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A Laotian Virtual Restaurant Finds a New Home and Four More Openings

A running list of brand-new restaurant openings plus a few comebacks

A table laid with many Lao dishes.
Laos to Your House moved into the Hatchery.
Laos to Your House

Thanksgiving is over, temperatures are dropping, and the reality of Chicago’s blustery winter is setting in. Chicago’s chefs and restaurateurs are well aware of this inevitability, marching forward with plans for new establishments with food that will lure patrons out of their cozy homes. The following are just some of the restaurants that have opened — or 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.

December 16

East Garfield Park: Virtual restaurant Laos to Your House, a rare Chicago spot for Lao cuisine, in early December opened a ghost kitchen facility inside hospitality startup incubator the Hatchery, according to an Instagram post. Co-owners Stacy Seuamsothabandith, brother and chef Keo Seuamsothabandith, and husband Byron Gully are offering traditional dishes including Thum Mak Hoong (spicy green papaya salad with padaek fish sauce and shrimp paste) and Kua Mee (sweet and savory caramelized rice noodles with pork, eggs, and herbs). Laos to Your House, 135 N. Kedzie Avenue, Open noon to 9 p.m. Thursday.

Edgewater: Local barbecue mini-chain Porkchop opened a fourth location in late November near the Loyola University campus and plans to add the brand’s first speakeasy to the space in 2023, according to Block Club Chicago. Porkchop has taken over the former home of Hamilton’s, a legendary Loyola campus bar that closed in 2012 after 80 years. Owner Jovanis Bouargoub tells reporters that the under-the-radar bar, Meet and Whiskey, will be hidden behind a secret door and feature a special cocktail menu. Porkchop already has locations in Albany Park, the West Loop, and Midway Airport. Porkchop Edgewater, 6341 N. Broadway Street, Open 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday through Sunday.

Pilsen: Indie juice bar and market standby Belli’s reopened Wednesday in its new home on Blue Island Avenue, just five minutes away from its prior 18th Street space, operators announced on Facebook. Founded in 2013, the nutrition-focused business has relocated several times but continues to court a significant fanbase with cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and salads. Belli’s, 1850 S. Blue Island Avenue, Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Ravenswood: Falcon’s Handcrafted Sandwiches, a new restaurant in the former home of Chez Simo Bistro, opened Thursday with a menu of hot sandwiches, pasta, chicken wings, and more, according to a news release. Patrons can also expect cold desserts like gelato and milkshakes, plus a weekend breakfast buffet. Falcon’s Handcrafted Sandwiches, 1968 W. Lawrence Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Uptown: New neighborhood restaurant and beer bar Uptown Taproom opens Friday in the former home of Godfather’s Famous Pizza on Wilson Avenue, ownership announced on its website. It’s from the team behind Lakeview Taproom and Lincoln Park Taproom, all known for a lineup of local brews. Patrons can expect World Cup viewing parties throughout the opening weekend. Uptown Taproom, 1265 W. Wilson Avenue, Scheduled to open Friday, December 16.

November 14

Humboldt Park: Indie Latina-owned coffee company Tasa Coffee Roasters opened its first cafe in September with a menu of coffee drinks, espresso, and Cuban-style breakfast and lunch items, according to an Instagram post. Owner Jackie Marquez, a neighborhood resident, founded Tasa in 2020 and offers her brand’s beans for retail and wholesale purchase. Tasa Coffee Roasters, 4136 W. North Avenue, Open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Lincoln Square: Italian and German restaurant Territory Kitchen opened in early November in the former home of 15-year-old neighborhood breakfast spot Famous Dutch Pancake Huis, according to Block Club Chicago. It’s from co-owners Chris Royce, who has a decade of bartending experience, and Vittorio Iasalvatore, previously behind shuttered Italian restaurant I Monelli Trattoria Pizzeria. The pair are tapping into their respective heritages — Royce is German American, Iasalvatore has roots in Chile and Italy — for menu items such as Panino Western, a bratwurst with sauerkraut, bacon, and mustard; and Panino Overseas, an Italian sausage with ricotta, mixed peppers, and pickled red onion. Territory Kitchen, 4757 N. Western Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Magnificent Mile: Pierrot Gourmet, the European cafe inside downtown Chicago’s stunning Peninsula Hotel, reopened in late October after a two-year pandemic hiatus. Designers have transformed the 46-seat dining room, replacing the French country setting with a more contemporary aesthetic of white walls, grey marble, white-washed wood tiles, and kelly green accents, according to a rep. 48 additional seats on an outdoor patio will reopen in summer 2023. Breakfast and lunch menus include pre-pandemic hits such as rotisserie chicken and tartines alongside new entrees and desserts. Pierrot Gourmet at the Peninsula, 108 E. Superior Street, Open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Lake Forest: Sophia Steak, the upscale suburban steakhouse from restaurateurs Ryan O’Donnell of Ballyhoo Hospitality (Old Pueblo Cantina, Gemini, Coda di Volpe) and Glenn Keefer, formerly of Keefer’s and Keefer’s Kaffe, in October expanded to a new location about 33 miles northwest of Chicago, according to a Facebook post. The pair opened the original Sophia Steak in 2020 in suburban Wilmette. Sophia Steak Lake Forest, 181 E. Laurel Avenue in Lake Forest, Open 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

October 20

Edgewater: Chengdu Impression, one of Chicago’s top Sichuan restaurants with locations in Lincoln Park and Wicker Park, opened a third outpost in October, according to a Facebook post. The original location opened in 2013 on Halsted Street and quickly garnered a significant fanbase drawn by a menu that ranges from American-Chinese hits (cashew chicken) to Chinatown favorites (stewed rabbit) to Sichuan staples (dry-chili chicken). Chengdu Impression Edgewater, 5900 N. Broadway Street, Open 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Lakeview: New dining and drinking spot Cafe Korzo opened in September in the former home of ice cream shop Snow Factory, ownership announced on Instagram. It features a lengthy menu that includes breakfast items, sweet and savory crepes, hot and cold sandwiches, and salads, alongside coffee and a full bar. Cafe Korzo, 2935 N. Broadway Street, Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Lakeview: Gluten-free brunch and lunch staple Wheat’s End Cafe reopened in October in a new location that’s just a five-minute walk from its previous home on Belmont Avenue, according to a Facebook post. Patrons can order pancakes, spicy chicken and waffles, and more exclusively for carryout or delivery. Ownership notes on social media that the new location is too small for dine-in service. Wheat’s End Cafe, 543 W. Diversey Parkway, Open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

North Lawndale: The SoulFood Lounge, a long-anticipated upscale restaurant from chef Quentin Love (Turkey Chop Gourmet Grill), debuted in early October at the Dr. King Legacy Apartments, a historic site that in 1966 housed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his family as the civil rights leader worked to highlight housing segregation in the era, according to the Tribune. The restaurant features “soul food fusion,” Love tells reporters, referencing the concept of familiar, comforting dishes from any culture. On the menu, that translates to Puerto Rican chicken guisado with plantains and Spanish rice, Korean-style rib tips, and Louisiana blackened salmon. The restaurant is a partnership between Love and property development group the Lawndale Christian Development Corporation, seats 30, and is BYOB. The SoulFood Lounge, 3804 W. 16th Street, Open 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; noon to 9 p.m. Saturday; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

September 16

Lakeview: Coffee, Hip-Hop & Mental Health, a local non-profit that aims to de-stigmatize therapy and mental health care with an emphasis on serving Black Chicagoans, in August opened a cafe with coffee and espresso made on a donated machine from famed Italian brand Rancilio, according to the Trib. Chicago native and founder Christopher LeMark will use the proceeds to help fund therapy sessions and fight food insecurity and is even offering supporters outside Chicago the option to purchase a “virtual” latte or doughnut as a donation. Coffee, Hip-Hop & Mental Health Cafe, 1051 W. Belmont Avenue, Open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Lakeview: Cubaneo opened in August with traditional Cuban fare including papa rellena, ropa vieja, and sopa de almejas with bacon and thyme. The spacious dining room is laden with green plants and pops of color that evoke the island nation. Cubaneo, 2873 N. Broadway, Open 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Lakeview: Suburban Wheeling-based sweets shop Mini Donut Factory in August opened an urban outpost with an ever-changing menu of (no surprise) tiny doughnuts, according to a Facebook post. Current flavor options include Fruity Pebbles, cinnamon sugar, and strawberry with rainbow sprinkles. Mini Donut Factory Lakeview, 3151 N. Broadway Street, Open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday; 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Lakeview: New neighborhood spot Szechuan Corner is open on Ashland avenue with a selection of Szechuan and American Chinese favorites including dry chili chicken, Shanghai spring rolls, and Chengdu-style hot pot. Szechuan Corner, 2910 N. Ashland Avenue, Open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Lincoln Park: Firefly Burger, a globetrotting Jordanian burger chain that specializes in American-style cheeseburgers, opened its first Chicago restaurant in August at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue, Halsted Street, and Fullerton Parkway, according to the Tribune. The brand operates more than 60 locations in 17 countries on five continents with a menu of beef burgers, chicken burgers, milkshakes, and doughnuts. Firefly Burger Lakeview, 2412 N. Lincoln Avenue, Open noon to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; noon to midnight Friday and Saturday.

Roseland: Ware Ranch Steak House reopened in late August for the first time in two years due to extensive damage from looting and fire, according to Block Club Chicago. The neighborhood’s only sit-down dining spot, the restaurant opened in 1969 as Ranch Steak House — co-owners and spouses Judy and Victor Ware added their own last name when they purchased the business in 2018. After a long and expensive reconstruction process, Ware Ranch is, at last, serving its menu of steaks and chops, charcoal-broiled burgers, and more. Ware Ranch Steakhouse, 11147 S. Michigan Avenue, Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

August 26

Logan Square: Mini Mott, the Logan Square spinoff of chef Edward Kim’s Wicker Park restaurant Mott St, reopened in August under a new name, Second Generation, at 1401 N. Ashland Avenue. The change aims to emphasize “the rich and layered identity of being raised in two cultures — both wholly American and wholly Asian,” according to an open letter on the restaurant’s website. The opening menu includes submissions such as pickled shrimp with Korean chili flake and a misoyaki eggplant tartine with an onsen egg and oyster mushrooms. Kim’s ever-popular burger, the original inspiration behind Mini Mott, will remain on the menu alongside familiar hits like Everything Wings. Second Generation, 1401 N. Ashland Avenue, Open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; noon to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

River North: Solita Tacos & Margaritas, the Baja-style replacement for party bar chain Pink Taco, opens Friday at 431 N. Wells Street with a menu focused on smoked meats, an open-fire grill, and the flavors of northern Mexico. Originally founded in Huntington Beach, California, the restaurant was acquired by Xperience Restaurant Group (XRG) in 2019 and is now in the midst of an expansion that includes Chicago, Anaheim, and Orlando, Florida. Pink Taco and XRG share a parent company, Z Capital Partners. In early August, former Pink Taco employees told Block Club Chicago that management initially promised they could keep their jobs at the new restaurant, only to find out weeks later that they were let go but could reapply for their former positions at Solita. Solita Tacos & Margaritas Chicago, 431 N. Wells Street, Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Uptown: Japanese chain Rakkan Ramen opened its first Midwestern restaurant on Monday with its signature vegetable-based broths at 4926 N. Broadway, ownership announced on Facebook. While many of its bowls are served with grilled pork toppings, Rakkan’s meat-free bases create an unusually large number of options for vegetarians and even vegans. The chain opened its first U.S. location in 2017 in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo neighborhood. Rakkan Ramen Uptown, 4926 N. Broadway, Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Evanston: Local cafe mini-chain Dollop Coffee in August opened the first location of its upscale market, Dollop General Store & Cafe, in suburban Evanston, according to Crain’s. The prolific coffee shop business operates 19 other Chicago area locations, 15 under the Dollop name, but the Evanston shop signals a significant shift for the company with retail space devoted to household and packaged goods, pantry items, and more. Upscale cafe-meets-retail territory has until now been largely occupied by Foxtrot, the fancy convenience store brand that has 15 outposts throughout the North Side, as well as locations in Texas, Virginia, and Washington D.C. Dollop General Store & Cafe, 1508 Sherman Avenue in Evanston, Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

St. Charles: Mio Modo, a new Italian spot promising “lighter fare” from restaurateur Scott Harris’s Mia Francesca empire, opened in early August in suburban St. Charles, according to a rep. The location at 200 S. 2nd Street, however, isn’t new to the group — the space housed Francesca’s by the River. Mio Modo, 200 S. 2nd Street in St. Charles, Open 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

August 12

Logan Square: Veteran neighborhood cooks Adolfo Garcia and Javier Mendiola in late July opened Spicy Taco, a casual new spot for Mexican classics like tacos, tortas, and huevos rancheros, according to Block Club Chicago. The duo, who spent four years working together at Taco Max Mexican Grill in Albany Park, are both natives of Michoacán, Mexico, and make their own salsas on site. They’ve taken over the former home of Dante’s Pizzeria on Milwaukee Avenue. Spicy Taco, 2825 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Hyde Park: Erick Williams, the first Black person ever to win a James Beard Best Chef Award in the Great Lakes or Midwest — the two regions that represented Chicago (the city lumped into the Midwest category until 2007) — is opening his third restaurant following Virtue and Mustard Seed Kitchen. Named after his aunt, Daisy’s Po-Boy and Tavern, will debut this weekend inside the former Jolly Pumpkin Brewery in Harper Square. The restaurant will serve icy cold Abita beer and pay homage to Louisiana cooking with po-boys featuring bread flown in from Leidenheimer Baking, gumbo, fried chicken, and muffulettas. There’s also nine TVs for sports fans. Williams isn’t worried about any confusion with Logan Square pasta spot Daisies. There’s plenty of room to love both restaurants which are very different concepts, he says. Check out the full menu below. Daisy’s Po-Boy and Tavern, 5215 S. Harper, planned for a Saturday, August 13 opening, open 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Hyde Park: Small Cheval, the scaled-down version of local burger behemoth Au Cheval, opened a new outpost in early August alongside Nichols Park, according to an Instagram post. Conveniently positioned near the University of Chicago and Kenwood High School campuses, the restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating as well as a menu of burgers, fries, ice cream, and milkshakes. Ownership group Hogsalt Hospitality also operates Small Cheval locations in Old Town, Wicker Park, Fulton Market, and Gold Coast. Small Cheval Hyde Park, 1307 E. 53rd Street, Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Near North Side: Canadian bubble tea chain Vintea opened in early July in a former nail salon with a variety of milk and fruit teas, slushes, smoothies, and espresso drinks. Vintea Chicago, 818 N. State Street, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Schiller Park: Short Fuse Brewing Company on Thursday in suburban Schiller Park unveiled a new selection of smoked, buttermilk-brined wings as the first step toward introducing a new full menu of slow-smoked barbecue, according to consulting pit master Gary Wiviott, who’s wings gained fame at the shuttered Barn & Co. in Lincoln Park. The team has big plans for the barbecue business, plotting to weave its beers into the sauce and brine. Short Fuse Brewing Company, 5000 N. River Road in Schiller Park, Open noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.

August 5

Edgewater: Whiskey Girl Tavern, the new bar from the couple behind one of Andersonville’s most popular annual Pride parties, opened in early July in the former home of Pressure Billiards & Cafe, according to Block Club Chicago. Christina and Heather Roberts, co-founders of Back Lot Bash, are offering a collection of local beers, cocktails, and familiar bar fare like fries and chicken tenders. The couple plan to use the venue, now equipped with two bars and a performance space, for community events, LGBTQ gatherings, and game day viewing. Whiskey Girl Tavern, 6318 N. Clark Street, Open 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday; 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 4 p.m. to midnight Friday; noon to midnight Saturday; noon to 11 p.m. Sunday.

Lakeview: Taiwanese-style hot pot and bubble tea spot Taipei Cafe opened its second location in late July, ownership announced on Facebook. The original restaurant has been a hit with Chicagoans since its original location opened five years ago in Bridgeport.

Goose Island: New American restaurant 1308 Elston opened in June near the Morton Salt warehouse with a vegetarian friendly menu from chef Brooks Hart, previously of Top Chef champ Stephanie Izard’s Little Goat Diner, according to the Tribune. Owner Kimberly Moore describes the restaurant as a “speak eatery” — meant to imply a Prohibition-era theme — with a tight selection of dishes and drinks. Stay tuned for more on this opening. 1308 Elston, 1308 N. Elston Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (lunch) and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. (dinner) Monday through Friday.

Wicker Park: Mindy’s Bakery, the hotly anticipated return from celebrated Chicago chef Mindy Segal, launched at long last over the weekend on Milwaukee Avenue. Segal says customers have pillaged the bakery every morning with long lines. She’s selling bagels, brownies, cookies, and — of course hot chocolate. There’s a few seats on the sidewalk, but this is mostly a carryout operations. More than two years have passed since Segal closed Hot Chocolate, her 15-year-old Bucktown restaurant. In the meantime, she’s popped up regularly with bagels and pastries in the area, all while simultaneously moving into the former Red Hen Bakery and Pork & Mindy’s near Wicker Park’s Six Corners intersection. Mindy’s Bakery, 1623 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or until sold out) Wednesday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or until sold out) Saturday and Sunday.

A tan brick building with a stenciled dark blue sign  that reads “Mindy’s Bakery.” Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

July 22

Dorothy, chef Zoe Schor’s subterranean bar beneath her restaurant Split-Rail in West Town, reopens Friday for the first time since March behind the red door at 2500 W. Chicago Avenue. It’s the third — and, Schor hopes, last — relaunch for Dorothy, which originally debuted in 2020 just weeks before COVID-19 shutdowns began, and an opportunity for her to reintroduce the venue to Chicago as the lesbian bar it was always meant to be. Or, as Schor describes it, “a neighborhood lesbian cocktail lounge for all friends of Dorothy.”

For Schor, that means refocusing on her original intention for the bar: to create a space that’s designed for queer people with room for patrons of all identities. “As we finally reopen for what we expect to be the final time, we want to be clear to our local community and our neighbors that everyone is invited and included at Dorothy,” says Schor. “But it’s meant for a certain group of people — the queer community, with lesbians as kind of the niche core of our community.”

Schor and fiancée Whitney LaMora, who runs neighboring artist space the Martin, have worked to cultivate that community even during the bar’s hiatus, hosting a monthly queer open mic night dubbed Fruit Salad that’s been met with enormous enthusiasm. They also anticipate theme nights — perhaps featuring performances on Dorothy’s baby grand piano, already tuned and ready to play — and meetups for dating, friendship, and professional networking. “As a general rule, we’re catering to the audience that wants to hear itself talk,” Schor says, laughing.

Aside from the addition of a new photo booth, the bar’s unabashedly retro ‘70s vibe remains unchanged, from the wood-paneled walls and Togo sofa to a vinyl soundtrack and boozy beverages. In Shor’s view, Dorothy serves as a friendly counterpoint to Nobody’s Darling, the popular Black women-owned queer bar that opened in fall 2021 in Andersonville with ample outdoor space (Dorothy is entirely indoors) and a modern look. “One of the things that’s neat about our space is that we’re off the beaten path of Boystown and Andersonville,” she says. “I love Nobody’s Darling and the community around them, so it’s super cool that we’re on the other side of town tending to the same community in a different way.” Dorothy, in the basement of Split-Rail, 2500 W. Chicago Avenue, Open 6 p.m. to 10-ish p.m. Thursday; 6 p.m. to midnight-ish Friday and Saturday; 6 p.m. to 10-ish p.m. Sunday.

Ravenswood: A third outpost of Land & Lake Kitchen from LM Restaurant Group opens Friday in the former Fountainhead space on Montrose Avenue, according to a rep. As in its Andersonville and downtown locations, Land & Lake will serve American fare like fried chicken sandwiches and grilled pork chops, but will place a greater emphasis on craft beers — a nod to the restaurant’s proximity to Malt Row. Patrons can expect limited hours and dinner service to start, but operators plan to expand availability in the coming weeks. Land & Lake Ravenswood, 1970 W. Montrose Avenue, Opening hours are 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23; 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, July 24; 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30; 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday, July 31.

Rogers Park: Khmai Fine Dining, which appears to be Chicago’s only traditional Cambodian restaurant, opened in late June in a space previously occupied by soul food spot I’m Soul Hungry. Originally founded as a catering business in the early years of the pandemic, the operation evolved into a full-fledged restaurant as chef and owner Mona Sang (Lettuce Entertain You) and her mother, Sarom Sieng — both survivors of the Cambodian genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge — saw a flood of interest in their native cuisine. Stay tuned for more on Sang, Sieng, and Khmai Fine Dining. Khmai Fine Dining, 2043 W. Howard Street, Open 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Wicker Park: Helfeld’s Deli, the long-awaited Jewish deli from Chicago restaurant veteran Mark Grutz and his daughter, Emily, opened in mid-July after more than a year of delays, according to Block Club Chicago. Finally, diners can dig into the father-daughter team’s menu of corned beef, pastrami, and knishes, as well as mammoth sandwiches, bagels from New York Bagel & Bialy in Lincolnwood, and challah and rye bread from Tel-Aviv Kosher Bakery in West Rogers Park. The pair are carrying on a family tradition that dates back to the 1960s when Grutz’s father, Jakub Grutz — a Holocaust survivor who escaped the Janowska concentration camp — arrived in Chicago and became a partial owner of Mort’s Deli on the North Side. Helfeld’s Deli, 1750 W. North Avenue, Open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

July 8

Edgewater: Palma Torcida, a new Mexican spot, has opened in a former Dunkin’ Donuts near the Bryn Mawr Red Line stop, according to a post in a neighborhood Facebook group. The menu offers breakfasts, tacos and sandwiches, and specials like menudo and baked fish. Palma Torcida, 1127 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Wicker Park: Dolci Amori, the long-awaited Italian bakery from Piccolo Sogno co-owner Ciro Longobardo, opened Thursday after more than two years of preparations. A nostalgic tribute to Longobardo’s teen years in Naples, the new bakery features pastries including fiocco de neve, “snowflakes” of pan brioche stuffed with cream and ricotta, as well as pizzas, paninis, and aperitivos and cocktails. A second outpost is scheduled to open soon on Clark Street in Lakeview, and a third will this summer take over the former Maillard Tavern space on Milwaukee Avenue with savory small plates. Dolci Amori Wicker Park, 2010 W. Pierce Avenue, Temporarily open 7a.m. to 4 p.m. daily; Permanent hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily as of Monday, July 11.

The Loop: Imee’s Mediterranean Kitchen, a fast-casual restaurant from Lebanese American hospitality management veteran Nicole Nassif (formerly an executive director at ramen mini-chain Furious Spoon), will open on Monday, July 11, according to a rep. A tribute to three generations of women in her family, Imee’s menu includes meat-based or vegetarian platters and wraps, as well as several salads and sides such as laban, mujaddara, and roasted cauliflower. Imee’s Mediterranean Kitchen, 171 N. Wells Street, Opens Monday, June 11.

Berwyn: Big Guys Sausage Stand, which shut down last month due to a staffing shortage, broken HVAC system, and general lack of funds reopens Friday, July 8, thanks in part to more than $40,000 in donations from 700 customers and community members, according to a Facebook post from owner Brandon O’Connor. Big Guys Sausage Stand, 7021 Roosevelt Road, Berwyn, Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

July 1

Avondale: Barbecue restaurant Soul & Smoke is now open at Rockwell on the River, the event space and marina that’s already home to Metropolitan Brewing, Metropolis Coffee, and J & M Distillery, but no other restaurants, says a rep. There will be a menu of sandwiches, sides, and smoked meat by the pound available to order at the counter and indoor and outdoor seating. Soul & Smoke at Rockwell on the River, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Fulton Market: Three local restaurants opened new booths in the Time Out Market on Wednesday, June 29, a rep reports: Darnell Reed’s soul food spot Luella’s Southern Kitchen, fresh pasta purveyor Gemma Foods, and sugar palace JoJo’s ShakeBar. Time Out Market, 916 W. Fulton Market, Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Jefferson Park: Ix-Chel, a gelato and paleta parlor, has reopened for the summer and is now serving banana splits and sundaes and offering new gelato flavors every week. The shop had a difficult time navigating the pandemic, the owners told Block Club, but it was able to persevere thanks to city grants. Ix-Chel Gelato, 4968 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Open 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Logan Square: Quality Time, a new bar from Footman Hospitality (Bangers & Lace, Spilt Milk), has opened in the former home of Son of a Butcher, says a rep. The owners hope to recreate a summer backyard barbecue vibe, but more importantly, they will provide a permanent home to Claudio Velez, the Tamale Guy. Quality Time, 2934 W. Diversey Avenue, Open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday and Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday.

Pilsen: A second location of Phodega, the Wicker Park Asian bodega is now open, according to its website. The new location will be takeout-only, but it will have the same menu of snacks, sandwiches, and, of course, pho, as the original. Phodega Express, 1800 S. Jefferson Street, Open 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Portage Park: Bluebird, a Lakeview specialist in classic American dishes like burgers and chicken sandwiches, opened a second location last week in Portage Park, Block Club reports. The owners told Block Club that they were taking a week to get the staff acquainted with the menu and planned to start serving brunch this weekend. Bluebird Portage Park, 3938 N. Central Avenue, Open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Rogers Park: Khmai Fine Dining, a Cambodian restaurant from chef Mona Sang, the owner of Mona Bella Catering, and her mother, Sarom Sieng, opened in mid-June, according to its Instagram. The menu offers appetizers, grilled meats, stir-fries, desserts, and lunch specials; the restaurant hosts happy hours with traditional Cambodian music and this Saturday, July 2, a dance party with a DJ, cocktails, and bites. Khmai Fine Dining, 2043 W. Howard, Open 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Wicker Park: Jack’s Restaurant, a tavern that serves French classics like steak frites and croque monsieur as well as burgers, is now open, Block Club reports. Owners David and Michelle Nelson were inspired by their travels and by their love of local Chicago bars; they named the restaurant after their son, a high school student and now part-time dishwasher. The chef is Chris Holderman, formerly of Nookie’s. Jack’s Restaurant, 2056 W. Division Street, Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

June 24

Lincoln Park: The Gin Commission, a new cocktail bar centered around — you guessed it — gin will be opening Saturday, June 25, in the basement of Quality Crab & Oyster Bah, Lettuce Entertain You’s interpretation of a seafood shack, reports a rep. Beverage director Kevin Bratt (also of Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab) has stocked up on 50 different varieties of the so-called opium of the people. The Gin Commission, 1962 N. Halsted Street, Open 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Logan Square: The Black Lion, a bar that specializes in Latin American cocktails, reopens Friday, June 24, after a two-year hiatus, the owners announced on social media. The Black Lion Bar, 2434 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Portage Park: Fry the Coop, a local mini-chain that specializes in fried chicken, has opened its fifth location in a former hot dog stand on Milwaukee Avenue, owner Joe Fontana writes in an email. The menu features chicken sandwiches with six different levels of hotness, plus chicken and waffles and beer. Fry the Coop, 4300 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Open noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

A hot chicken sandwich and a heap of fries on a metal tray.
Fry the Coop’s chicken comes in six different degrees of hotness.
Fry the Coop

Portage Park: Little Lulu’s Italian Ice, which opened and closed several times since last fall due to various shortages and financial constraints, has now definitively reopened under the name Little Lulu’s Ice and Nutrition Bar, Block Club reports. The menu now includes acai bowls, protein shakes, and “guilt free” snacks. Little Lulu’s Ice and Nutrition Bar, 5035 W. Montrose Avenue, Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

South Loop: The Taiwan-based dessert chain Tiger Sugar famous for its tiger-striped “black sugar” boba drink has opened its first location in Chicago, says a rep. The cafe also serves coffee, pudding, and many forms of tea. Tiger Sugar, 2116 S. Archer Avenue, Open 12:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily.

West Loop: The Allis Bar in the lobby of Soho House has reopened with a new menu that’s available to all comers, not just Soho House members. Offerings include sandwiches, salads, and pizzettes, as well as a variety of spritzes. The Allis Bar in Soho House Chicago, Open noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, reservations available via OpenTable.

Four different colored cocktails on a wooden table.
The Allis Bar in Soho House is now open to the hoi polloi.
Soho House

West Town: Fans of the Monday Coffee Co. should know that the South Side-based coffee roaster is setting up a third cafe (after locations in the Garfield Park Conservatory and Soho House) in the Center of Order and Experimentation, a retail space that sells a curated selection of unusual goods and which opens Saturday, June 25. Monday Coffee Co. inside the Center of Order and Experimentation, 1727 W. Grand Avenue, Open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

West Town: Paulo Gelato and Chocolate, a new shop from Pawel Petrykowski, who in 2015 won a prize for producing the best gelato in Poland, has opened, Block Club reports. Petrykowski, who moved to Chicago in 2019, makes all the gelato and sorbets himself. Flavors include the expected, like fior de latte and strawberry, and the experimental, like milk chocolate gelato with porcini mushrooms, and spinach and tangerine sorbet. Paulo Gelato and Chocolate, 1058 W. Chicago Avenue, Open noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

June 17

Lincoln Square: Wajo Sushi, a family-owned spot that originated in Wheeling, has opened its first city location, Block Club reports. It’s known for original creations like the cheese crunch special roll, which is dusted with shards of Cheeto Puffs, and the snow salmon deluxe roll, a combination of salmon, avocado, cucumber, onion, lemon and mayo. Wajo Sushi, 5437 N. Lincoln Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.

The Loop: Millennium Hall, an Eataly-esque food hall from the parent company behind a host of suburban restaurants in Millennium Park, has opened two of three outposts from its preexisting venues, according to Crain’s. As of Thursday, patrons can now dine at an 180-seat satellite of Napolita Pizzeria (based in Wilmette) and drink at a 300-seat spot with two bars from Evanston’s Double Clutch Brewing. The third, Libertyville-based Casa Bonita, is expected to open with 120 seats in late June. Millennium Hall, 11 N. Michigan Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Noble Square: Engine Coffee, a new cafe from journalist and former Chicago magazine food editor Carly Boers and her husband, Matt Brown, a property manager, opened last month near the Division Blue Line stop, Block Club reports. Boers and Brown have sourced all their food and coffee from local purveyors: Brite Donuts, Pretty Good Bagels, Cafe Tola (for breakfast tacos), and Big Shoulders Coffee. They’ve also planned a calendar of community events, including art exhibits and children’s story time. Engine Coffee, 1109 N. Ashland Avenue, Open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Old Town: Avli, a modern Greek mini-chain, and the Original Rainbow Cone, a Chicago classic, are both open now at Castaways, the boathouse at North Avenue Beach, says a rep. Avli will serve an abbreviated menu of snacks, salads, and sandwiches, while Rainbow Cone will offer its signature five-scoop cone. Avli and Original Rainbow Cone at Castaways, 1603 N. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Rogers Park: The Rhapsody Theater, a new performance venue in the space formerly known as the Mayne Stage, opened on Thursday, June 16, Block Club reports. The theater contains three bars, and the owners are planning to open a full-service restaurant in the fall. Rhapsody Theater, 1328 W. Morse Avenue, See website for performance schedule.

Evanston: Carryout and delivery-only restaurant Picnic opened in May in suburban downtown Evanston across the street from sister spot Pono Ono Poke, according to a rep. Picnic’s menu features salads and grain bowls with Mediterranean flavors, such as a Pesto Extravaganza salad (chicken, fresh mozzarella, slow-roasted tomatoes, pesto), along with sides such as hummus and lentil salad. Picnic, 1619 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

June 10

Beverly: Afro Joe’s, the South Side coffee shop that had to leave its original Auburn Gresham location earlier this year has reopened in Beverly, Block Club reports, with a slightly revamped menu and sets of house music every Sunday. Afro Joe’s Coffee & Tea, 1818 W. 99th Street, Open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.

Lincoln Park: The Shore Club, the upscale restaurant at North Avenue Beach is open for the season, the Tribune reports. Shore Club Chicago, 1603 N. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Portage Park: New and experimental subterranean drinking den Nightshade opens Friday below sister spot Moonflower, ownership announced on Instagram. A menu is not yet available, but co-owner Zach Rivera told Eater in 2021 that the team planned to offer unusual cocktails like a corn-chip-and-poblano martini and a gin cocktail with coconut, purple rice, and lime. Nightshade, 4359 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Open 4:30 p.m. to midnight Wednesday; 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday; 4:30 p.m. to midnight Sunday.

Rogers Park: Howard Street Brewing, the city’s newest and northernmost brewery and tap room is also its smallest, tucked inside a former movie theater. But the tininess of the operation allows a flexibility with styles, the Tribune reports; the brewers will even create custom beers for weddings. Howard Street Brewing Company, 1617 W. Howard Street, Open 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, 3 p.m. to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

South Loop: Dollop Cafe, the local coffee shop chain, opened its 19th location last month inside the NEMA apartment complex, Block Club reports. It’s the first Dollop with a nighttime menu and craft cocktails from mixologist Roger Landes, formerly of Smyth and the Loyalist. Dollop Cafe, Bar and Kitchen, 1210 S. Indiana Avenue, Open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

West Loop: From Here On, the new food hall from local hospitality group 16” on Center (Revival Food Hall, Thalia Hall) opened this week on the first floor of the Old Post Office, according to a rep. The enormous space, which offers views of the Chicago River, houses stalls for seven Chicago-based food and beverage spots including hit salumeria Tempesta Market and birria specialist Flo’s Tacos, plus Snorkelbox, a new cocktail bar from 16” on Center. Chicago-meets-Nashville poultry spot Hot Chi Chicken will open Monday, June 13. From Here On, 433 W. Van Buren Street, Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Schaumburg: Japanese-style ice cream mini-chain Kurimu opened the doors to its third Chicago-area shop this week at the Streets of Woodfield in suburban Schaumburg, owner Ming Ng writes in an email. The new location will feature the same Care Bears pop-up collaboration seen at its stores in Little Italy and Wicker Park with special flavors and decor. Kurimu Schaumburg, 601 N Martingale Road #165, Open 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Maillard Tavern

494 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60654 (312) 766-2727 Visit Website

Oyster Bah

1962 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 (773) 248-3000 Visit Website

Big Shoulders Coffee

1105 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60642 (312) 888-3042 Visit Website

Original Rainbow Cone

9233 South Western Avenue, , IL 60643 (773) 238-9833 Visit Website

Avli Taverna

1335 West Wrightwood Avenue, , IL 60614 (773) 857-5577 Visit Website

Mayne Stage

1328 W Morse Ave, Chicago, IL 60626 (773) 381-4554 Visit Website

Tempesta Market

1372 West Grand Avenue, , IL 60642 (312) 929-2551 Visit Website

Shore Club

1603 North Lake Shore Drive, , IL 60610 (312) 635-8058 Visit Website

Second Generation

3057 West Logan Boulevard, , IL 60647 (773) 318-2666 Visit Website

Lettuce Entertain You

5419 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60640 (773) 878-7340

Rainbow Cone

9233 S Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60643 (773) 238-7075 Visit Website


1159 West Taylor Street, , IL 60607 (312) 877-5227 Visit Website

Dollop General Store and Cafe

1508 Sherman Avenue, Evanston, IL 60621 (224) 307-2163 Visit Website

Whiskey Girl Tavern

6318 North Clark Street, , IL 60660 (773) 654-1766 Visit Website


1924 West Division Street, , IL 60622 (773) 687-8187 Visit Website

Son of a Butcher

2026 Greenville Avenue, , TX 75206 (469) 862-8780 Visit Website

Metropolitan Brewing

3057 North Rockwell Street, , IL 60618 (773) 754-0494 Visit Website

Bangers & Lace

1851 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613 (773) 697-8667


2021 W. Fulton Street, Chicago, IL 60612 (312)-772-6536 Visit Website

Taipei Cafe

2609 South Halsted Street, , IL 60608 (312) 374-1986 Visit Website


2500 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 Visit Website

Soho House Chicago

113-125 North Green Street, , IL 60607 (312) 521-8000 Visit Website

Pierrot Gourmet at The Peninsula

108 East Superior Street, , IL 60611 (312) 337-2888 Visit Website

Fry the Coop

1529 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60642 (312) 600-6198 Visit Website

Spilt Milk

811 South Boulevard, Oak Park, IL 60302 (708) 613-4403 Visit Website

Cafe Tola

3612 North Southport Avenue, , IL 60613 (773) 560-6071 Visit Website