Taste of Chicago may or may not happen in 2023, but the city’s chefs are preparing a fleet of delicious menus that should debut this spring. That means Chicagoans won’t have to endure 90-degree temps and schlep their ways around Grant Park to experience some of the best new tastes in town. Eater Chicago’s spring 2023 most anticipated restaurant opens are packed with variety.
Read on below to find the restaurant openings that will create the most buzz around town.
Address: 214 W. Erie Street, River North
Key Players: Doug Psaltis, Hsing Chen, chef Christian Eckmann, Eat Well Hospitality
The owners of Andros Taverna and its partners have kept this River North project under wraps since 2020 when they purchased the Flair Building, a 140-year-old gallery space that hosted parties and shows. Crews have kept the facade but gutted the space to make room for a Spanish steakhouse in the vein of the type of restaurants visitors would find in San Sebastián in Basque Country. This isn’t the typical River North beef barn with creamed spinach and roasted mushrooms. The beef is from a farm in Pennsylvania — they began growing cattle two years ago so the steak could be ready for the March 2023 opening. There are multiple private dining options and a promise to bring back some of that dining energy that the pandemic stripped away from downtown Chicago. Doug Psaltis, who led Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ RPM wing, has experience sourcing fancy beef, so look for specials diners can’t find anywhere else. Hsing Chen, the talented pastry chef who is also a partner on this project, says the seafood selections will also be top-notch.
Address: 1031 N. Rush Street, Gold Coast
Key players: Jim Banks, Fred Barbara
Tavern on Rush closed last year, and that ended a chapter of Chicago nightlife. The building’s owner decided to take over operations and the remodeled space is called the Bellevue. The two-floor space will be opened seven days a week for lunch, dinner, and late-night drinks. Ownership is excited about a new patio that will offer views of Rush Street.
Address: 2375 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Logan Square
Key players: Joe Frillman, Leigh Omilinsky
Daisies closed its original space the weekend of March 4 as they prepared to move toward Fullerton and Milwaukee, inside a space that most prominently housed the German-American restaurant the Radler. Pasta pro Joe Frillman has a dynamic all-day concept with pastries from former Boka dessert master Leigh Omilinsky. She’s also a partner in the operation. Daisies is an Italian restaurant assembled with Midwestern parts, an operation that allows Frillman and company to have fun. Perhaps for Father’s Day he’ll blast Guns ’n’ Roses and serve baby-back ribs and tell dad jokes. It’s this type of attitude that’s endeared Frillman to the community and with a larger space, look for bigger and better menu options.
Address: 2471 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Logan Square
Key players: Four Corners
Federales is a taco bar in West Loop with a large patio space that’s earned a reputation as a place for 20-somethings to party. This is a concept from Four Corners, and they consulted with Au Cheval’s Brendan Sodikoff originally on the menu seven years ago. They’ve found a similar footprint in Logan Square where they’ll have a retractable roof and perhaps the infamous patio bell. This is the target of customers who slam a shot glass made of ice and then hurl the receptacle at the bell. It’s become a tradition, and Federales’ arrival in Logan Square has concerned some locals who feel it represents a turning point in how the neighborhood will be received. Because when there’s a Federales, what other bars may follow? Look for a spring opening.
Address: 954-960 W. 31st Street, Bridgeport
Key players: Won Kim, Maria’s Community Bar, Marz Community Brewing
Won Kim probably doesn’t get enough credit for what he does behind the scenes in encouraging fellow chefs. Kim, a Chicago native, was the opening chef at Kimski and heralded an era of Polish and Korean mashups, making sense of his employers, the Marszewski of Marz Community Brewing. Now seven years after the opening, Kim is looking for a reset. The graffiti artist and DJ feels more confident in his craft and is prepping a menu that leans more Korean. Now, folks may argue authenticity, but Kim doesn’t want to hear it. Look for kalbi, rice cakes, and chap chae in early April.
Address: St. Regis Chicago, 363 E. Wacker Drive, Lake Shore East
Key players: Hisanobu Osaka, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises plans two restaurants inside the new luxury St. Regis Chicago, a $1 billion toward near Navy Pier. The first restaurant is a Japanese spot called Miru that’s designed to serve the daily responsibilities of hotel guests. But instead of mailing it in, LEYE has brought on chef Hisanobu Osaka to create a restaurant that’s part izakaya, sushi spot, and one that serves a contemporary American breakfast. Perhaps they’ll bring traditional Japanese morning offerings in the future. Look for a spring debut.
Address: 3310 N. Elston Avenue, Avondale
Key player: Barry Sorkin
Smoque Steak is the second concept from Smoque, one of Chicago’s best barbecue restaurants — regardless of North or South side biases. Now they want to open a neighborhood steakhouse using sous vide and other techniques to make even lesser-known cuts of meat taste like butter. Smoque Steak owner Barry Sorkin says a spring debut is the plan.
Address: 3118 N. Rockwell Street, Avondale
Key players: Margaret Pak, Vinod Kalathil
The signs have gone up in Avondale for Thattu, the South Indian restaurant that’s generating buzz. Chef Margaret Pak is drawing on the recipes of her mother-in-law, who lives in Kerala, India. They’ve traveled a few times, exploring the country and looking for inspiration. They’ll initially open for lunch and build up to dinner. This is an independent venture as Pak and her husband Vinod Kalathil have saved for years. They’re known for beef curry and appam, a griddled cake. They’d like to open by the end of March and are instituting a no-tipping policy. Their prices will have the cost of service baked in. There’s a ton of ambition in this restaurant so look for more coverage soon.