Chicago’s media dish on their favorite spots in 2022 as part of Eater’s ongoing tradition of polling the city’s experts for their year-end takes.
Amy Cavanaugh, Chicago magazine: Obelix. I love the fresh take on French fare and the whole vibe and always run into someone I know. Give me the steak tartare, Lyonnaise salad, and anything wrapped in pastry and I’m happy.
Brenda Storch, Eater Chicago contributor: Selva/Fora. The respectful and humble approach to Mexican cuisine drew me to land on these restaurants in the Emily Hotel as my favorite new eateries of the year. Why? I appreciate the attention the team pays to tortillas as a central part of each dish and the seriousness given to corn as an ingredient. Sourced from socially conscious vendors like Masienda, a collective that partners with farmers, the team is growing their own Oaxacan green and Zuni blue corn on the hotel’s rooftop. I was also delighted to find artisanal Mexican spirits like mezcal and charanda on their menus.
Jay Westbrook, local craft beer professional: Irene’s Finer Diner is the new kid on the block, but has already become the go-to diner in North Center. They’ve taken the idea of a greasy spoon and made it a golden spoon by elevating and reimagining diner classics with high-quality ingredients such as 63-degree Slagel Farm eggs on their amazing benedict menu and Bang Bang pies and biscuits. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better breakfast sando in the city than their honey-baked ham and white cheddar croissant.
Jeffy Mai, Time Out Chicago: Can I say Sueños X Soho House? Because I’m going with Sueños X Soho House. Although the concept won’t have a permanent home until next year, chef Stephen Sandoval introduced his remarkable brand of Baja Med cooking to a larger audience thanks to a pop-up residency in the West Loop.
Maggie Hendricks, Bally Sports: I am a big, big breakfast fan, so I am thrilled about Irene’s in North Center. The biscuits and gravy are honestly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. I am too embarrassed to say how often I think about that perfect house-made sausage gravy over Bang Bang biscuits. OK, it’s daily.
Matt Lindner, writer and marketing manager: I have been dying to try Hide+Seek in the West Loop. Such a cool-looking space and the french onion bread immediately grabbed my eye when the place opened. French onion soup is the ultimate winter comfort food and translating it to bread is a simple concept that I’m surprised more places haven’t tried.
Michael Nagrant, The Hunger: Second Generation — because it unequivocally rules and reminds me of the hunger and invention and execution the team showed at their first spot Ruxbin. But, also every time I’m tough on a spot because I’m a food critic people say it’s because I have some personal vendetta and I hate myself. This is the example against that which is to say even though I was never blown away by Mini Mott, that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna evaluate your next place with the same fresh set of objective eyes.
Samira Ahmed, best-selling author of Love, Hate & Other Filters, Internment, Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know, Hollow Fires, Amira & Hamza, and a Ms. Marvel comic series: All hail Chef Erick Williams. As a South Sider, I love Williams’ dedication to the Hyde Park community and to the joys of a fabulous meal in good company. His latest, Daisy’s Po’ Boy and Tavern inspired by his aunt and uncle’s passion for food and family and we all get to benefit. The fried chicken and biscuit are a joy but frankly, Daisy’s had me at fried oysters.
Sarah Spain, ESPN: I’m behind on a lot of the big-name newbies so I’m gonna cheat a little and go with a RE-opening: Parachute. The Haemul pajeon pancake with that to-die-for dipping sauce is worth a trip alone.