Despite a pleasant stretch of unseasonably warm temperatures, it is indeed fall in Chicago. The season portends plenty of surprising, exciting, and delicious debuts all over the city. 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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Lincoln Square: Mexican restaurant El Xangarrito reopened in early November at 4811 N. Rockwell Street less than two months after owners and spouses Rogelio and Erika Benitez closed its doors, the couple announced on Instagram. Rogelio Benitez tells reporters that he was able to successfully negotiate his lease with the landlord, who is also letting the restaurant expand into a neighboring space, so the couple decided to reopen. They founded El Xangarrito, known for a menu of tacos, moles, and enchiladas, in 2020. El Xangarrito, 4811 N. Rockwell Street, Open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Reservations available via Google.
Logan Square: The chef and owner Cafe Marie-Jeanne (which closed in November 2020) has teamed up with the owner of Table, Donkey, and Stick on a new restaurant that channels the vibes of the Humboldt Park spot. Atta girl isn’t an all-day affair, which gives culinary director Bunny more freedom compared to their time at CMJ, but there’s a late-night happy hour, brunch, and all the classic CMJ dishes, like the burger, oysters, and more. Look for more coverage in the coming days from inside the former Dos Urban Cantina space. Atta girl, 2829 W. Armitage Avenue, reservations via Tock.
Hyde Park: Baker and U.S. Army veteran Quinton McNair has transformed his virtual business into a storefront with the October launch of Strugglebeard Bakery, a new sweets spot at 5221 S. Harper Court where he aims to lure locals with cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and more. His menu is laden with Chicago references — there’s a cookie called the Trez V. Pugh (chocolate, caramel, bourbon-roasted pecan) after the founder of Black-owned mini-chain Sip & Savor — and patrons can also expect coffee, tea, and a low-key space to work. Block Club has more on this opening. Strugglebeard Bakery, 5221 S. Harper Court, Open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
West Loop: Nisos Prime, the upscale Mediterranean steakhouse featuring a menu from veteran Chicago chef Rick Tramonto (Tru), opened in mid-November at 802 W. Randolph Street, thus completing the final phase of a two-stage revamp of its shuttered predecessor, Nisos. The opening menu from Tramonto and his team leans into opulent proteins with options including Calabrian butter-poached king crab, Japanese A5 wagyu, and Campo Grande Iberio tenderloin with optional upgrades like lobster tail and sauteed foie gras. There’s also a table-side prosciutto cart, cocktails like the aptly named It’s Dangerous (Figenza vodka, elderflower, pomegranate), and a raw bar. Nisos Prime arrives months after the launch of the more casual and less expensive Prime Bar on the first floor and the Lounge, a clubby nightlife space, upstairs. Nisos Prime, 802 W. Randolph Street, Second Floor, Open 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday and Friday; 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday, Reservations available via OpenTable.
West Town: Chi-Latin, a new bar designed to highlight the past and present of Latin American communities in Chicago, opened Wednesday at 1421 W. Chicago Avenue, owner Fredy Orellana — a one-time dishwasher at Charlie Trotter’s and partner at pan-Latin restaurant Dell’ Rooster — announced on Instagram. An Ecuadorian immigrant who moved to Chicago in the mid-1990s, Orlleana has spent nearly three decades in the city’s hospitality industry. At Chi-Latin, he’s featuring drinks and a limited food menu that draws on flavors and ingredients from his native country as well as Mexico, Peru, Colombia, and Argentina. That means mezcal cocktails infused with smoked fruits and familiar staples like margaritas, as well as dishes like popcorn shrimp-style camaroncitos with yuca frites and a Chi-Latino burger (wagyu, chorizo, dried chiles aioli). Chi-Latin, 1421 W. Chicago Avenue, Hours not yet available.
West Town: New bar, restaurant, and market Nettare, the debut project from veteran bartender-turned-restaurateur Conner O’Byrne (Publican, La Josie), opened in mid-November at 1953 W. Chicago Avenue. An all-day spot that morphs from a morning cafe to a restaurant in the evening, Nettare applies a seasonal approach to cocktails with options like A Dirty Martini (potato vodka, pickle brine). A food menu from executive chef John Dahlstrom (BLVD Steakhouse, Table, Donkey, and Stick) aims to compliment the drinks with dishes that marry Midwestern ingredients to Italian and Mediterranean cuisines — think sturgeon with mushroom sunchoke and tagliatelle with black lime, parmesan, and charred radish. Nettare, 1953 W. Chicago Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Reservations available via Tock.
Wicker Park: Nicuarga-based company Oro Chocolate unveiled its first Oro Chocolate Cafe on Saturday, November 18 at 1553 N. Milwaukee Avenue, CEO and suburban Chicago native Muffadal Saylawala announced on Instagram. Saylawala lived in Nicaragua for over a decade and developed relationships with cacao and coffee bean producers, all while working to minimize environmental impact and even fight deforestation around the world, he tells reporters. The Chicago cafe includes a coffee bar and seating, as well as a production space where the team will roast coffee beans and make chocolates of various shapes, sizes, and flavors. Oro Chocolate Cafe, 1553 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Beverly/Morgan Park: Veteran Chicago chef and restaurateur Quentin Love (Turkey Chop) opened a second location of Soul Food Lounge on Friday, October 27 at 10701 S. Hale Avenue near the border of Beverly and Morgan Park, according to a Facebook post. Love launched the first Soul Food Lounge in 2022 in North Lawndale and created a continent-hopping menu with options like Dominican coconut catfish, sage snow crab gnocchi, and blackened shrimp tamales. Soul Food Lounge South Side, 10701 S. Hale Avenue, Open 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; noon to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Morgan Park: Local mini-chain S2 Southside Bar & Grill opened a new sit-down outpost on Saturday, October 21 at 11043 S. Ashland Avenue, owners and spouses Andre and Suheir Williams announced on Instagram. The new restaurant is the second sit-down location from the couple, who launched the company in 2019 and have rapidly expanded with S2 City Grill & Daiquiri Bar in Calumet Heights and five S2 Express Grill outposts in the city and suburbs. S2 Southside Bar & Grill Morgan Park, 11043 S. Ashland Avenue, Open noon to midnight Monday through Thursday; noon to 3 a.m. Friday through Sunday.
River North: Bally’s Casino Chicago opened inside its temporary home at the historic Medinah Temple in early September, bringing along with it a handful of bars and restaurants designed in consultation with several well-known hospitality leaders. One Off Hospitality (Publican, Avec) had a major hand in the Medinah Bistro and Bistro Bar on the casino’s third floor and brought in the owners of Chinatown’s Nine Bar to consult for Asian noodle bar Kitchen 888. Bally’s own culinary team helms the ground-floor Wabash Cafe and Center Bar. The casino giant plans to break ground on its permanent home in 2024 at the former Tribune printing plant in River West, which is slated to open in 2026. Bally’s Casino Chicago, 600 N. Wabash Avenue, Wabash Cafe open 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily; Kitchen 888 open 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. daily; Medinah Bistro open 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday; Center Bar and Bistro Bar open 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. daily.
River North: Tary Coffee, an all-day cafe chain based in Kazakhstan in Central Asia, unveiled its first location in the U.S. on Monday, October 30 at 111 W. Illinois Street in a tourist-heavy swath of Downton Chicago, reps announced on Instagram. Tary specializes in Kazakh cuisine, the cultural foods of ethnic Kazakhs native to a region that now includes Kazakhstan, as well as parts of Russia, northern Uzbekistan, northwestern China, and western Mongolia. The new Chicago outpost serves breakfast items (think eggs, Benedicts, and several types of porridge) as well as soups, salads, and entrees that range from familiar cheeseburgers to balgyn kuyrdak, a meaty Kazakh stew. Tary Coffee USA, 111 W. Illinois Street, Open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
West Town: Jook Sing, a highly anticipated dining and drinking spot inspired by Asian night markets, opened Wednesday, November 1 at 1329 W. Chicago Avenue in the former home of Nepali and Indian restaurant Vajra. The owners of Press Room in West Loop have tapped chef Christian Sia, who grew up in Singapore, and chef Michael McCants to create a menu of street food from the Asian diaspora, such as the Internet, a meaty instant noodle dish, and Roti John (omelet, baguette, Calabrian chili sauce, Asian pickles). There’s also a bar menu with cocktails, sake, soju, wine, and beer, and a retail section with goods from local artists. Jook Sing, 1329 W. Chicago Avenue, Open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.
Armour Square: Massive Chinese restaurant chain Zhangliang Malatang has opened its first Chicago location at 2002 S. Wentworth Avenue near the Chinatown border. Founded in 2008, Zhangliang Malatang has expanded to nearly 6,000 locations in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and beyond, including U.S. outposts in Los Angeles and New York City. As its name indicates, the company serves malatang, a Sichuanese street food that bears a resemblance to northern Chinese hot pot and is distinguished by numbing pepper and dried chili. Zhangliang Malatang Chicago, 2002 S. Wentworth Avenue, Suite 102, Open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.
Avondale: Deep Red Wine Merchant, a long-awaited bottle shop and tasting spot from Chicago hospitality veteran Dave Thompson (Lula Cafe, Cherry Circle Room) with spooky cinematic flair, opened (appropriately) on Friday, October 13 at 2901 N. Milwaukee Avenue, according to an Instagram post. Named for a 1975 Italian horror film, the shop puts special emphasis on winemakers who are LGBTQ, Latinx, Black, Indigenous, and people of color who have been marginalized in the majority-white wine industry. Deep Red Wine Merchants, 2901 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Chicago Lawn/West Chatham: The Tribune has rounded up a few new openings of Harold’s, the iconic Chicago chicken brand with a storied history on the city’s South Side. The company’s corporate wing has unveiled Chicago Lawn Harold’s Chicken #17 at 2900 W. 63rd Street, while a franchisee has also expanded into a second location of Harold’s Chicken #55 at 129 W. 87th Street. Chicago Lawn Harold’s Chicken #17, 2900 W. 63rd Street, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; Harold’s Chicken #55 on 87th, 129 W. 87th Street, Open 11 a.m. to midnight daily.
The Loop: After closing its locations during the pandemic, Pret A Manger is reopening a Chicago location. Expect the same array of sandwiches and soups that made the chain a Chicago lunch and breakfast favorite. They’re giving away free breakfast for the first 200 customers on opening day, according to a news release. Pret A Manger, 73 W. Monroe Street, opening 8 a.m. on Tuesday, October 24.
River North: Opulent omakase mini-chain Sushi|Bar opens Friday, October 20 at 405 N. Wabash Avenue inside Southern restaurant Lady May, according to a rep. Founded in 2019 in California, the restaurant now operates locations in Miami and Austin, Texas. The 12-seat Chicago restaurant features a 17-course meal with signature dishes including aged bluefin akami with dehydrated miso and everything bagel spice. Sushi|Bar Chicago, 405 N. Wabash Avenue, Open 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Streeterville: Muah Cotton Candy, a new sweets vendor specializing in fairy floss sculpted into whimsical characters and shapes (think unicorns and Pikachus), opened in July on the seventh floor of Michigan Avenue’s Water Tower Place, according to the Tribune. Co-owners and spouses Sonya Song and Shu Zhang have created a menu of around 16 characters in 10 flavors such as cherry and bubblegum, as well as cotton candy-wrapped ice cream and cakes. Muah Cotton Candy, 845 N. Michigan Avenue, 7th Floor, Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
West Ridge: Local Mexican mini-chain Tacos El Tio opened a new location in early October at 6019 N. Lincoln Avenue, ownership announced on Facebook. The space previously housed street foot spot El Carrito. Tacos El Tio operates seven Chicago area locations and offers a lengthy menu of tacos, tortas, burritos, and more. Tacos El Tio West Ridge, 6019 N. Lincoln Avenue, Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Calumet City: Simply Shae Soul Cafe, a new restaurant from chef Shae Mitchell (previously chef and co-owner at Ooh Wee It Is), opened in mid-August at 1674 Dolton Road in south suburban Calumet City, Mitchell announced on Instagram. She’s serving comfort foods like garlic parm wings on curly fries, Hennessy-glazed smoked turkey legs, and more. Simply Shae Soul Cafe, 1674 Dolton Road in Calumet City, Open noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Evanston: Big Wig Tacos, a Chicago taco spot with city locations in River North and Logan Square, has opened its first suburban outpost at 950 Church Street in Evanston, according to its website. Patrons can expect a lineup of build-your-own nachos, tacos, burritos, and bowls. Big Wig Tacos Evanston, 950 Church Street, Open 11 a.m. to midnight daily.
Evanston: New vegan restaurant Soli Grill opened Wednesday, October 18 at 1709 Benson Avenue in suburban Evanston next door to sister restaurant Bat 17, according to an Instagram post. The debut was slightly delayed due to a broken oven, but that stumbling block was quickly rectified and the team is putting out meat- and dairy-free dishes like pulled and barbecued jackfruit sandwiches, sushi, and crispy Buffalo “chick’n” sandwiches. Soli Grill, 1709 Benson Avenue in Evanston, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9:20 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Bucktown: Thai restaurant Eat Fine Design By Khun Kung opened in June at 2062 N. Damen Avenue, owners announced on Instagram. Menu options include Southern Thai-style hat yai fried chicken, larb gai, and po tak talay. Eat Fine Design By Khun Kung, 2062 N. Damen Avenue, Open noon to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Friday; noon to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Bucktown: French favorite Le Bouchon reopened Thursday, September 28, just under two weeks after a kitchen fire forced it to close for repairs, co-owners and brothers Nicholas and Oliver Poilevey announced on Instagram. The restaurant was closed to customers during the time of the fire and no one was hurt, but workers needed to repair large holes in its walls and replace damaged equipment. The brothers are well-known figures in Chicago hospitality, both for their own culinary work and that of their late parents, chef Jean-Claude Poilevey and Susanne Poilevey. Just as Le Bouchon returns, the Poileveys have had to temporarily shutter Obelix, their award-winning restaurant in River North, due to issues with its building. Le Bouchon, 1958 N. Damen Avenue, Open for lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday; Open for dinner 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; Open for dinner 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Fulton Market: A trio of new vendors — Miami-based Basque spot Sua; German-style hot dogs and smash burger slinger Gutenburg, and Lizzy J’s Cafe (a beloved Lincoln Square restaurant that closed in 2022) — are open inside Time Out Market Chicago food hall, according to a rep. These, and several more forthcoming debuts, are part of a larger shift inside the food hall as it moves away from a purely local focus to bringing in vendors that have been successful in other locations around the world. Sua, Gutenburg, and Lizzy J’s Cafe at Time Out Market Chicago, 916 W. Fulton Market.
Irving Park: Mas Tacos, a new Mexican restaurant from the co-owners and spouses behind Earl’s BBQ, Ella’s BBQ, and Firewood BBQ, opened in early September at 4009 N. Elston Avenue, according to Block Club Chicago. Gosia Pieniazek and Artur Wnorowski tell reporters that their tacos, which are filled with barbecued meats like smoked brisket and pulled pork, were such a hit at their other restaurants that they decided to launch the taqueria. The couple have applied for a liquor license, so patrons can expect cocktails in the near future. Mas Tacos, 4009 N. Elston Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Pullman: The Pullman Club Coffee Shop reopened on Friday, September 1 at 605 E. 111th Street around four months after it temporarily closed to complete the restoration of its historic structure, operators announced on Facebook. A hospitality and fundraising arm of the Pullman House Project, the coffee shop originally debuted in May 2023 but hit pause on the business less than a month later. Now it’s back with coffee, hot chocolate, espresso drinks, and more. The Pullman Club Coffee Shop, 605 E. 111th Street, Open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
Rogers Park: Chicago area-based breakfast and brunch chain Honey Berry Pancakes & Cafe opened a new outpost in September at 6606 N. Sheridan Road in the former Bulldog Alehouse, according to its website. Both brands are owned by WeEat Hospitality Group and the spot has retained its liquor license, which means patrons can opt for morning cocktails alongside familiar breakfast staples like waffles, pancakes, and eggs. Honey Berry Pancakes & Cafe Rogers Park, 6606 N. Sheridan Road, Open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
Rogers Park: Nayo African Cuisine, a Nigerian restaurant from kitchen veteran Anayo Nwajiaku, opened in September at 1418 W. Howard Street in the former home of Athena Board Game Cafe, according to Block Club. Nwajiaku’s menu is laden with soup options, including okra and uguba soup, egusi soup, and ukazi soup, as well as jollof rice and moi-moi. Nayo African Cuisine, 1418 W. Howard Street, Open 9 a.m. to midnight daily.
Uptown: XMarket Vegan Food Hall, a new vegan dining hub with six restaurants, a wine and beer bar, a coffee shop, and a bodega-style market, opened Monday, September 18 at 804 W. Montrose Avenue, according to a rep. There are six food vendors including Kitchen 17, a vegan sushi stall from the owners of Bloom Plant Based, and Kale My Name. Management has ambitious aspirations for the space, hoping to hold live comedy, music, and storytelling events as well as game-viewing parties and more. Stay tuned for more on Chicago’s new vegan food hall. XMarket Vegan Food Hall, 804 W. Montrose Avenue, Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Washington Heights: New Haitian restaurant Lior’s Cafe opened in June at 10500 S. Halsted Street, owners announced on Instagram. Its traditional menu includes options like Soup Joumou (a celebratory dish associated with Haitian Independence Day), braised bone-in oxtail with butter beans, and Poisson Rouge, or fried whole red snapper. Lior’s Cafe, 10500 S. Halsted Street, Open 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
West Loop: Paper Plane Pizza, a pop-up-turned-pizzeria from Chicago bar veterans Dustin Drankiewicz (Moneygun, Pink Squirrel) and Milos Stevanovic (The Swill Inn), opened inside From Here On food hall at 433 W. Van Buren Street inside the Old Post Office, according to a rep. Paper Plane specializes in a distinctive style with elements of New York and Neopolitan pies such as the Plain Jane (mozzarella, basil, pecorino romano) and the Chicago Classic (sausage, mushroom, onion, garlic herb oil). There’s a second location in downtown Milwaukee. Paper Plane Pizza at From Here On, 433 W. Van Buren Street, Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.
Oak Park: Ciro, a new Italian counter-service cafe from Italian immigrant and chef Ciro Parlato, opened on Tuesday, September 26 at 1048 Pleasant Street in suburban Oak Park, according to a Facebook post. A native of Corbara, Italy, Parlato tells reporters that he was raised by his grandparents and learned to cook at a young age by working alongside his grandmother in her kitchen at home. He entered hospitality school at 14 and worked in restaurants throughout the Campania region before relocating in 2012 to Miami, and three years later, Chicago. As Parlato is Ciro’s sole employee, he’s opened with takeout-only service and a menu of sandwiches and fresh pasta. Ciro, 1048 Pleasant Street in Oak Park, Open 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.