. Local design firm DMAC Architecture envisions the project, slated for a space just east of the 300 S. Riverside Plaza office building, as a solution for an unused Amtrak platform under the Old Post Office near Union Station. Amtrak told reporters that discussions have taken place but nothing is official at this stage.
West Loop: Gioia Ristorante + Pastificio, a regional Italian restaurant originally slated to open in spring 2020, is slated for a June debut at 1133 W. Randolph Street, according to a job posting spotted on the True West Loop Facebook group. Executive chef and partner Federico Comacchio (437 Rush, Coco Pazzo) will serve 12 to 15 different pastas made daily.
Wicker Park: Japanese-style ice cream shop Kurimu aims to open a second location in mid- to late June at 1632 W. Division Street, according to owner Ming Ng. Kurimu opened its first shop in 2019 in Little Italy, and has accrued a loyal fanbase with colorful cones, soft serve flavors like mandarin orange and strawberry Hi-Chew, edible gold and silver leaf, and ice cream-stuffed melon pan buns.
Douglas Park: Adored Jamaican restaurant Ja’ Grill seems poised to open a second location, as ownership has applied for a liquor license at 1407 S Washtenaw Avenue, just steps away from Mount Sinai Hospital. A destination in Hyde Park for hits like jerk chicken, curry dishes, and dangerously delicious Ja’ Rum Punch, the restaurant has earned a devoted following after relocating a few years ago from Lincoln Park.
Hyde Park: Hogsalt’s Brendan Sodikoff confirms that his company is opening a Small Cheval at 1037 E. 53rd Street. Small Cheval specializes in burgers and fries; it’s a spinoff of Hogsalt’s Au Cheval in West Loop where customers continue to lineup for a similar griddled sandwich. There are locations in Bucktown, Old Town, River North, and in Aster Hall located off the Mag Mile.
Lincoln Park: Blue Sushi Sake Grill, a national chain that touts itself as a sustainability-conscious brand, aims to open its first Chicago location at the mixed-use Lincoln Common development at 2335 N. Lincoln Avenue, according to its website. The company has also developed a following for its vegan sushi at a location in suburban Naperville, along with outposts in Nebraska, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Iowa.
River North: Jaleo, the highly anticipated tapas restaurant from famed Spanish chef and activist José Andrés, is making progress and has applied for a liquor license at 500 N. Clark Street. The restaurant will replace Naha, the Michelin-starred icon that closed in March 2018 after 18 years. Andrés’s group hoped to open in mid-2020, but had to delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
West Loop: Cupitol Coffee and Lounge, a locally-based all-day cafe and restaurant, has applied for a liquor license at 135 N. Clinton Street, a space that previously housed a location of international chain Le Pan Quotidien. Cupitol already operates outposts in Streeterville and suburban Evanston.
West Town: Locally-owned mini chain Taco Bros is slated to take over the former El Metro Cafe at 1959 W. Chicago Avenue, according to Block Club Chicago. This will be Taco Bros third Chicago-area location, as it already operates restaurants in River West and suburban Oak Park. El Metro co-owners and sisters Veronica and Betty Romo announced in late April that they planned to permanently close the cafe in May after 12 years.
Back of the Yards: Community pillar Back of the Yards Coffee Co. is one of three local groups selected by the city as a finalist among bids to take over a vacant lot near the 47th Street and Ashland Avenue as part of Chicago’s INVEST South/West initiative, according to Block Club Chicago. The coffee company’s proposal includes a three-story building with spaces for coffee production, retail and cafe space for a Back of the Yards Coffee shop and other locally-owned businesses, workforce and development spaces, a rooftop beer garden, an outdoor plaza, and more. Dubbed “Back of the Yards Works,” the project would cost an estimated $15 million. The company is asking supporters to attend its virtual proposal to city officials from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday. Participants can register to attend via Zoom.
Bucktown: Northern Thai restaurant Sweet Rice Asian Kitchen is relocating this month to 1904 N. Western Avenue, according to a sign on the storefront window. Menus are already posted inside. It’s from owners of Sticky Rice in Lincoln Square. Sweet Rice first opened in 2016 inside a development that has since closed, which forced them to move across the street into a stall inside Blue Line stop at Western. Now the restaurant gets to resume operations in its own space.
Bucktown: Art of Chicken, a Bucktown restaurant that’s been closed since 2017 after a fire (nobody was hurt), is close to a return. Ownership has posted a banner outside the restaurant at 2041 N. Western Avenue declaring that the restaurant is making progress and may finally reopen.
Fulton Market: Health food cafe chain RealGoodStuff Co. is ramping up expansion plans in Chicago, starting with a 2,500-square-foot location coming in October to 333 N. Green Street, according to the Tribune. It’ll be the first of four outposts the company plans to open this year. Originally conceived as a smoothie shop called RealGoodJuice Co., the company three years ago rebranded to highlight menu items like hot food, vegan frozen yogurt, and coffee.
Lincoln Park: Esme, one of Chicago’s most highly anticipated restaurant openings of the season, from ex-Next chef Jenner Tomaska and wife Katrina Bravo, is prepared to start hiring for all positions, according to a Facebook post. In a nod to numerous calls for more equitable and sustainable policies in the hospitality industry, Tomaska notes that employees will be eligible for health insurance and benefits.
Logan Square: Don Chema, one of the few remaining neighborhood Mexican spots in the area, is moving, according to signs posted at 2331 N. California Avenue. In addition to tacos and other treats, the restaurant had a full liquor license. “To all our customers for allowing us to keep in business over this 20 years, we appreciate you all,” a sign reads. Another sign promises that a new location is “coming soon” to 3721 W. Fullerton, about a block away from L’Patron Tacos.
Logan Square: A new American restaurant and lounge called the Duplex is coming to 3137 W. Logan Boulevard, replacing neighborhood spot Merchant after it closed early in the pandemic. It’s from Rick Rodriguez, formerly of shuttered brunch restaurant Whisk in West Town and Son of a Butcher by WHISK in Logan Square. An opening timeline is not yet available, but Rodriguez has already launched many of the ghost kitchens concepts he ran out of River North club/restaurant Clutch.
Noble Square: Dr. Bird’s Jamaican Patty Shack is aiming for an opening date of May 21 at 1215 N. Milwaukee Avenue in a space that borders the perimeter of the Polish Triangle. Patrons can expect island hits like jerk tacos and rasta pasta plus South Asian roti, fresh juice, and Red Stripe beer. It was originally slated to open in November 2020.
River North: Local Mexican mini chain Taco Maya has applied for a liquor license at 22 W. Ohio Street, the former home of Sapori Antichi Bar Italiano. This will be Taco Maya’s second location in the city, as it currently operates a restaurant in South Loop as well as spots in suburban Rosemont, Niles, Schaumburg, and Bloomingdale.
River North: Pippin’s Tavern, presumed closed — another casualty of the pandemic — teased an “exciting” announcement in the coming days. The River North bar, 806 N. Rush Street, could be poised for a comeback.
Naperville/Elgin/Algonquin/Geneva: Franchisees at Denver-based chain Teriyaki Madness plan to open five new outposts this year in the Chicago suburbs, according to a rep. Opening timelines are not yet available. The Seattle-style teriyaki brand’s first Illinois location opened in 2019 in suburban Lombard, and a second opened last summer in South Loop.
Fulton Market: An upscale Mexican chain called Chikatana is opening its first Chicago location at the former home of City Tap at 850 W. Fulton Market, according to a liquor license application and job posting. Operators are aiming for a May 31 opening date. City Tap reps haven’t officially announced the closure of the Fulton Market restaurant but they have removed the location from the chain’s website.
Humboldt Park: A new restaurant called Tocca Ferro plans to take over the space that once housed adored all-day French spot Cafe Marie-Jeanne, according to a liquor license application for 1001 N. California Avenue. When reached for comment, landlord Gino Battaglia declined to share details on the forthcoming establishment. A cozy favorite among Chicago’s hospitality industry, Marie-Jeanne closed last November after five years due to the financial consequences of the pandemic.
Magnificent Mile: Chef Don Young (Temporis, WoodWind) has announced a May 26 launch date for his new modern French restaurant Venteux, one of the most hotly anticipated openings of the year. It’ll be located inside the former Free Rein space inside the Carbide and Carbon Building at 230 N. Michigan Avenue.
The Loop: Bazaar Meat and Bar Mar, the first in a series of forthcoming riverfront restaurant and bar projects from famed chef and activist José Andrés and Gibsons Restaurant Group, has applied for an outdoor patio liquor license at 120 N. Wacker Drive. The restaurant will specialize in red meat while the bar will focus on a “dedicated cocktail experience,” according to reps.
Wicker Park: Casual pan-Asian restaurant Little Wok in Lakeview and suburban Evanston is at work on a third location on bustling Division Street. Large, light blue signage shows it is bound for the space beside weed-themed sandwich chain Cheba Hut.
Wrigleyville: Tropically-themed bar and restaurant the Diver in River North is at work on plans for a new three-floor location called Diver at the Park, according to an Instagram post and liquor license application for the Wheelhouse Hotel at 3469-3475 N. Clark Street. The restaurant’s website says the spot will be “inspired by a beachside bungalow nestled along the coast of Tulum,” and is slated to open this summer.
Edgewater: Bread-making experts at Phlour Bakery & Cafe announced plans last week to open a diner at 1100 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, according to an Instagram post. Operators are currently hiring for all positions, and promise brunch cocktails when a liquor license is approved. The space formerly housed longtime breakfast and brunch spot Nookies Edgewater.
Fulton Market: New York-based chain Zeppola Italian Bakery plans to open its first Chicago outpost at 800 W. Fulton Market, according to a rep. An estimated opening date is not yet available. The company also plans to launch a location this year in Las Vegas. Locations on the East Coast feature items like focaccia, zeppole, bombalone, and cannoli, plus hot and cold drinks.
Logan Square: Builders appear to be making significant progress on Lardon, the highly anticipated all-day restaurant from Christopher Thompson (Coda di Volpe) and Steve Lewis (Centennial Crafted Brewing). Passersby can occasionally get a few peeks between plywood slats covering the windows at 2200 N. California Avenue and see exposed brick walls and an entrance space enclosed in glass. The restaurant is slated to open in April or May.
The Loop: Bar and music venue Beat Kitchen will reopen its Riverwalk outpost for outdoor service on May 1, according to a rep. That’s the same date outdoor business can resume at tourist destination Navy Pier. Indoor dining is slated to resume in May, but a specific launch date isn’t yet available.
River North: European gelato shop Cafe Cremerie is now slated for a summer opening the former Alliance Patisserie space at 615 N. State Street. Owner Lisa Gasparian says the city is behind on licensing and that construction and design teams are limited due to COVID-19. In January, Gasparian closed a location in Gold Coast.
South Loop: Kroll’s South Loop, the Wisconsin Badger-friendly sports bar that closed its doors in September, has alerted fans that reopening plans are underway in a Facebook post. “Opening this spring. More details to come,” the post reads.
Lakeview: Dom’s Kitchen & Market has broken ground on its first location, 2730 N. Halsted Street. The would-be chain aims to combine shopping, dining, and food delivery, according to a rep. The location, right on the border of Lincoln Park and Lakeview, is slated to open in early June, will feature food hall-style counters with international options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The highly anticipated project is from Bob Mariano, the founder of the Chicago grocery giant who is no longer involved in the business, and Jay Owen, great-grandson Dominick’s Finer Foods founder Dominick DiMatteo.
Lincoln Park: Armitage Ale House, the forthcoming restaurant from Brendan Sodikoff’s Hogsalt Hospitality (Au Cheval) has applied for a liquor license at 1000 W. Armitage Avenue. The project first became public in January, but Sodikoff wasn’t yet prepared to reveal an opening timeline or other details about the new venture.
Lincoln Park: The live music venue and dive bar known as Tonic Room is no more, as ownership plans to reopen in this month with a new name, look, and menu, according to Time Out Chicago. The business at 2447 N. Halsted Street is now Golden Dagger, a coffee bar that will feature a 30-seat patio and retail section with local goods.
Lincoln Park: Beloved Mexican restaurant Tecalitlan will reopen at 1538 N. Clybourn Avenue in the massive NewCity development, ownership announced Monday on Facebook. They’re taking over the former Lyfe Kitchen space. Owners wanted to stay in the area, but prices were too high given that repairs were needed for many spaces that they toured. They closed over the summer in West Town after 47 years, and in the meantime have operated a delivery-only location in Humboldt Park. Owners tell Eater Chicago they aren’t sure when an opening date will happen.
Lincoln Park: Verzenay Patisserie aims to open its first storefront location this month at 2507 N. Lincoln Avenue, according to its website. The space formerly housed Japanese restaurant Ringo Sushi, which in 2019 relocated to a new space on Fullerton Avenue. Verzenay is a French pastry vendor at Chicago’s Green City Market.
North Center: The owners of Reclaimed Bar and Restaurant in North Center are opening a second-floor wine bar, according to a email newsletter from the restaurant. It’s called Scoperta Wine Bar and opens April 15. It features a 12-seat bar, a table for wine dinners, and a lounge.
South Loop: Longtime local restaurateur Tony Hu is forging ahead with plans to open a fourth Chicago location of Lao Sze Chuan, his Chinese mini-chain, and has applied for a liquor license at 616 S. Wabash Avenue. The project was first announced in February 2020.
The Loop: Venteux, a modern brasserie from decorated chef Don Young (Temporis, WoodWind), has been delayed. It’s now aiming for an early- to mid-May opening inside the historic Carbide and Carbon Building off the Mag Mile, according to a rep. Patrons can expect a champagne bar and 30-seat patio at 230 N. Michigan Avenue, as well as slightly updated takes on French classics like dover sole meuniere, French-Moroccan, and French-Vietnamese cuisines.
Uptown: Kimchi Pop by Chef Son, a homestyle Korean favorite in Noble Square, is slated to open a second location in the next few months at 4429 N. Broadway, according to neighborhood blog Uptown Update. The address previously housed several restaurants over the years, including FelFel Grill, Papas Place, and Atolito Mexican Catering.
West Loop: Barangaroos Aussie Pies, a restaurant that specializes in Australia’s popular savory, meat-filled pies, is slated to open this month inside the Chicago French Market, according to an employee. Barangaroos also operates a storefront location on Sheffield Avenue in Lakeview.
West Loop: Popular local mini-chain the Goddess and Grocer aims to open its fifth Chicago location this summer at 911 W. Randolph Street, according to a rep. Patrons can expect a dog-friendly patio, outdoor seating for 60, and the chain’s reliable selection of pastries, coffee, breakfast, lunch, and prepared foods. The space was previously an outpost of Veggie Grill, the vegetarian fast-food chain that closed a pair of local stores and plans to rebrand two more next month.
Andersonville: A new outpost from Land & Lake Kitchen — the Midwestern-focused spot on the ground floor of the LondonHouse hotel — is slated to open in April for dinner, delivery, and carryout at 5420 N. Clark Street, according to a rep. That’s the former home of Passerotto, the decorated restaurant where Eater Chicago’s 2018 Chef of the Year Jennifer Kim thoughtfully wove together Korean and Italian culinary cultures for three years. Kim closed the restaurant in September after splitting with investor LM Restaurant Group (the company behind Land & Lake).
Gold Coast: The restaurant slated to open inside the former Walton Street Kitchen at 912 N. State Street is actually called Adalina, not “Musi,” as previously reported, according to a liquor license application. A job post describes the restaurant as upscale Italian and that it’s opening soon. The restaurant is from Phil Siudak (a former corporate GM at Gibsons) and Matt Deichl (LiqrBox). Their business partners, according to a spokesperson, are Miles Muslin and Jonathan Gillespie (BDG Hospitality). A spokesperson adds that the team “has decades of experience owning and operating some of the most successful concepts in Chicago, New York, Las Vegas, and Austin, Texas.”
Humboldt Park: Pilsen-based food truck Aztec Dave’s is slated to take over the first floor at 1143 N. California Avenue, according to a liquor license application for Aztec Dave’s Tequila Bar & Grill. Ownership launched the modern Mexican truck in 2015 with a menu of tacos, burritos, and tortas.
Lakeshore East: Avli on the Park, the latest modern Greek restaurant from Avli Taverna chef and owner Louie Alexakis, has applied for a liquor license at 180 N. Field Boulevard. The restaurant will be operated in tandem with food-service company Magellan Development Group and is slated to open in April. Alexakis, who founded the original Avli in suburban Winnetka, has also opened locations in Lincoln Park and River North — earning legions of fans along the way.
Pilsen: Radius, the 55,000-square-foot music venue that barely opened before the COVID-19 pandemic began last year, has applied for an outdoor patio liquor license at 640 W. Cermak Road. The massive project includes a bar and full-service restaurant inside a space called Cermak Hall. Chef Henry Hill, who helped bring nearby Dusek’s Board and Beer a Michelin star, was consulting on the restaurant’s menu. No word if that’s changed during the pandemic. Radius was among 2020’s most anticipated openings.
River North: Local cafe mini-chain Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea is slated to open its sixth Chicago-area location in mid 2021 at 306 W. Erie Street, according to a rep. It’ll be inside a new structure that’s a part of Verso, a three-building cluster designed to serve as a community center. Fairgrounds’ new cafe will be sizable, seating 52 both between indoor and outdoor spaces. For more details on the permit, check out Chicago Cityscape. The company also plans to open outpost in suburban Hoffman Estates inside the former AT&T headquarters. The development is called Bell Works Chicagoland and is about 32 miles northwest of Chicago,
Wicker Park: Jerk-centric food truck Whadda Jerk is taking over a space with plenty of restaurant history at 2015 W. Division Street, according to job postings on social media. The Divison Street address most recently housed Clever Rabbit, a vegetarian-friendly spot that opened in 2017, but was also previously occupied by numerous shuttered establishments since 2012. The new location be the second Whadda Jerk opening in recent months, as ownership in February launched a stall inside Dr. Murphy’s Food Hall in the Illinois Medical District. Ownership has yet to respond with additional details.
Avondale: You’re A Cookie, the forthcoming walk-up window bakery with fresh-baked cookies and vegan desserts, is now aiming for a summer opening at 3453 N. Albany Avenue, owner and pastry chef Angela Diaz writes on Facebook. Diaz had initially hoped to open in early 2021.
Fulton Market: Rose Mary, the hotly anticipated Croatian-Italian restaurant from Top Chef champion and South Side native Joe Flamm, is gearing up to open in mid-April. It’s Flamm’s first solo endeavor and one of the biggest Chicago restaurant openings of the year, so coverage is ramping up as a launch date grows closer.
Gold Coast: A new restaurant called Musi is slated to open in the former Walton Street Kitchen space at 912 N. State Street, according to an SEC filing. It’s lead by Phil Siudak, a former corporate manager at Gibsons Restaurant Group and general manager at Chicago Cut Steakhouse, according to the filing.
Lakeview: Pescadero in suburban Wilmette is planning to open a location in Chicago proper at 1258 W. Belmont Avenue, according to a liquor license application. The address formerly housed Fahlstrom’s, a venerable seafood restaurant and market that served the area since 2014.
Logan Square: The owner of popular Italian restaurants Osteria Langhe and Testaccio is plans this summer to utilize the food truck left over from Quiote. Pizzica will serve pizza on the patio. Patrons can also expect Italian-style frozen cocktails, wines on tap, and Roman street food available through the truck’s walk-up window. Owner Aldo Zaninotto also aims this spring to open a bar, Soif Wine Lounge, in an intimate subterranean space.
Jefferson Park: Craft microbrewery Printers Row Brewing has applied for a liquor license at 4801 N. Austin Avenue. Ownership bought the building in March of last year and plan to open a tasting room, according to a Facebook post at the time.
Navy Pier: Sable at Navy Pier, the tourist destination’s first hotel, is slated to open Thursday at 900 E. Grand Avenue, according to a rep. It’s the latest in Hilton’s Curio Collection, and will include 223 nautically-themed rooms and an Iberian-American restaurant called Lirica. Operators are making a big bet on a return to some normalcy, as the hotel also includes 4,300 square feet of meeting and event space.
River North: Cafe Cremerie, a European-style gelato spot that in January closed its Gold Coast location, is now slated to move into the former Alliance Patisserie space at 615 N. State Street, according to owner Lisa Gasparian. The cafe will be able to serve booze, per a liquor license application.
Wicker Park: Trendy snack shop chain Foxtrot Market is slated to take over a prominent corner space on Wicker Park’s six-corner intersection at 1576 N. Milwaukee Avenue, according to a rep. The space previously housed One Off Hospitality’s Publican Anker, which closed in 2019, and short-lived French spot Cafe Cancale — a hotly anticipated restaurant that closed in June 2020.
Wrigleyville: In 2017, demolition crews razed a Taco Bell across the street from Wrigleyville, and fans mourned the loss of a fast-food restaurant that had somehow had become beloved by Cubdom. Social media users had fun sharing memories of drunken nights along Wrigleyville. Now comes word that Taco Bell has applied for a liquor license for 1107 W. Addison Street, which is the same parcel as the old location. While the new restaurant won’t have the antiquated design found at highway rest stops and in the suburbs, fans can look forward to boozy slushies and an open kitchen. There’s no opening date as of publication time, but the project joins two more Taco Bell Cantinas planned to open in June in West Loop and Lincoln Park.