Chicago’s false spring is peeking around the corner, but locals know that the weather and climate remain an open question. That means Chicago’s hospitality industry is still wrangling with the challenge of luring patrons out of their cozy homes. Fortunately for the city, its chefs and restaurateurs are rising to the occasion and unveiling compelling new establishments all over town. 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.
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Avondale: Magnifico Coffee Roasters & Coffee Shop, a new roastery and cafe featuring Colombian beans and pastries like churros and pandebono con guava, opened in February at 3063 N. Milwaukee Avenue after a year of planning, according to Block Club Chicago. The business is from siblings Ricardo Acebedo-Diaz and Angelica Acebedo, who source beans from a pair of women-owned farms in Colombia. Magnifico Coffee Roasters & Coffee Shop, 3063 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Lakeview: Taco Moro, a Mexican restaurant known for slinging quesabirria tacos and more near O’Hare International Airport, in late February opened a new location at 1415 W. Irving Park Road, says owner Marco Owaynat. The menu also includes burritos, quesadillas, tostadas, and bowls. The restaurant is also advertised as halal — a convenient twist for Chicagoans who are currently observing Ramadan. Taco Moro Lakeview, 1415 W. Irving Park Road, Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Portage Park: Pan y Pizza Pa’Ya, a second outpost of seven-year-old Colombian bakery and pizzeria Pizza y Pan Pa’Ya, opened in February at 6344 W. Irving Park Road, according to Block Club. Co-owner Johan Balaguera, joined by his parents and brother, has expanded the menu of Colombian sweets and buttery deep-dish pies to include lunch options like mixto bowls and arepas. The family opened the original restaurant in 2016 in Albany Park. Pan y Pizza Pa’Ya, 6344 W. Irving Park Road, Open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
River North: Spanish steakhouse Asador Bastian, one of the most hotly anticipated restaurant openings of the season from Andros Taverna co-owners and spouses Doug Psaltis and Hsing Chen, opened Wednesday, March 22 inside the 140-year-old Flair Building at 214 W Erie Street, according to a rep. Psaltis, formerly of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ RPM wing, and Chen, a pastry chef, aim to evoke the restaurants of San Sebastián in Basque Country. Stay tuned for more on this debut. Asador Bastian, 214 W Erie Street, Open 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Wicker Park: Shabu Plus, a restaurant serving rotary shabu-shabu (a style of Japanese hot pot) opened last week at 1352 N. Milwaukee Avenue, says marketing manager Duo Tang. The space was once pegged for an outpost of sister chain Sushi Plus but lay dormant for much of the pandemic. The approach is similar to rotary sushi, as each patron gets their own personal hot pot with a choice of broth and then gets to choose their own ingredients off a conveyor belt. There’s also an unusual dessert the team calls “boba milk tea hot pot,” a pot filled with boba pearls, fruit jellies, and adzuki bean paste, and topped off with steaming milk tea. Follow-up locations are in the works in Chinatown and South Loop. Shabu Plus Wicker Park, 1352 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Edgewater: Old school speakeasy-style cocktail bar Meet & Whiskey debuts Friday inside Porkchop Edgewater at 6341 N. Broadway Street with small plates, tons of whiskeys and cognacs, and live jazz, burlesque, and cabaret shows, according to a rep. In true Prohibition-era style, patrons enter through a back-alley entrance marked by a red light — when lit, it means the bar is open for business. As the opening coincides with Women’s History Month, the team is offering a cocktail named for legendary aviator Bessie Coleman to raise funds for local nonprofit Chicago Foundation for Women. Stay tuned for more on this launch. Meet & Whiskey, 6341 N. Broadway Street, Hours not yet available.
Lakeview: In a sign of warm weather to come, essential Chicago ice cream shop Scooter’s Frozen Custard reopens for the season Friday at 1658 W. Belmont Avenue, owners announced on Facebook. As its name suggests, Scooter’s is particularly well known for its frozen custard, a favorite of neighboring Wisconsinites. Patrons can also expect top-notch Italian ice, which the stand offers as a “parfait” of layered Italian ice and frozen custard. Scooter’s Frozen Custard, 1658 W. Belmont Avenue, Open 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Lincoln Park: International restaurant chain Happy Lamb Hot Pot opened in late February at 2707 N. Clark Street in a former furniture store. The company, founded in Inner Mongolia and now owned by Yum! Brands, has three additional Chicago-area locations, and shouldn’t be confused with Little Lamb Hot Pot in Chinatown. Happy Lamb Hot Pot Lincoln Park, 2707 N. Clark Street, Open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Norwood Park: Casual carb-heavy restaurant Bonni’s Pizzas and Subs opened in January at 7009 W. Higgins Avenue in the former home of neighborhood pizzeria Trio’s Pizza, which closed in 2022 after more than three decades, according to Block Club. Owner Bonni Cameron, a Boston native and owner of County BBQ in Little Italy, is serving her own version of New York-style pizzas, hot and cold subs, and her father’s “famous secret clam chowder recipe.” Bonni’s Pizzas and Subs, 7009 W. Higgins Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday through Friday; 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Evanston: Self-described Jamaican soul food restaurant Da Jerk Pit, originally located on Main Street in suburban Evanston, reopened in February in a new shared space with traditional Jamaican spot Claire’s Korner at 1827 Emerson Street, ownership announced on Facebook. Da Jerk Pit/Claire’s Korner, 1827 Emerson Street, Open noon to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; noon to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Lakeview: Taco Maya, a Chicago-area Mexican mini-chain with outposts in the city and suburbs, in late January launched at 3053 N. Ashland Avenue, ownership announced on Instagram. It’s the eighth location from the team led by chef Patricio Elizondo, a Mexico City native, and offers a menu of tacos including al pastor, carnitas, lengua, and paneer with jalapeño mint sauce. There’s also a selection of “chef’s special” tacos with options like Nashville hot chicken and Cajun shrimp. Taco Maya Lakeview, 3053 N. Ashland Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Lincoln Park: Ramen-san, the Japanese-influenced mini-chain from local hospitality heavyweight Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, opens its fourth Chicago outpost on Friday at 1962 N. Halsted Street in the former home of the group’s East Coast-style seafood spot Oyster Bah. The new Lincoln Park restaurant seats 75 between two levels, each with its own bar (the main bar is stocked with more than 50 Japanese whiskeys). The basement will be available for private events (perhaps karaoke nights) and LEYE will host pop-ups in the space. Menu items include go-to Ramen-san hits like traditional tonkotsu ramen, kimchi fried chicken ramen with buttered corn, and blast-chilled Asahi beer alongside new options including a kale and cashew salad. Late-night fried rice, a Ramen-san staple, will also be on hand, but with the current labor climate, don’t expect it after midnight. It joins sister locations in Streeterville, River North, and Fulton Market. Ramen-san Lincoln Park, 1962 N. Halsted Street, Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The Loop: Chkn-Box, a casual fast food spot from WGCI DJ Mike P, opened in late January at 400 S. Financial Place near the CTA’s El stop at LaSalle/Van Buren, according to the Tribune. Patrons can expect a tight menu of chicken tenders with fries as well as several sauce and seasoning options (think spicy Buffalo, lemon pepper, and mild sauce). It’s all conveniently served in a shoebox — a historical practice for some Black Americans, who during the Jim Crow era were barred from train dining cars and often faced overt bigotry from restaurant owners when they traveled. Their solution was the shoebox lunch, an affordable meal cooked and packed at home, ready and waiting when hunger struck. Chkn-Box, 400 S. Financial Place, Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 8 p.m Sunday.
The Loop: Keadkao Juice, a sister stall to quick-serve Thai spot Keadkao Express, opened Wednesday inside the Urbanspace Washington food hall, owners announced on Instagram. The brand’s Thai influence extends to its beverage arm, which features a menu of fruit smoothies, cold-pressed juices, Thai iced coffee shakes, and more. Co-owners and Bangkok natives Patt Tongphong and chef Tom Deethian founded Keadkao Express in spring 2022 with ambitions of opening locations across the U.S. Keadkao Juice, 15 W. Washington Street inside Urbanspace Chicago, Hours not yet available.
Andersonville: Japanese neighborhood restaurant Ora Sushi reopened in early January inside its new home at 5701 N Clark Street, just six blocks from its original space, ownership announced on Facebook. The location, just beside brunch destination M. Henry, previously housed Thai fusion spot Blu 57. Ora, now holding dine-in service for the first time since March 2020, relocated after 10 years at Clark and Foster. Ora Sushi, 5701 N Clark Street, Open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Little Village: California-based paletería brand La Michoacana Plus opened its first Midwest franchise location in early February at 3701 W 26th Street, helmed by spouses Edith Galvan and Angelo Villagomez. The bright and colorful shop offers a laundry list of flavors, ranging from mango con chile and tres leches to abuelita chocolate, as well as aguas frescas with or without a scoop of ice cream. Though numerous ice cream shops around Chicago use the Michoacana name, they aren’t a single brand and don’t typically share ownership. The confusion stems from a tangled history that began in the Mexican state of Michoacán and became the subject of a 2019 legal battle. Block Club Chicago has photos from the grand opening. La Michoacana Plus Little Village, 3701 W 26th Street, Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Pilsen: Mexican American breakfast and brunch spot Pochos will reopen Saturday, February 18, with chilaquiles and French toast, following a relocation from McKinley Park, according to Block Club. Co-owners and partners Irene Acosta and Miguel Hernandez opened the original Pochos in 2019 at 35th and Seeley but tell reporters they couldn’t find a way to keep the business open in the neighborhood. The couple credit the restaurant's return to unflagging support from friends and fans through pandemic shutdowns and the build-out of the new space. Pochos, 1727 W. 18th Street, Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Monday.
Portage Park: Copacubana Cafe, a Cuban restaurant from talk radio host Roberto Ameneiro of WCGO-AM, opened in January at 5800 W Irving Park Road in the former home of Bub’s Place, according to a Facebook post. Ameneiro, who previously owned a Greek restaurant in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is featuring eggy breakfast hits as well as Cuban tamales and empanadas, media noche and ropa vieja sandwiches, sweet arroz con leche, and more. Copacubana Cafe, 5800 W Irving Park Road, Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Oak Brook: Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, a rotary sushi chain with locations in more than a dozen states, on Thursday unveiled its second suburban Chicago location at 1755 22nd Street in Oak Brook, according to a rep. The company promises an “eater-tainment experience” with robotic servers and a “Bikkura Pon Prize System,” a prize machine with a touch panel and plate disposal slot that counts the dirty dishes and translates them into points. Customers who dispense five plates are rewarded with a short animation on a screen, while those who knock out 15 get a tangible treat like merchandise from hit anime series My Hero Academia. Kura already operates in suburban Schaumburg and is planning a third outpost in Naperville. Kura Revolving Sushi Bar Oak Brook, 1755 22nd Street, Open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Andersonville: Pizza Lobo, an expansive indoor-outdoor New York-style pizzeria in Logan Square, opened its second Chicago restaurant on Wednesday, February 1 at 5457 N. Clark Street, according to a rep. The space includes a 3,000-square-foot outdoor patio with fire pits and bocce courts, as well as an enclosed and heated section that seats more than 70. The indoor section seats 30 around a stand-alone bar that serves draft beer, wine, cocktails, and frozen drinks. Patrons can expect to find the same food and beverage menus available at the original location. Pizza Lobo is from Heisler Hospitality, the Chicago group behind Sportsman’s Club, Lone Wolf (where Pizza Lobo was born), and Estereo. Pizza Lobo Andersonville, 5457 N. Clark Street, Open noon to midnight daily.
The Loop: The Hot Dog Box, Bobby Morelli’s gourmet sausage brand that closed in late 2022 in Portage Park, in January launched a new location inside Urbanspace Washington at 15 W. Washington Street. Morelli is easing into the neighborhood with a selection of popular options, including some that date back to the company’s origins in a Bronzeville storage container, but fans can stay tuned for new submissions in the coming months. The Hot Dog Box at Urbanspace Washington, 15 W. Washington Street, Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
Ravenswood: Good Company, a new “communal dining venue” from self-taught cook Stephanie Johnston, opened in January in the former Bang Bang Pie space at 4947 N. Damen Avenue, according to Block Club Chicago. An avid home cook and dinner party host, Johnson plans to hold ticketed dinners, cooking classes, and other community events, some of which are already scheduled via Eventbrite. Good Company, 4947 N. Damen Avenue.
River North: Pistores Pizza & Pastry, a new restaurant with Mediterranean influences from co-owners Joel and Andrea Reno, opened in late December in a light and airy space at 546 N. Wells Street. The couple is offering a pastry case filled with sweet creations made on-site, as well as traditional Italian thin-crust pizzas, thick and fluffy Detroit-style pies with crispy caramelized cheese edges, octopus, Greek salad, and more. There’s also coffee and a full bar that features cocktails inspired by pastries (think Milk and Cookies Clarified Milk Punch and Carrot Cake Old Fashioneds). Pistores Pizza & Pastry, 546 N. Wells Street, Open 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday.
River North: Gourmet sandwich food truck the Fat Shallot on Monday unveiled a new outpost on the second floor of the Merchandise Mart along the Chicago River, co-owners and spouses Sarah Weitz and Sam Barron announced on Facebook. Patrons can expect to find hits like truffle BLTs on thick-cut challah, crispy Buffalo chicken sandwiches, and more. The Fat Shallot also operates a restaurant in Lincoln Park and a stall at Revival Food Hall. The Fat Shallot Merchandise Mart, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Second Floor, Open 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
West Loop: New seafood and cocktail spot Dear Madison Oyster opened in early February at 1140 W. Madison Street, the former home of Gina Stefani’s six-year-old Italian American restaurant Mad Social, operators announced on Facebook. A banner on its website, however, informs would-be diners that Dear Madison Oyster is temporarily closed ahead of a grand opening. Patrons can now book reservations starting Wednesday, March 1. Dear Madison Oyster, 1140 W. Madison Street, Reservations available via Resy.
West Loop: Chicago restaurateur and Top Chef competitor Fabio Viviani (Siena Tavern, Prime & Provisions) in early February opened fast-casual dessert spot Jars by Fabio Viviani at 905 W. Fulton Street, according to a rep. Sweet-toothed diners can expect a menu of classic sugary favorites — pies, cake, cannoli, s’mores, tiramisu, and more — recomposed to fit inside reusable jars. The West Loop location also offers soft-service ice cream with flavors including red velvet cheesecake and peach cobbler, and coffee drinks. The chef aims to expand significantly with Jars locations already in the works in California and Texas. Jars by Fabio Viviani, 905 W. Fulton Street, Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Bridgeport: Han Mi Jeong, a new Korean restaurant is open at 3335 S. Halsted Street with serving hot pot, kimbap, noodles, and much more. The space previously housed Tasty Chuanchuanxiang Hot Pot, a Sichuan-style spot for hot pot skewers that ranked among the top of its class in Chicago. Han Mi Jeong, 3335 S. Halsted Street, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Bucktown: Breakfast and lunch spot Boulevard Bistro is open at 2753 N. Western in the former home of 17-year-old neighborhood staple Cornerstone Cafe. It features an egg-heavy menu of morning and midday favorites such as Benedicts and huevos rancheros as well as French toast, crepes, sandwiches, and gluten-free dishes. Boulevard Bistro, 2753 N. Western Avenue, Open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
Lincoln Park: New Japanese restaurant 2AM Izakaya opened in mid-January in the former home of Xi’an Dynasty at 2218 N. Lincoln Avenue, according to an Instagram post. True to its name, it serves a varied selection of meat, seafood, and vegetarian yakitori (Japanese pub-style skewers) as well as sushi, sashimi, noodles, and fried rice until the wee hours of the morning. 2AM Izakaya, 2218 N. Lincoln Avenue, Open 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
Rogers Park: Longtime local leather and LGBTQ bar Jackhammer reopened Thursday for the first time in three years, ownership announced on Instagram. 2Bears Tavern Group, the Chicago hospitality company that operates SoFo Tap and Meeting House Tavern, purchased the bar in 2018 and has now unveiled major aesthetic upgrades to the 24-year-old business. “This project could not have been done without the collaboration of so (so) many people,” co-owners Mark Robertson and Mike Sullivan write. “Biggest bear hugs to everyone involved and to all our customers who anxiously and patiently waited for us to give you the Jackhammer we wanted to give you.” Jackhammer, 6406 N. Clark Street, Open 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. Monday through Friday; 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. to 4 a.m. Sunday.
Wicker Park: Moody upscale cocktail bar Revolver, a new drinking spot from the freshly formed For the People Hospitality group, made its debut in early January at 1270 N. Milwaukee Avenue, the former home of Neon Wilderness. Co-owners LeQoinne Rice and Chris Scardina (also behind the Duplex in Logan Square) have invoked speakeasy-style aesthetics — a sure-fire hit with many Chicagoans — but hope to defy expectations with an unusual exterior facade that doubles as a rotating (one might even say revolving) mural installation from British-born Chicago artist Daniel Wilson. Billy Sunday bartender Jef Tate created Revolver’s drink menu laden with pre-Prohibition classics like Amaretto sours and dirty martinis alongside contemporary cocktails such as the Infante (reposado tequila, orgeat, rosewater). Revolver, 1270 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Open 5 p.m. to midnight Tuesday and Wednesday; 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday and Friday; 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday.
Andersonville: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, the Ohio-based mega-chain with a cult following across the country, opened its ninth Chicago location in early January, according to the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce. The company has taken over the former home of 14-year-old neighborhood destination George’s Ice Cream & Sweets. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Andersonville, 5306 N. Clark Street, Open noon to 11 p.m. daily.
Edgewater: Long-awaited French spot Brasserie by C&C is open after years of planning and preparation at 5938-5940 N. Broadway Street, according to owner Brad Newman. Also behind Green City Market staple Cookies & Carnitas, Newman is leveraging his connections with local farms for the brasserie’s menu, which includes a roasted half chicken with cassoulet, foie gras croquettes, and pan-seared coho salmon. Chef Jesse Lee recently introduced a seasonal three-course prix fixe dinner. Brasserie by C&C, 5938-5940 N. Broadway Street, Open 4 p.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday.
Logan Square: Alpine-inspired neighborhood favorite Table, Donkey and Stick reopened Thursday for the first time since late December when Department of Water Management crews accidentally cut a nearby water line that serviced the restaurant, according to an Instagram post. In the interim, supporters raised more than $15,000 on GoFundMe to help support the 16 staff members left without work. “To everyone who has supported our team over the past month, thank you,” owner Matt Sussman writes. “We love you!” Table, Donkey and Stick, 2728 W. Armitage Avenue, Open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Uptown: New Venezuelan restaurant El Rincon de Fabio opened this week in the former home of short-lived European spot Rhapsody at 1002 W. Argyle Street, ownership announced on Instagram. Menu offerings include plump arepas, crispy empanadas, enormous patacones, and much more. El Rincon de Fabio, 1002 W. Argyle Street, Open 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 pm. Friday and Saturday.
Bucktown: Joba Foods & Bakery, a new bakery that specializes in Agege bread (a soft, sweet Nigerian bread), pastries, and cookies, launched in mid-December on Western Avenue next door to poultry specialist the Art of Chicken, according to an Instagram post. Other offerings include creamy chicken puffs, meat pies, scones, and cinnamon rolls. Joba Foods & Bakery, 2039 N. Western Avenue, Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Irving Park: A new board games cafe serving Puerto Rican cuisine, coffee, cocktails, and beer is open at 3932 W. Irving Park Road with more than 500 games to choose from, according to Block Club Chicago. Stay and Play Game Cafe is co-owned by spouses Jose and Yesenia Maldonado, game aficionados who purchased and renovated the building that previously housed Independence Tap. Menu items include jibaritos, maduros, tostones con ropa vieja, and more. Patrons can also pair their gameplay with drinks like rum punch, Cuba Libres, and Hot Papis (hot toddies with spiced rum). Stay tuned for more on this opening. Stay and Play Game Cafe, 3932 W. Irving Park Road, Open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 4 p.m. to midnight Friday; 3 p.m. to midnight Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Ravenswood: Vegan and gluten-free pastry brand Mindful Baking opened a cafe in late 2022 after eight years of wholesale operations out of a commercial kitchen, according to Block Club Chicago. Owner Diane Mejia crowdfunded more than $16,000 for the project on Kickstarter and is now offering a weekly rotating menu of delights including doughnuts, cupcakes, and pies. Mindful Baking Cafe, 1942 W. Montrose Avenue, Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
The Loop: Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, the Louisiana-based fast food chain known for a loyal fanbase of “Caniacs,” will open a new flagship location on Tuesday across from Millennium Park at 2 N. Michigan Avenue, according to a rep. The 5,000-square-foot restaurant will be the second of its kind in the country (the first opened in 2022 on the Las Vegas Strip) with special Chicago-themed decor such as a table shaped like the Bean, the sculpture formally known as Cloud Gate. Raising Cane’s first entered the Chicago market in 2017 and opened its first city outpost a year later near Loyola University in Rogers Park. Raising Cane’s Michigan & Madison, 2 N. Michigan Avenue, Scheduled to open Tuesday, January 10.