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José Andrés’s Porky Speakeasy and 7 More Restaurant and Bar Openings

A running list of brand-new spots plus restaurants reopening in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

A dark lounge with a bar in the background and high-top tables and stools in front, and the name in purple lights
Pigtail is a cocktail bar in the basement of Jaleo, José Andres’s tapas bar in River North.
Regan Baroni/Pigtail

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.

Know of a restaurant back open? Email with details so they can be included when this post is next updated.

October 15

Avondale: Sunday Dinner Club’s latest project, SDC Pizza and Cake, is now serving weekly meals to go, featuring... pizza and cake. The project, Sunday Dinner Club co-owner Christine Cikowski explained in the Instagram announcement, is the product of years of near-obsessive pizza- and cake-testing from chef-owner Josh Kulp and sous chef Alex Skrzypczyk. The menu varies week to week, but pickup is always at Honey Butter Fried Chicken. SBC Pizza and Cake, 3361 N. Elston Avenue, Open Friday and Saturday, order via Tock.

Bucktown: Izakaya Mita, the popular Japanese pub that closed for 19 months after the pandemic began, is back open with a revamped menu and interior, chef Brian Mita announced on Instagram. The seven-year-old restaurant is known for offering one of the city’s largest sake collections alongside traditional izakaya bites like takoyaki and Mita’s innovations, such as a Japanese Italian beef sandwich. Patrons must provide proof of vaccination to dine in. Izakaya Mita, 1960 N. Damen Avenue, Open 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday; noon to 11:30 p.m. Saturday; noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Lincoln Park: Paper Plane Pizza is now a permanent pop-up inside the former Dawali Mediterranean space on N. Halsted Street. In addition to pizza, Dustin Drankiewicz, Sam Nelson-Mann and Milos Stevanovic will serve salads and hoagies for pick-up or dine-in. The Paper Plane food truck will also continue to make the rounds. Paper Plane Pizza, 1625 N. Halsted Street, Open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Old Town: Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat, the growing restaurant mini-chain known for meatless cheesesteaks and vegan Chicago-style hot dogs, will open its third Chicago area location on Sunday, according to chef and owner Laricia Chandler. The Wells Street space previously housed Surf’s Up Old Town, a seafood spot that closed in June after less than a year. Originally founded three years ago in Hyde Park, Chandler’s meat-free comfort food spot in February expanded into suburban Orland Park in a shared outpost with Phlavz Bar and Grille. Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat, 1143 N. Wells Street, Opens at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 17.

River North: Pigtail, the basement bar in José Andrés’s tapas restaurant Jaleo, opened earlier this week. The speakeasy-style spot gets its name from the fact that it specializes in pork — almost every item on the food menu contains Iberico ham — and cocktails, created by bartender Miguel Lancha. Highlights include braised pig’s ears, croquettes, and foie gras torchons. Pigtail, Open 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

River West: Bubble Maki is now offering sushi and bubble tea for takeout or delivery. Patrons can order off the menu or choosing from a variety of fillings and sauces to create their own custom sushi rolls; bubble tea is also customizable with fruit and milk options. Bubble Maki, 850 W. Superior Street, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Ukrainian Village: Empty Bottle-adjacent hit Pizza Friendly Pizza this week opened its dining room for the first time since its debut in July 2020, according to an Instagram post. Until now, patrons could only snag its Sicilian-style pan pies via walk-up window or delivery. The pizzeria is located in the former Bite Cafe space, founded as a collaboration between decorated chef Noah Sandoval (Oriole) and Bruce Finkelman of 16” on Center (Thalia Hall, Revival Food Hall). Pizza Friendly Pizza, 1039 N. Western Avenue, Open 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Riverside: Nada, possibly the only Kuwaiti restaurant in the entire Chicago area, is open in the western suburbs, and food blogger and Eater Chicago contributor Titus Ruscitti paid a visit. The menu focuses on machboos, a rice and meat dish that’s popular throughout the Arabian peninsula — Nada offers a choice of lamb, chicken, fish, and shrimp — as well as soups and stews. Nada, 3216 S. Harlem Avenue, Riverside, Open noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday and Sunday.

October 8

Bronzeville: Cafe Trinidad, the Avalon Park Trinidadian restaurant that attracted a devoted following from around the city after its 2005 appearance on Check Please and then broke their hearts when it closed in 2016, has returned. It is now Cafe Trinidad ToGo and operates out of the South Loop Food Company ghost kitchen, but it still serves its signature roti, jerk chicken, and doubles for pickup or delivery. Cafe Trinidad ToGo, 2537 S. Wabash Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily.

Humboldt Park: “Jew-ish” deli Jeff & Jude’s has opened for indoor dining for the first time, owner Ursula Siker announced in a Facebook post. The restaurant opened in August 2020 with walk-up window service. Customers can now enjoy matzo ball soup, pastrami, bagels, and other deli classics inside, though they must be fully vaccinated or have proof of a negative COVID test. Jeff & Jude’s, 1024 N. Western Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Lakeview: Chicago Sugar Daddy Patisserie is now open in its own permanent location today after several months as a pop-up, Block Club reports. Sugar Daddy is co-owner James Cox’s nickname, bestowed upon him by friends of his life and business partner Ryann Ibasco for his habit of always bringing baked goods to gatherings. The bakery serves cookies, cupcakes, petit fours, trifles, macarons, custom cakes, and more. Chicago Sugar Daddy, 3243 N. Broadway, Open 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday; noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Loop: GORDAS Tortas, a Mexican sandwich shop that serves tortas, molletes, and pambazos with a variety of fillings and salsas, as well as smoothies and aguas frescas, opened September 23 in the Kitchen United MIX location in the Loop. Service is takeout and delivery only. GORDAS Tortas, 205 W. Wacker Drive, Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Loop: Sopraffina, the Loop breakfast and lunch spot, will reopen its Franklin and Adams location on Wednesday, October 13, for dine-in and carryout; its three other locations will reopen at an unspecified date. Sopraffina serves soups, salads, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and other food good for a quick meal out or at one’s desk. Sopraffina, 222 W. Adams Street, Open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Loop: Theo’s at the Exchange, the latest component of the new DMK complex in Daniel Burnham’s Railway Exchange Building, opened September 30, joining the Listening Room and the Bakery. The focus of Theo’s is on classic cocktails, but it shares a dinner menu with the Listening Room, and on weekdays there will be tavern-style pizza for happy hour. Theo’s at The Exchange, 224 S. Michigan Avenue, Open 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Pilsen: After the Maxwell Street Market shut down for most of 2020, many longtime vendors had to make alternate plans. Among them was the much-beloved Rubi’s Tacos, which completed its migration to a storefront in Pilsen last weekend. Rubi’s will still be takeout only, serving pozole on Thursdays (customers should preorder online) and tacos on Sundays (except for this weekend when they’ll be open on Saturday, due to the marathon). Rubi’s on 18th Street, 1316 W. 18th Street, Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Rogers Park: Mission Control Arcade Bar was finally cleared for liftoff last week after several delays due to bureaucratic red tape. Co-owner Aaron Allen previously operated the Uptown Arcade, which closed during the pandemic, and brought more than 50 vintage arcade games into the new space beside the Morse “El” stop, plus a dozen pinball machines. Bare-Naked Pole, a pop-up, will be serving pierogis. Check out photos of the pinball paradise here. Mission Control Arcade Bar, 1408 W. Morse Avenue, Open 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

South Loop: Evanston’s Shang Noodle continues its invasion of the city with a second location, this one in the Homewood Suites at 11th Street and Wabash Avenue, where it serves a mix of American, Chinese, and Japanese dishes, including all-day breakfast, dim sum, and sushi. Shang Noodle South Loop, 1101 S. Wabash Avenue, Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

West Town: Noble Thai opened late last month in the former Opart Thai House at Chicago Avenue and Noble Street (Opart itself has moved down the street to Chicago and Ashland). Owner Jay Lin completely gutted and renovated the space, secured a liquor license, and expanded the menu to include specialties like the rice dish khao man gai, though the chef, Roongnapha Prakobkit (known as P’Mam), remains the same. Noble Thai, 1371 W. Chicago Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Monday.

September 24

Albany Park: A Guatemalan restaurant has found a new home in Albany Park. Las Palmas, not to be confused with the former Wicker Park Mexican restaurant, is back in business, according to Block Club Chicago. Ownership has been planning a reopening for years. Las Palmas, 4959 N. Kedzie Avenue, open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays.

Logan Square: One of Chicago’s most influential cocktail bar is back open for the first time since March 2020. The Whistler, which is celebrating its 13th birthday, is set to reopen next week. They’ve hired a new bar lead, bring Alex Barbatsis to Logan Square from LA where he worked at RIvera L.A., Good Housekeeping, and L.A. Machine. Look for new drinks, and more live music. Vaccines are required. The Whistler, 2421 N. Milwaukee Avenue, opening on Wednesday, September 29; hours are 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The Loop: Urbanspace Washington is open near State and Lake, and the food hall includes 12 restaurants, a beer stall and a bar. Urbanspace is a New York company with food halls in the Big Apple, and the roster includes Stan’s Donuts, the Budlong, and more. Urbanspace, 15. W. Washington, hours not posted.

Rogers Park: Closed since late March 2020, Common Cup, a Rogers Park coffeeshop and cafe reopens this weekend, according to an Instagram post. The cafe is had been around for 14 years. Common Cup’s sibling is Overflow Coffee in South Loop. Common Cup, 1501 N. Morse Avenue, hours not posted.

South Loop: After 17 months, Buddy Guy’s Legends is back open. The legendary music venue that has a bar and restaurant, opened in August with a surprise appearance from Buddy Guy himself, according to the Columbia Chronicle. The owner told the newspaper that opening during the height of the pandemic would have spelled financial disaster. The paper also quoted an associate professor of instruction in the English and Creative Writing Department by the name of Jim DeRogatis. Buddy Guy’s opened in 1989. Buddy Guy’s Legends, 700 S. Wabash Avenue.

For a list of the 2021 summer openings, click here.

The Budlong

1008 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 270-9005

Buddy Guy's Legends

700 South Wabash Avenue, , IL 60605 (312) 427-1190 Visit Website

Urbanspace Washington

15 W Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602

The Whistler

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

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