Chicago’s hospitality industry continues to pick up the pieces and try to resume a semblance of normal business as the COVID-19 pandemic remains. Rising case numbers, attributed in part to concentrations of unvaccinated people and the highly transmissible delta variant, has spurred city and state officials to reinstate a mask mandate in public indoor spaces— including bars and restaurants.
The following are just some of the restaurants that have reopened their dining rooms, patios, and takeout windows. It will be updated periodically.
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Logan Square: New Mexican restaurant Ocaso Kitchen & Bar debuted this week in a space that previously housed Masa Azul, a local spot that closed during the pandemic, according to a Facebook post. It’s the first restaurant from owner Areerat Potikul, a longtime manager at Penny’s Noodle Shop in Lakeview. Chef Carlos Gonzalez (La Luna) is offering a menu of tacos, quesabirria y consomme, shrimp and mussels in tequila sauce, and more. Ocaso Kitchen & Bar, 2901 W. Diversey Avenue, Open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Motor Row: Williams Inn Pizzeria and Sports Bar from the proprietor of Chicago’s oldest gay bar, Jeffery Pub, is open near McCormick Place, according to a Facebook post. Menu options include a tight selection of deep dish pies, plus Italian beef sandwiches, entrees, and a wide selection of beers and liquors. Owner Jamal Junior, who aims to cater to Black and LGBTQ communities, announced plans for the bar in March 2020 just weeks before the pandemic shut down indoor dining. Williams Inn Pizzeria and Sports Bar, 2210 S. Michigan Avenue, Hours not yet available.
Rogers Park: Eagerly awaited neighborhood spot Mission Control Arcade Bar will launch next week next to the CTA’s Morse “El” station with more than 50 vintage video games, pinball machines, and pierogis from pandemic-era pop-up the Bare-Naked Pole. There are also plans to add nostalgic Saturday morning specials like French toast sticks. Co-owners Katie McDonald and Aaron Allen previously operated Uptown Arcade, which permanently closed during the pandemic. Owners had initially hoped to debut Friday but pushed the opening due to a bureaucratic snafu. Take a look around inside the pinball wizard’s paradise. Mission Control Arcade Bar, 1408 W. Morse Avenue, Hours not yet available.
Bucktown: SALT burgers + fries, a virtual restaurant from Hassan Jaffrani (IDOF), opens today inside the IDOF on North Avenue. The menu, as the name suggests, features smashburgers, both beef and Impossible, and fries, but also onion rings and fresh lemonade. SALT burgers + fries, 1920 W. North Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Loop: Milk Room, an eight-seat cocktail bar in a former speakeasy space in the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel that serves rare, vintage, and hard-to-find liquor and spirits, reopens tonight with a new menu under lead bartender Sam Perrier. Visits require planning: tipplers must reserve one, one-and-a-half, and two-hour blocks up to 30 days in advance. A food menu will be available later this fall. Milk Room, 12 S. Michigan Avenue, Open 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, reservations only via Resy.
Pilsen: Mi Mandado Carniceria, a small butcher shop and grocery owned and run by neighborhood resident Esmeralda Zaragoza, opened last month, Block Club Chicago reports, selling meat and fresh produce. Zaragoza also serves homemade salsa and pastry, made-to-order smoothies and milkshakes, and hamburgers, sandwiches, and more. Mi Mandado Carniceria, 2021 W. Cermak Road, Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
River North: The dining room and bar at Fame Supper Club, a Prohibition-inspired restaurant and nightclub, opened this week; the second-floor club and event space will be coming later this fall. Chef Mark Sparacino will be bringing over fresh pasta from Prosecco (where he’s still chef/owner), but the menu will also feature stuffed medjool dates under smoked glass and pina colada baked Alaska flambeed tableside. There will be live music, and unlike 100 years ago, booze will be consumed openly and legally. Fame Supper Club, 157 W. Ontario Street, Open 6 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.
River North: Susan Sarandon’s table tennis social club SPIN reopened this week with a new HVAC system, an aggressive cleaning regimen, mandatory vaccination for staffers, and a promise to adhere to CDC guidance and local safety regulations. Professional ping pong players drop by on Friday nights, and the menu includes burgers, pizza, and appetizers, as well as beer, wine, and specialty cocktails. SPIN, 344 N. Kedzie Street, Open 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday; 2 p.m. to midnight Friday; and noon to midnight Saturday.
River North: Storyville, a restaurant with a basement speakeasy lounge and a romanticized tribute to the heyday of the New Orleans red light district where many jazz musicians got their start playing in whorehouses, has opened. The decor features New Orleans-style ironwork, the entertainment features live jazz, and the menu features Louisiana favorites like gumbo and jambalaya. Storyville, 712 N. Clark Street, Open 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Friday; 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday; and 4 p.m. to midnight Sunday.
River North: A venerable River North space has new life. And a third ode to nightlife past: Underground Cocktail Club, Billy Dec’s recreation of a Roaring ‘20s speakeasy, complete with hidden alleyway entrance, reopened last weekend. The menu features cocktails with period-appropriate names (The Shimmy, Stutz Bearcat), and the entertainment ranges from drag shows to DJs spinning tunes from various decades with jazz interludes. Dec and company opened Underground in 2006, and it was a nightlife pioneer. Underground Cocktail Club, 56 W. Illinois Street, Open 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
South Loop: Tony Hu’s Lao Sze Chuan has added another outpost to its empire, this time in the South Loop. The menu includes Lao Sze Chuan favorites like dried chili chicken as well as hot pot, dim sum, a lengthy list of specials, and a “secret menu.” Lao Sze Chuan Grant Park, 616 S. Wabash Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
West Loop: Metro Spice Market, the only South Asian grocer downtown, is reopening today at its new location, approximately one block north of its former home on South Jefferson Street. The store will continue to deliver vegetables, spices, frozen food, and other groceries to select city neighborhoods. Metro Spice Market, 125 S. Jefferson Street, Open noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
West Town: Italian restaurant Elina’s opens in limited capacity in the former Gringo space on Grand Avenue today. It’s a collaboration between Ian Rusnak and Eric Safin, two veteran chefs who have worked at a long list of restaurants in Chicago and New York, including Blackbird, Bavette’s, and Pump Room; this is the first restaurant of their own. The menu covers many of the classics: linguine and clams, chicken and veal parmesan, shrimp scampi, meatballs, and lasagna. Expect full hours starting Tuesday. Elina’s, 1202 W. Grand Avenue, Open 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Glenview: Eggsum Holy Cow, a TikTok-famous specialist in sweet-savory deep-fried Korean hot dogs with fanciful toppings like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Fruity Pebbles, has been drawing crowds to north suburban Glenview since it opened last month. (A disclaimer on its website explains that it has nothing to do with Harry Caray.) The Tribune reports that waits are as long as an hour. Eggsum Holy Cow, 1947 Milwaukee Avenue, Glenview, Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Bucktown: Mammoth Poke opened this week, the culmination of a 10-year plan from chef Oat Wongaroon, who named it after a restaurant his family opened 20 years ago in Thailand. Mammoth serves poke bowls and sushi burritos with a choice of protein — including chicken for those who dislike fish — plus gyoza, takoyaki, edamame, and other small bites. Mammoth Poke, 2035 N. Western Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Gold Coast: Scoops Shop & Dessert Bar is now open. Billed as Chicago’s first vegan and gluten-free dessert bar, Scoops will serve sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, and milkshakes made with coconut milk ice cream from Texas-based NadaMoo. There will also be gluten-free cakes and doughnuts. Scoops Shop & Dessert Bar, 838 N. State Street, Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Loop: A second location of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ Sushi-San is now open at Catalog in the Willis Tower, serving an assortment of grab-and-go maki, nigiri, and sides. There will be a larger opening celebration on October 28 on the 99th floor, featuring a 14-course omakase menu from chef Kaze Chan; tickets are available on Tock. Sushi-San, 233 S. Wacker Drive, Open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
North Center: Half Acre Beer Company is reopening its Lincoln Avenue Tap Room today for one month only before it finalizes its sale of the space to Hop Butcher For The World. There will be a special draft menu that includes both new brews and old favorites, such as Daisy Cutter. Proof of vaccination will be required for entry. Half Acre has spent 13 years in the space. Half Acre Lincoln Tap Room, 4257 N. Lincoln Avenue, Open 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
River North: Union Sushi + Barbecue Bar has reopened with a new chef — Mike Ham (known as Sushi Mike for his work at Tanoshii in Andersonville and West Loop; he’s no longer affiliated with the West Loop location) — and a new menu. He replaces chef Chao (Worachai Thapthimkuna), who opened the restaurant in 2011. Union Sushi + Barbecue Bar, 230 W. Erie Street, Open 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
Belmont Gardens: Neighborhood coffee shop Moonwalker Cafe is open and serving Dark Matter coffee, toasts, croissant sandwiches, and more, according to an Instagram post. The cafe also houses its own pint-sized smoker, putting out treats like smoked turkey breast and Texas-style brisket. Moonwalker Cafe, 4101 W. Belmont Avenue, Open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Monday.
Hyde Park: Southern-style seafood boil restaurant What’s Krackin’, a lifelong dream for owner Maurinise Lee, is open with a menu of po’ boys, garlic noodles, king crab, shrimp, and much more, according to the Hyde Park Herald. What’s Krackin’ Southern Seafood, 1310 E. 53rd Street, Open noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Lakeview: Vietnamese restaurant MK Noodle Pho opened in early August with an expansive menu ranging from egg rolls and “doughnut shrimp” (made with taro and coconut powder) to banh mi, pho, and fried rice, according to the Tribune. Dalgona milk tea, Vietnamese iced coffee, and other beverages are also available. MK Noodle Pho, 3341 N. Lincoln Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Lincoln Park: Tlahco Mexican Express & Grill is open near DePaul University with adorable tacos wrapped in pastel pink, blue, and green-hued tortillas, as well as burritos, tortas, and aguas frescas, according to the Trib. Ownership is already gearing up for expansion, writing online, “Tlahco Lincoln Park is the first restaurant of many others. Stay tuned!!!” Tlahco Mexican Express & Grill, 2459 N. Halsted Street, Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
River North: Sunny Bowls, a casual new soup spot from James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Gale Gand (Tru), is slated to open Monday inside the 91-year-old Merchandise Mart, according to a rep. Soup selections will include sweet potato lemongrass, Thai chicken, and vegan corn chowder, with sides of bread and spreads (think spicy carrot hummus or smoky goat cheese). Sunny Bowls, 222 W. Merchandise Mart, Suite 201, Slated to open Monday, August 30.
The Loop: American restaurant One North Kitchen & Bar is back open across from the Lyric Opera House, according to a rep. Reopening menu items include grilled and blackened salmon, seared scallops, and more. One North Kitchen & Bar, 1 N. Wacker Drive, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; Occasional Saturdays for Chicago Lyric Opera and Joffrey Ballet performances.
Washington Park: After 10 months as a pop-up, Monday Coffee Company this week opened inside the Currency Exchange Cafe. Owners Felton Hizer and Amanda Harth envision the coffeeshop as a hub for Black- and queer-owned businesses to come together and support one another, Kizer told the Sun-Times. The business is part of a residency through the Rebuild Foundation’s Retreat at Currency Exchange program, founded by artist and University of Chicago professor Theaster Gates to support Black artists and culinary entrepreneurs. Monday Coffee Company, 305 E. Garfield Boulevard, Open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
Andersonville: Neighborhood LGBTQ bar SoFo Tap reopens this weekend, according to a Facebook post, with beer specials, free hot dogs, karaoke, and doggy day on the patio on Saturday afternoon. Proof of vaccination is required. The SoFo Tap, 4923 N. Clark Street, Open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday, and 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Edgewater: South Korean chicken chain BB.Q Chicken opened its second Chicago location in Edgewater earlier this summer, according to Block Club. BB.Q serves more than a dozen different flavors of Korean-style fried chicken. This is part of a nationwide expansion; a third Chicago location will open in Lincoln Park next month, with five more in Illinois to follow. BB.Q Chicken Edgewater Beach, 1103 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Lincoln Park: Esmé, the long-awaited and hotly anticipated restaurant from Next alum Jenner Tomaska and his wife Katrina Bravo, opened this week with a 16-course tasting menu. The couple aim to set the restaurant apart by allying with local artists like photographer Paul Octavious to create special collaborative meals set to begin in the fall. Opening dishes include a flower-shaped pierogi (raclette, burnt onion consomme, truffle) and grilled spot prawn (peach bisque, tapioca cooked in anise,; Tarbais bean masa steamed in leeks). Esmé, 2200 N. Clark Street, reservations via Resy, Open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Lincoln Park: Fancy Plants Kitchen, the 144-seat offshoot of Kevin Schuder’s vegan hotspot Fancy Plants Cafe, is open for dinner with a menu featuring techniques like grilling, wok cooking, and fermentation. The new restaurant gives the ambitious Schuder a larger space to experiment. It also houses a full bar with cocktails, and will later add coffee and lunch service. Fancy Plants Kitchen, 1443 W. Fullerton Avenue, Open 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Norwood Park: Illuminated Brew Works has opened a tap room called IBW Lodge #1 after six years of brewing beer in West Town, reports Block Club Chicago. “With the taproom, we can put new and weird beers in front of people’s faces and see what they think about them,” cofounder and brewmaster Brian Buckman told Block Club. IBW Lodge #1, 6186 N. Northwest Highway, Open 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Oakbrook: Blanco Cocina + Cantina, a Sonoran-style Mexican restaurant, opened its first Chicago-area location on Tuesday in Oakbrook Center. The menu includes cheese crisps, tacos, and four different types of chimichangas; the bar offers a variety of flavored margaritas and a selection of tequilas and mezcals. Blanco Cocina + Cantina, 2022 Spring Road, Oak Brook, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Park Ridge: After 37 years in Edison Park, Don Juan’s Cantina has moved to Park Ridge, according to the Tribune. Co-owner Maria Concannon cited rising costs and pandemic and maintenance issues for the move. The new space is smaller, with a patio, but the staff and menu of Mexican favorites have made the move intact. Don Juan’s Cantina, 650 N. Northwest Highway, Park Ridge, Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Tri Taylor: New casual neighborhood spot Brunch ‘n Burgers opened this month from chef Erica McGhee, a veteran chef and caterer, according to an Instagram post. Offerings include a signature burger called the Vibe (two steak patties, American cheese, jalapenos, smashed avocado, mayo), plus four breakfast sandwiches, loaded fries, and more. Then space previously housed Jarabe Mexican Street Food, which relocated last year to Dr. Murphy’s Food Hall. Brunch ‘n Burgers, 2255 W. Taylor Street, Open 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Tuesday.
Lincoln Square: Popular birria-focused food truck Taco Boom this week opened its first permanent location in a space that previously housed Korean restaurant Seoul Gan Lan, according to an Instagram post. Specialties include a “birria pizzadilla,” levantón especial (ramen and birria with cheese), and more. Taco Boom, 5116 N. Lincoln Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Norwood Park: 30-year-old Polish-American restaurant Red Apple Buffet will reopen Saturday for the first time since pandemic mitigations began in Chicago, much to the relief of anxious fans, according to Block Club Chicago. Co-owner Anna Hebal tells reporters that she is excited to welcome patrons back inside for traditional dishes like stuffed cabbage, pierogi, and herb baked chicken. Red Apple Buffet, 6474 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Slated to reopen Saturday.
River North: Pilsen juice bar Belli’s Cafe has opened the first of two new locations slated to open inside local fitness chain Studio Three, according to a Facebook post. Owner Alexandra Curatolo is offering options like juice, smoothies, bowls, and more. A third Belli’s outpost is also coming to Studio Three in Lincoln Park. Belli’s Cafe River North, 648 N. Clark Street, Open 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday; 9 am. to 1 p.m. Sunday.
The Loop: Downtown restaurant 90th Meridian is slated to reopen Monday on the on the ground floor of the Central Standard Building near the Board of Trade, according to a rep. Ownership group Fifty/50 has brought on chef Stephen Finney (MONEYGUN) and will relaunch with a new menu including hold overs like a bahn mi dip (steak, cilantro, jalapenos, Viet-pickles, bone broth dip) and Mykonos salad (olives, capers, cherry peppers, sweet peppers, feta). Read the full menu below. 90th Meridian Kitchen and Bar, 231 S. LaSalle Street #108, Slated to reopen Monday.
West Loop: Kumiko, the decorated cocktail bar named by Time as one of its “World’s 100 Greatest Places,” has reopened for indoor service for the first time since March 2020. Cocktail expert and creative engine Julia Momose has reopened with a new food menu of “little luxuries” that draw on the tradition of Japanese “dainingu bā,” or dining bars, where there’s a strong connection between food and drink. Kikko, Kumiko’s basement dining room, remains closed for the time being. Kumiko, 630 W. Lake Street, Open 6 p.m. to midnight Wednesday through Sunday.
Wicker Park: Japanese-style ice cream shop Kurimu has opened its second Chicago outpost in the space that formerly housed Graze and Scone City, according to Lily Ng, wife of owner Ming Ng. Known for colorful cones, soft serve flavors like mandarin orange and strawberry Hi-Chew, and edible gold and silver leaf, the brand opened its first shop in 2019 in Little Italy. Kurimu Wicker Park, 1632 W. Division Street, Open 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday; noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Evanston: Downtown Evanston will welcome Ridgeville Tavern this weekend inside the former Bar Louie. They’ve renovated the space, including adding a glass garage door, new booths, lighting, and other decor changes. Ridgeville Tavern, 1520 Sherman Avenue, Evanston, open 4 p.m. to midnight on Tuesday to Thursday; 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday; 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
East Pilsen: Hong Kong-style diner Victor’s Cafe opened late last month inside 88 Marketplace, the top-notch Chinese food emporium just west of Chinatown, according to the Tribune. Dining critic Louisa Chu highlights rice noodle rolls and the Big Men pineapple bun with ham, egg, cheese, and tomato. Victor’s Cafe, 2105 S. Jefferson Street, Floor 2 inside 88 Marketplace, Hours not yet available.
Hyde Park: Trendy salad chain Sweetgreen on Tuesday opened its first restaurant on Chicago’s South Side around the corner from the Silver Room, according to a rep. At more than 3,000 square-feet, the storefront restaurant can seat 38 inside and 20 more outdoors. The new outpost is the brand’s eight location in Chicago Sweetgreen Hyde Park, 1500 E. 53rd Street, Open 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Lakeview: Suburban Lake Forest-based Pedestrian Coffee from Ipsento founder Tim Taylor is opening a new cafe on Friday with free samples of coffee, sourdough cinnamon rolls, browned butter cookies, and more, according to an Instagram post. The shop is conveniently located near the CTA’s Belmont red line stop. Pedestrian Coffee, 939 W. Belmont Avenue, Open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Logan Square: Former Longman & Eagle staffers Neil Kopp and Nathan Case-McDonald on Friday are opening Way Out, their funky bar with pizza potstickers and chicken parm supremes, for indoor service, Kopp tells Eater Chicago. It originally debuted in March as a takeout-only spot, but now fans can post up at the bar inside the former home of sushi restaurant Sink|Swim. Stay tuned for more on this opening. Way Out, 3213 W. Armitage Avenue, Hours not yet available.
Andersonville: Chicago Magic Lounge is slated to reopen Monday for the first time in 16 months, according to a Facebook post. Staff and performers will celebrate the relaunch with a week of shows, plus cocktails and small plates. The full schedule and tickets are available online. Chicago Magic Lounge, 5050 N. Clark Street, Scheduled to reopen Monday, August 2.
Lakeview: Bonus Round Gaming Cafe has reopened for indoor service with board games, cocktails, coffee, and sandwiches, according to Block Club Chicago. Game-focused spots like Bonus Round dealt with special challenges during indoor service bans, as they were forced to refocus on takeout food and retail game sales to stay solvent. Now that patrons can hang out inside, reservations via Tock are strongly encouraged. Bonus Round Gaming Cafe, 3230 N. Clark Street, Open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday; 4 p.m. to midnight Friday; noon to midnight Saturday; noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Lincoln Park: New Spanish cafe and restaurant Bocadillo Market is scheduled to open Wednesday with retail options like handmade dishware, a daytime menu of coffee and a mix of classic and seasonal bocadillos (Spanish sandwiches), according to an Instagram post. In the evening, patrons can expect traditional family-style paella dinners. Bocadillo Market, 2342 N. Clark Street, Scheduled to open Wednesday, August 4.
Wicker Park: Chef Rodolfo Cuadros (Amaru) on Friday is unleashing his daring new vegan and vegetarian restaurant, Bloom Plant-Based Kitchen. Initially launched as a virtual spot while indoor dining was banned in Chicago, Bloom has become popular enough to merit a stand-alone space. The menu draws on a mix of Latin, Indian, and other international flavors for dishes like cashew di pepe and a stone fruit ceviche. Bloom Plant Based Kitchen, 1559 N. Milwaukee Avenue, open 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday; 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Edgewater: Coffee shop and youth programming hub Helix Cafe fully reopened this month with Halfwit coffee and espresso, gluten-free baked goods from DeFloured, and sweet bites from Downstate Donuts, according to co-owner Sean Connolly. Founded to help address chronic youth unemployment in Chicago, Helix officially became a 501C-3 Non Profit during the pandemic and has expanded its learning opportunities for students. Helix Cafe, 6237 N. Clark Street, Open 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Fulton Market: Texas-based chain Velvet Taco will officially debut its third Chicago outpost on Monday, July 26, according to a news release, but staff will likely start serving over the weekend on Randolph Restaurant Row. The three-story building includes two floors for dining that seat more than 90, as well as Chicago-inspired murals of an “L” train, Lake Michigan, and the city skyline. The taco chain opened its first Chicago location six years ago in Gold Coast and in 2019 launched in Lincoln Park. Velvet Taco Fulton Market, 910 W. Randolph Street, 11 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily.
Lakeview: Family friendly breakfast, brunch, and lunch spot Bakin’ & Eggs has reopened after 16 months in hibernation, according to co-owner Bob Hartwig. The playful neighborhood restaurant has a menu stacked with morning favorites like frittatas, bacon flights, and breakfast burritos, plus tons of bubbles and cocktails. Bakin’ & Eggs, 3120 N. Lincoln Avenue, Open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Monday.
Logan Square: Modern Indian-ish hit Superkhana International reopened this week for indoor dining after operating as a takeout-only spot since March 2020, ownership announced in a newsletter. They’ve also introduced brunch for the first time with items like French toast with gajar halwa and almond dukkah and bun omelets with masala and cheese. Superkhana International, 3059 W Diversey Avenue, Open for brunch 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Sunday; Open for dinner 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
Evanston: Longtime Persian and Mediterranean favorite Reza’s this week opened suburban location in the former home of steakhouse stalwart Pete Miller’s, according to an Instagram post. A pillar of Andersonville’s restaurant community for 38 years, Reza’s in 2004 opened a second outpost in suburban Oak Brook. The Evanston restaurant was originally slated to open in 2020 but plans were stalled by the pandemic. Reza’s Restaurant, 1557 Sherman Avenue in Evanston, Hours not yet available.
Lakeview: French-Canadian restaurant Dear Margaret is open for indoor dining around five months after it initially debuted in January with takeout during an indoor dining ban. From chef Ryan Brosseau (Perennial Virant, Table, Donkey and Stick) and owner (and longtime Chicago restaurant publicist) Lacey Irby, the restaurant features the flavors of Brosseau’s childhood in Chatham-Kent, Ontario. Now freed from the restrictions of the pandemic, the chef is putting out hits like dry-aged duck breast (French lentils, grilled baby onions, dandelion greens) and pan-roasted walleye (sweet and sour kale, roasted new potatoes, hazelnut relish). Dear Margaret, 2965 N. Lincoln Avenue, Open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Pilsen: Hawaiian favorite Aloha Wagon this week opened inside a new permanent location just over a mile south of its original space where it debuted in 2017, according to an Instagram post. Cuisine from the islands can be hard to find in Chicago, but locals in the know beat a path to the restaurant for favorites like loco moco and Spam musubi. Aloha Wagon, 2023 S. Western Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
River North: Torchio Pasta Bar, the Italian restaurant from former engineer and first-time restaurant owner Bill Varley, is back open for the first time since April 2020, according to an Instagram post. Patrons can expect a menu featuring the plenty of pastas, including the eponymous Torchio pasta (sausage, cremini mushrooms, brandy-thyme cream sauce) and polpo nero (squid ink bucatini, mussels, octopus, calamari, Nduja tomato sauce). Torchio Pasta Bar, 738 N. Wells Street, Open 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
South Loop: New Japanese-Taiwanese cafe Sweet Bean is open inside a former outpost of popular breakfast and brunch mini-chain Bongo Room, according to an Instagram post. Patrons find baked goods like lotus puffs with sweet bean paste and pineapple buns, along with coffee, tea, espresso, and smoothies. Sweet Bean, 1152 S. Wabash Avenue, Open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Uptown: Hot dog and gelato shop Uptown Underdog, a new business from the owner of shuttered spot Uptown Donuts, is open near the CTA’S Wilson Red Line stop, according to Block Club Chicago. Though it’s close to public transit, owner Viet Cao says he wants to create an inviting atmosphere were customers can comfortably linger. Additional menu items include hamburgers, pizza puffs, smoothies, and more. Uptown Underdawg, 1122 W. Wilson Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Logan Square: Lula Cafe, chef Jason Hammel’s neighborhood pillar for more than two decades on Kedzie Boulevard, reopened for indoor dining on Friday for the first time since March 2020, according to an Instagram post. Staff kept the Eater 38 member viable during the pandemic with brunch items available for preorder and multi-course dinners for pickup and delivery. The reopening brings a sigh of relief for many in the area who feared economic strain would be too significant for Lula to endure. Hammel is keenly aware of the important role his restaurant plays the neighborhood and city at large. “All I can say without choking up is thank you for getting us here safely,” he writes on social media. “And that I’ll try to do my best.” Lula Cafe, 2537 N. Kedzie Boulevard, Open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday
Pilsen: Asian and American steakhouse Holu opened this spring inside the Jefferson Square complex that also houses 88 Marketplace, the city’s largest Chinese market, according to an Instagram post. Menu items include dry-aged steaks that patrons cook themselves on tabletop grills, as well as duck, seafood, and more. Holu, 2101 S. Jefferson Street, Open 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday; 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Portage Park: Cuban restaurant Tropicuba Cafe late last month opened a second location across from the neighborhood’s eponymous park, according to Block Club Chicago. It will feature the same menu as the Logan Square original, which includes grilled meat and fish, empanadas, Cuban coffee, and more. Tropicuba Cafe, 5606 W. Irving Park Road, Open 9 a,m. to 9 p.m. daily.
River North: Bi-level arcade bar Headquarters Beercade made its post-vaccine debut on Monday, according to a Facebook post. Co-owners Chireal Jordan and Brian Galati also operate a Nashville location and own Machine in Wicker Park, and have for years fought to open a Headquarters-branded restaurant in Pilsen. Patrons can expect a plethora of vintage arcade games and pinball machines, plus colorful cocktails and craft beer. Headquarters Beercade, 950 W. Wolfram Street, Open 4 p.m. to 2 a.m Monday through Friday; 4 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday.
Darien: Iconic South Side ice cream parlor Rainbow Cone and popular Italian beef chain Buona Beef on Wednesday opened their first joint location in southwest suburban Darien, according to a rep. The site is on a renovated Buona location that seats 100 inside and 60 outside on a covered patio with a fire pit. Other new features include curbside pickup, an indoor ordering kiosk, and two drive-thru lanes. The partners opened a Rainbow Cone-only outpost in May in suburban Lombard, and aim to open more joint locations over time. The Original Rainbow Cone and Buona: the Original Italian Beef, 7417 S. Cass Avenue in Darien, Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Avondale: James Beard Award-winning chefs Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark on Wednesday reopened Wherewithall, their prix-fixe new American restaurant, for the first time since last spring, according to a Facebook post. The couple, who also own Michelin-starred Parachute, spent much of the pandemic helping to feed hungry Chicagoans and founding a nonprofit to support moms in the hospitality industry. Wherewithall, 3472 N. Elston Avenue, Open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Logan Square: Top-notch neighborhood spot Logan Arcade will fully reopen its bar on Sunday, July 4, for the first time since the pandemic began, according to a Facebook post. It’s among the city’s best under-the-radar venues due to its enormous collection of pinball and video games, plus a rotating beer list. Logan Arcade, 2410 W. Fullerton Avenue, Scheduled to open Sunday.
Pilsen: Hidden cocktail bar the Alderman opens Saturday, June 3 inside Pilsen Yards, the ambitious year-round patio spot that’s replaced Monnie Burke’s. The debut drink menu is divided into two sections: a tea-focused selection with options like the Conundrum (brown butter Woodford Reserve, chai vermouth, Barolo Chinato, Amaro Vecchio del Capo, bitters blend #1); and a rundown of “classic-ish” cocktails including a highball (American single malt, dry cinnamon and grapefruit soda). The Alderman, 1163 W. 18th Street, Slated to open Saturday.
The Loop: New rooftop bar Chateau Carbide is open atop the nearly century-old Carbide & Carbon Building, now home to newish hotel the Pendry. The 24th floor space has never before been open to the public, but now patrons can take in the stunning views while sipping rosé (available via glass, bottle, magnum, or a three-litter jeroboam). Château Carbide, open 2 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday; noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Wicker Park: Local corner store and liquor delivery chain Foxtrot Market on Wednesday opened its ninth Chicago outpost at Wicker Park’s six-corner intersection, taking over a space that previously housed Cafe Cancale, Publican Anker, and Francesca’s Forno. This location emphasizes dine-in service with two bars, seating for 40, and an in-house sommelier touting more than 200 bottles of wine. Foxtrot Milwaukee & Damen, 1576 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Bucktown: For the first time since a 2017 fire forced them to shut down, Art of Chicken is back open in Bucktown. The fast-casual spot has brought in a new ally. Casa Humilde, one of the scant few breweries owned by Latinx, is providing the libations. Block Club has more details. Art of Chicken, 2041 N. Western Avenue, open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Jefferson Park: Local craft microbrewery Printers Row Brewing has opened its taproom more than a year after the project was announced, according to an Instagram post. The brewery is known for beers like the Book Binder Blonde Ale, Party Parrot Witbier, and BA Cannonball Porter aged in Buffalo Trace barrels. Printers Row Brewing, 4801 N. Austin Avenue, Open 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Lakeview: Mfk. is back, serving Spanish-style seafood for the first time since last year inside its dining room. It’s been a 16-month break; the restaurant opened for takeout but closed for renovations. Management has promote sous chef Matt Ginsburg as head chef and he’s debuted a new menu. Mfk., 432 W. Diversey Parkway, open 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday to Sunday. Reservations via Resy or online.
Lincoln Park: Delilah’s the punk rock whisky and beer dive, has reopened for the first time since the pandemic. Grab a shot of Beam and a cheep canned beer and enjoy the good times. Delilah’s, 2771 N. Lincoln Avenue.
The Loop: DMK Restaurant’s funky Japanese listening bar, the Exchange, is finally open. The project was announced in 2019 and stalled due to the pandemic. Look for more coverage in the coming days. The Exchange, 224 S. Michigan Avenue, open at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Edgewater: Avondale-based roastery Metropolis Coffee Company on Tuesday reopened its cafe in Edgewater, according to Block Club Chicago. The company saw 75 percent its revenue vanish when the pandemic began as wholesale business came to a screeching halt. Still, Metropolis COO Dan Miracle believed the business would survive, even if it took a different form upon reopening, he told Eater at the time. It turns out Miracle was right: the cafe is back with draft oat milk lattes, Japanese-style cold brew from Kyoto Black, and baked goods from pHlour. Metropolis Coffee Company, 1039 W. Granville Avenue, Open 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Fulton Market: Two-story food hall Time Out Market Chicago reopens Thursday for the first time since officials suspended indoor dining in October 2020 due to COVID-19. The mammoth establishment reopens with 11 vendors, including six new stalls: barbecue hotspot Soul & Smoke, Shawn Michelle’s Ice Cream, Candelite pizzeria, Cleo’s Southern Cuisine, Italian restaurant Pisolino, and Bill Kim’s Ramen Shop. There are also two previously unannounced restaurants: Colombian-Polish mashup Polombia and Lakeview’s Bittersweet Pastry Shop. There’s also the debut of Bad Bach, a fancy chocolate shop for Jared Bacheller, a former pastry chef at Michelin-starred Acadia, Sixteen, and Entente. Time Out Market Chicago, 916 W. Fulton Market, Open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Gold Coast: Fancy bi-level Italian restaurant Adalina, helmed by executive chef Soo Ahn (Band of Bohemia), is slated to debut Friday in the former home of Walton Street Kitchen & Bar. Ahn is joined by Jean Banchet-winning pastry chef Nicole Guini (Blackbird) and sommelier Alexandra Thomas (RPM Seafood, Spiaggia), who will stock a 3,000-bottle floor-to-ceiling wine cellar. More than half the menu is vegetarian, though offerings also include options like Chilean bass Vesuvio and charred octopus. Adalina, 912 N. State Street, Scheduled to reopen Friday.
Lakeview: Popular theater and watering hole the Annoyance reopens Thursday for bar service only, according to a Facebook post. Shows are still on hold for the time being. Customers should bring proof of vaccination and “get ready to fucking party!” The Annoyance, 851 W. Belmont Avenue, Open 7 p.m. to midnight Thursday; 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Lincoln Park: Off Color Brewing has reopened for indoor service at Mousetrap, its popular taproom, according to an Instagram post. Patrons should naturally expect plenty of beers but cocktails aren’t available yet. Those should return soon, operators write in the post’s comments. Mousetrap, 1460 N. Kingsbury Street, Hours not yet available.
The Loop: Kitchen United Mix’s take over of the former Wells Street Market food hall continues as The Bar opens with cocktails from Billy Sunday, Pub Royale, and Blue Blazer. The Bar, 205 W. Wacker Drive, open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Pilsen: Essential Chicago restaurant HaiSous, the ambitious Vietnamese restaurant from spouses Thai and Danielle Dang, reopens for indoor dining on Thursday, according to a Facebook post. The pair put out plenty of creative meal kits and takeout options during the pandemic, and created Dang Good Wings, an excellent chicken wing operation run out of neighboring street food cafe Cà Phê Đá. Now they’re introducing a dine-in tasting menu featuring the cuisine of southern Vietnamese port city Vung Tàu. HaiSous, 1800 S. Carpenter Street, Open 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
Wrigleyville: Popular industry dance club hang Smartbar will reopen Friday after a 16-month pandemic hiatus, ownership announced in an Instagram post. Patrons who plan to show up this weekend should be prepared to show proof of vaccination, but operators (also behind neighboring venue Metro and Gman Tavern) may change this policy in the future. “We cannot wait to dance with you!” the post reads. Smartbar, 3730 N. Clark Street, Scheduled to reopen Friday.
Oak Park/Michigan City: Chef Joe Farina (Armand’s Victory Tap) has opened a new suburban location of his upscale mini-chain Victory Italian and reopened Farina’s Supper Club on the south shore of Lake Michigan in Michigan City, Indiana, according to a rep. Both spots feature hearty Chicago-style Italian favorites along with robust wine lists. Victory Italian Oak Park, 100 S. Marion Street in Oak Park, Open 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; noon to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Farina’s Supper Club, 3311 Pottawattomie Trail, Michigan City, IN; Open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Andersonville: Local mini-chain Parson’s Chicken & Fish from hospitality group Land & Sea Dept. (Lonesome Rose, Lost Lake) this week opened in a new space on the corner of Clark Street and Edgewater Avenue, according to a rep. The space was previously home to short-lived restaurant Stone Fox, which closed in 2019 after 10 months. The new outpost is the brand’s fourth in Chicago, on top of an additional location in Nashville. Parson’s Chicken & Fish Andersonville, 5721 N. Clark Street, Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Fulton Market: New modern Mexican restaurant Chikatana opened this week in the former City Tap space in one of Chicago’s buzziest dining neighborhoods. Chef Guillermo Reyes (Mercat a la Planxa), who spent two years cooking under chef Diana Dávila at Mi Tocaya Antojeria in Logan Square, features dishes like king crab chile relleno (banana pepper, king crab salad, heirloom tomato sauce), pato en mole (duck two ways, mole negro, chili cabbage slaw), and more. The restaurant shares ownership with the Robey hotel in Wicker Park. Chikatana, 850 W. Fulton Market, Open 5 p.m. to midnight Tuesday and Thursday; 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 5 p.m. to midnight Sunday.
Pilsen: Essential Chicago dive bar Skylark is scheduled to reopen on Sunday for the first time since March 2020, according to a Facebook post. Fans are eager to get back to its draft beer list and menu of bar food like tater tots. Skylark, 2149 S. Halsted Street, Slated to reopen Sunday, June 13.
Streeterville: Suburban Chinese spot Shang Noodle in late May opened its first location in Chicago proper, according to an Instagram post. Patrons can expect a nice selection of noodles and wontons (made on-site), mini hot pots, dry sizzling pots, and more. The original restaurant opened in 2017 in Evanston. Shang Noodle Streeterville, 215 E. Grand Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
West Ridge: Popular Chicago-based Indian grocery chain Patel Brothers has opened its eagerly anticipated 7,000-square-foot store at 2610 W. Devon Avenue. Ownership has invested $2 million in a modern structure that also houses a bakery serving snacks like chaat, chappathi, and samosa. It replaces the very first Patel Brothers, which opened in 1974 inside a 800-square-foot space near the 2000 block of West Devon. Patel Brothers, 2610 W. Devon Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Bucktown: Northern Thai restaurant Sweet Rice Asian Kitchen is open for takeout, indoor, and outdoor dining, in its new space near the Western Avenue Blue Line Station, according to an Instagram post. Founded in 2016 by the owners of Sticky Rice in Lincoln Square, Sweet Rice has relocated several times before landing its own location in the former Langhe Market. It’s also BYOB. Sweet Rice Bucktown, 1904 N. Western Avenue, Open 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Chicago Riverwalk: Popular Nepalese snack shop Chiya Chai is slated on Monday to reopen its outpost along the Chicago Riverwalk, according to a rep. The original Logan Square cafe has developed a following with delectable chaat, savory pies and curry bowls, and arguably the best selection of South Asian chai in the city. Chiya Chai is also on the cusp of opening a new quick-serve location in the Loop. Chiya Chai, 66 E. Wacker Drive, Scheduled to open Monday, June 7.
Pulaski Park: Vaca’s Creamery, Chicago’s first all-vegan ice cream shop, debuted in late May with oat-based soft serve ice cream. Partners Mariana Marinho and Dylan Sutcliff, formerly of lauded vegan ice cream shop Sweet Ritual Austin, Texas, are featuring cups and cones of vanilla, chocolate, and swirl; sundaes like Inner Child (strawberry sauce, confetti cookie dough, rainbow sprinkles); and Handshakes (think Blizzards) with mix-ins including toasted mini marshmallows. Vaca’s Creamery, 1436 W. Blackhawk Street, Open 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
West Town: Beauty Bar, the iconic nightclub closed by the pandemic for nearly 15 months, has reopened at long last, according to Block Club Chicago. Patrons shouldn’t expect the sweaty, crowded dance floor that once characterized the spot: Managing partner Rene Romero tells reporters they should instead anticipate being seated at tables, where they must remain while drinking. Beauty Bar, 1444 W. Chicago Avenue, Open 7 p.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday through Friday; 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday.
Evanston: Found Kitchen, the elegant suburban spot with food from James Beard Award-winning chef Debbie Gold (Tied House), has reopened for dine-in service, according to a rep. Owner Amy Morton (daughter of Morton’s Steakhouse founder Arnie Morton) is also behind top-notch suburban steakhouse the Barn. Found Kitchen & Social House, 1631 Chicago Avenue in suburban Evanston, Open 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
For a list of the 2021 winter/spring openings, click here.