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A food court.
Gangnam Market will soon launch.
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

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The Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings in Chicago, Fall 2023

From a late-night taco omakase, to a Seoul-style food court, here’s what to look forward to this fall

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Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Chicago has kept it together through a slow summer for restaurant openings. Sure, that’s to be expected — summer is a great time to take a break and unplug before the winter. But this year, especially as Chicago continues to recover from the pandemic, the summer was a little flatter than usual.

So let’s be thankful for sweater weather. Fall is approaching and there’s much to look forward to as Eater Chicago has collected 16 restaurants and bars that are scheduled to open this spooky season. Highlights? A few veteran bartenders are opening taverns that place priority with community third places. Meanwhile, a few restaurants are trying to channel Asian night markets, bringing a variety of street food to customers under one roof. Finally, who’s heard of a progressive, late-night taco omakase? Chicago will soon have a restaurant that serves such a delight. Dig in.

Listed alphabetically.

Akahoshi Ramen

Address: 2340 N. California Avenue, Logan Square

Key Player: Chef Mike Satinover

After living in Japan and loving the ramen, Mike Satinover returned home and didn’t feel the ramen available to him matched the bowls he obsessed over. He made it his mission to figure out the best ways to recreate what he missed. The passion led to homemade noodles and pop-ups that quickly sold out. On Reddit, he assumed the identity of ramen_lord, and became an underground sensation. For Akahoshi, he tells Eater he’s aiming for about 150 bowls of ramen a day with a commitment to quality. The base menu is done and they’ll offer specials. Satinover says he has about 25 recipes to pull from and has ideas for styles that aren’t common in Chicago. The variety of ramen on his menu is what will make his shop stand out. They’re looking at an October debut.

Anelya

Address: 3472 N. Elston Avenue, Avondale

Key Player: Chef Johnny Clark

Johnny Clark knows how draining the pandemic was to him and his wife. Their restaurant, Wherewithall, went through the ups and downs of closing and opening. A plumbing issue was the final straw sending Clark and his wife, Beverly Kim, back to the drawing board. But at the same time, the war in Ukraine opened a door for Clark so he could explore his family’s history. He allied with Ukraine charities and began throwing pop-up dinners where he found that Chicagoans don’t have a lot of exposure to the food his family made. The signs were pushing him toward opening a Ukrainian restaurant and that’s what he’s doing with Anelya, which is named after his grandmother. As Kim focuses on her Korean restaurant, the Michelin-starred Parachute, Clark will concentrate on the restaurant a few doors down on Elston. They’re looking at an October opening.

Argot

Address: 2349 N. Lincoln Avenue

Key Players: Dustin Wilson, Chef Lucas DePerry

In January 2022, Verve Wine — which in 2021 opened its Chicago location — closed the restaurant portion of the business inside Lincoln Commons, the development on the former Children’s Memorial Hospital. COVID was about to change the world, and the folks from Verve, a chain, got in front of the pandemic. They hung onto the space which they will rename Argot with a late September debut. A rep calls it a “French bistro with Midwest flair.” The wine list will be French and American, and the dishes include a French onion soup, frisée lardon with maple lardons made of Nuekse’s bacon, and steak frites. There’s also a burger made with American wagyu.

Brasero

Address: 1709 W. Chicago Avenue, West Town

Key Player: Chef John Manion

Before John Manion opened El Che in West Loop, the chef had a small Spanish restaurant in Wicker Park called Mas. The era of Mas has passed, as Division Street has… matured. But over on Chicago Avenue, a few blocks south, there’s a little of the excitement that will remind folks of Mas. And as German-Southern restaurant, Funkenhausen closed, there was a vacancy to allow the prodigal son to return. Manion plans to open Brasero in late November or early December. He’ll offer all the meats off a wood-fired grill, a Manion signature, with the menu intended to remind the chef of eating in Brazil.

Cariño

Address: TBA, Uptown

Key Player: Chef Norm Fenton

Chef Norm Fenton’s last restaurant, Brass Heart, never reached the highs it deserved — a lot of the blame is placed on the pandemic which prevented many diners from trying the intimate tasting menu restaurant. But that’s not the last Chicago will hear from Fenton, a Schwa alum who split his time between Chicago and Mexico to visit his family. Cariño is a 16-course tasting menu restaurant centering around Latin cuisine using traditional and modern techniques. There’s a wine pairing (featuring Latin American wines) and cocktails made with agave spirits, along with spirit-free drinks and agua frescas. If eight courses sound like too much, try a progressive eight-course late-night taco omakase. Fenton says it should appeal to some late-night guests, industry friends, and those looking for something less formal. They’re shooting for a November opening.

Gangnam Market

A colorful computer drawing for Gangham Market.
Kenny Yang is excited about relaunching this West Town market.
Gangham Market

Address: 1001 W. Chicago Avenue, West Town

Key Player: Kenny Yang, Henry Cai

Kenny Yang owns Ken Kee in Chinatown and the Strings Ramen minichain. He’s a native Chicagoan who wants to share his cultures with the city through food. A unique opportunity came early this year when the Urban Market grocery store went up for sale (the pandemic never let the store gain its footing). Yang took over the store and quietly began stocking it with noodles, Asian potato chips, sushi, and other goods. It now resembles a cross between a Jewel, H-Mart, and a Mexican grocer. But there’s also a food court with great potential. He’s already asked his childhood friend, Henry Cai — he runs a little operation called 3 Little Pigs — to take over a stall to sell Chinese food (he’s using the Fathead Henry brand here). There are also two pizza ovens which currently don’t have a set plan, as well as noodle bowls, Hong Kong-style dim sum, bubble tea, and more. Yang is a big dreamer, adding bright neon signs to make it feel like Seoul. If he pulls this off, it could feel like an indoor night market. Look for an official launch in October — the stalls won’t debut at once.

Guinness Open Gate Brewery

Address: 901 W. Kinzie Street, Fulton Market

Key Players: Diageo Brands

It takes a bartender a long time to properly pour a pint of Guinness. Apparently, it also takes patience to wait for Guinness to open its new Chicago brewpub. The Fulton Market project is coming along and pegged for a September 28 opening. The pub — which was originally slated to open in time for St. Patrick’s Day 2023 — should open by the end of September. Look for a full menu of pub food from Irish favorites, some with North African influences, and more. They’ll sell fresh-baked bread, and a rep now says the majority of beer served will be brewed on-site and that includes e a few special selections for Chicago visitors. The coffee will be from Intelligentsia and there will be baked goods from Aya Pastry.

Industry Ales Brewpub

Address: 230 S. Wabash Avenue, the Loop

Key Players: Dan Rook, Zack Blazek, and Matt Wiegers

Chicago continues to wait for Dan Rook, Zack Blazek, and Matt Wiegers to bring their project to life. They already opened Clumsy Cow BBQ. Now, it’s time to open their ambitious brewpub next door to iconic 122-year-old photography retailer Central Camera. A rep says fall, so be hopeful.

John’s Food and Wine

Address: 2114 N. Halsted Street, Lincoln Park

Key Players: Chefs Adam McFarland and Tom Rogers

A pair of veteran chefs who met at New York’s Gramercy Tavern have taken over the Nookies Too space hoping to give Lincoln Park the ultimate neighborhood restaurant. John’s Food and Wine is about simple, tasty cooking. While Nookies was a diner, John’s is focused a little bit more on hospitality and ingredients, bringing a farm-to-table ethos to the room. The chefs and coowners also have another unifying bond: their fathers are both named John. Look for an October opening.

Jook Sing

Address: 1329 W. Chicago Avenue, West Town

Key Players: Paul Mena, Jeff Williams, chef Christian Sia, chef Michael McCants

The owners of Press Room, a West Loop wine bar, have taken over the former Vajra space in West Town and have two chefs working on a restaurant and bar that will serve street food from the Asian diaspora. “Jook sing” means outsider — more or less a Chinese person raised in the West — and chef Christian Sia, who grew up in Singapore, and chef Michael McCants, take this attitude in mixing traditional and modern flavors. There’s a retail portion and the owners hope for a lively night market-like atmosphere. The target is an October opening.

Lemon

Address: 1600 W. Grand Avenue

Key Players: Jeremy Barrett, Zak McMahon, Seth Blumenthal, Mason McIntire

The old Grandbar/Betty’s Blue Star Lounge at the corner of Ashland and Grand will roar once more thanks to a quartet of bar pros. Lemon aims to bring in classic cocktails, fun surprises, and a space featuring music. Like Industry Ales, this bar seems to be interested in being a place that workers actually want to work at. Which, for customers, means good times and good service. Look for more details soon.

Lilac Tiger

Address: 1742 W. Division Street, Wicker Park

Key Players: Chef Zubair Mohajir, Ty Fujimura, Won Kim, David Mor

To compete along Division Street, a restaurant needs a liquor license. And even though Wazwan, the Indian restaurant that features street food like momos, kati rolls, biryani, and more — was constantly busy, chef Zubair Mohajir felt they needed more. So he partnered with Arami’s Ty Fujimura and Kimski’s Won Kim to revive the space. They’ll still serve a few of Wazwan’s favorites (the burger is staying put), but they’ll also serve cocktails from beverage manager David Mor. Mor, who grew up in Israel, says he’ll focus on South Asian ingredients and look to incorporate the chai made from Mohajir’s family recipe. There are no shortcuts. They won’t serve that silly bottled sweet chai concentrate here. Folks in their overpriced yoga gear can get that at the Foxtrot down the street. Lilac Tiger is a collaboration that unites three Chicagoans with Asian backgrounds. Kim’s family is Korean. Fujimura’s family is Japanese. Mohajir’s family is Indian. Together, these super best friends are hoping Lilac Tiger channels the same vibes that Nine Bar did in Chinatown, giving Wicker Park something different. As Wazwan remains closed for renovations, the crew hopes to open in late September.

Ramova Grill

Address: 3520 S. Halsted Street, Bridgeport

Key Players: Chef Kevin Hickey, Tyler Nevius, Brandon Phillips, Sarah Loberg, Other Half Brewing

Plans to renovate the Ramova Theater have been circulating for years. The city of Chicago has assembled an all-star gang of investors for the 1,500-capacity music venue. The restaurant portion, Ramova Grill, is nearing a launch. Duck Inn chef Kevin Hickey and his longtime manager and beverage specialist, Brandon Phillips, have taken a keen interest. Hickey is a South Sider who remembers the Ramova in its heyday. The chef will oversee a 20-seat restaurant next to the Ramova Brewery. Look for burgers, fries, and chili — the restaurant’s signature dish and one Hickey remembers eating before the Ramova ended its 82-year run in 2012. They’ve brought in Sarah Loberg to oversee the operation, with Hickey and Phillips handling food and drinks. New York’s Other Half Brewing will provide the suds. Look for a late fall opening.

Truce

Address: 1935 N. Damen, Bucktown

Key Players: David Mor, Matthew Hunnel, Rami Ezzat, Sarah Kmiec

This is a rare double appearance on the list, with David Mor making it in for Lilac Tiger. Truce is a story of four friends, two couples, coming together to create a classy bar in Bucktown where their friends in the industry and elsewhere can congregate. These bar veterans have worked all across the city, from Robert et Fils, to Bavette’s, to Cindy’s. They’re taking over the 6 Degrees space with huge hopes. After struggling to come up with names, they threw out “Truce” as a means to put a pin in the ongoing discussion. Guess what? The name stuck.

Valedor

Address: 1620 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Wicker Park

Key Players: Spearhead Hospitality

The owners of the Robey Hotel in Wicker Park are trying something new next door inside a former Fairgrounds coffee shop. It’s a cheerful mashup of Japanese and Mexican cultures with exciting cocktails — one mixes sake and horchata. Another incorporates a Japanese tea ceremony. Not many Americans know of the large number of Japanese who moved to Mexico City after World War II. Valedor could be an introduction; the first Japanese immigrants actually arrived in the 17th Century. The sample menu is not only ambitious for a bar, but it’s ambitious for any Chicago restaurant. It could be a real boon for Wicker Park where a lot of cookie-cutter establishments have moved in. Save the area from Sweetgreen, please.

XMarket Vegan Food Hall

Address: 804 W. Montrose Avenue, Edgewater

Key Players: Plant X, Kale My Name, Rodolfo Cuadros

August and September have not been kind to Chicago’s vegan restaurants with Herbivore closing in Bridgeport (due to the chef’s health) and Fancy Plants Kitchen set to close in Lincoln Park (due to slow business). Though the reasons are different, vegans are down two big names, and some would wonder if the community is capable of rallying behind businesses. XMarket Vegan Food Hall is hoping that they can. There’s room for six vendor stalls. Kale My Name and Rodolfo Cuadros (Amaru, Bloom Plant Based) have signed up. Cuadros will unveil a new vegan sushi concept. The market side should open later in September and the food court in October.

Arami

1829 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 (312) 243-1535 Visit Website

Wazwan

1742 West Division Street, , IL 60622 (312) 722-6911 Visit Website

Fancy Plants Kitchen

1443 West Fullerton Avenue, , IL 60614 (773) 857-0486 Visit Website

Nookies

1746 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60614 (312) 337-2454 Visit Website

Funkenhausen

1709 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 (312) 929-4727 Visit Website

Wherewithall

3472 North Elston Avenue, , IL 60618 (773) 692-2192 Visit Website

Robert et Fils

4229 North Lincoln Avenue, , IL 60618 (773) 687-9179 Visit Website

Parachute

3500 North Elston Avenue, , IL 60618 (872) 204-7138 Visit Website

Amaru

1904 West North Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 687-9790 Visit Website

Kale My Name

3300 West Montrose Avenue, , IL 60618 (872) 208-7125 Visit Website

Kimski

954-960 West 31st Street, , IL 60608 (773) 823-7336

Vajra

2039 West North Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 697-4211 Visit Website

Soul & Smoke

1601 Payne Street, , IL 60201 (847) 859-2732 Visit Website

sweetgreen

2234 Guadalupe Street, , TX 78705 (737) 255-8800 Visit Website

Foxtrot

701 King Street, , VA 22314 (703) 419-3185 Visit Website

Brass Heart

4662 North Broadway, , IL 60640 (773) 564-9680 Visit Website

Nine Bar

216 West Cermak Road, , IL 60616 (312) 225-4081 Visit Website

HERBIVORE

964 West 31st Street, , IL 60608 (773) 801-0486 Visit Website
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