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Bittersweet Pastry Shop Expands Into Pilsen and 12 More Openings

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

An airy cafe space in Pilsen. Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe

Winter may seem like a quiet season in Chicago, but a peek under the hood of Chicago’s hospitality industry will show that even the chilliest time of year can provide plenty of surprising, exciting, and delicious restaurant and bar 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.

Know of a restaurant that’s opening? Email with details so they can be included when this post is next updated.

February 20

Chatham: Maxine’s, a new Italian restaurant from the owners of soul food hit Oooh Wee! It Is!, debuted on Wednesday, February 14 in a space connected to its sister restaurant at 33 E. 83rd Street, according to Block Club Chicago. Owner Mark Walker named Maxine’s after his mother, the late Rev. Maxine Walker, and hopes to honor her legacy of elaborate dinner parties with a menu featuring king crab linguine, Caesar salads prepared tableside, and an unusual salmon Pop-Tart presented in a gold-plated toaster — a riff on Chicago’s distinctive genre of Black-influenced egg rolls. Maxine’s, 33 E. 83rd Street, Open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Lincoln Park: Kosovo-based restaurant chain Pasta Fasta opened its first U.S. location on Tuesday, January 30 at 2468 N. Clark Street, operators announced on Instagram. The quick-serve brand specializes in a variety of pasta for takeout and delivery, but patrons can also dine in at the counter-service spot. Pasta Fasta Lincoln Park, 2468 N. Clark Street, Open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.

Logan Square: A long-awaited outpost of mini-chain Wake-N-Bakery, known for serving food and drink infused with Delta-9 THC, opened in early February at 2757 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Locals have waited since signs first went up in 2022 for the sixth location from the Illinois-based company to debut. A combination of permitting and construction issues pushed back the opening twice, manager Sean Parsons tells Block Club, which gave the team plenty of time to outfit the space with colorful weed-themed murals. Menu items include a variety of lemonades, hot and iced lattes like Lucy in the Sky (lavender, French vanilla), and edibles (infused or not) such as brownies, gluten-free scones, and cookies. Wake-N-Bakery Logan Square, 2757 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Open 8 a.m. to 8 pm. Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Logan Square: Japanese restaurant and cocktail bar Wave Sushi & Sake opened in early February at 1858 N. Western Avenue. Located next door to Dark Matter Coffee’s Electric Mud Coffee Bar, the low-lit spot offers both traditional and creative maki alongside donburi and Asian-style carpaccios. Wave Sushi & Sake, 1858 N. Western Avenue, Open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

North Park: Faiza Chicago, a new halal restaurant serving Uyghur cuisine, opened in early January at 3315 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue inside the former home of Korean BBQ House, owners announced on Instagram. It’s a rare spot where diners can find the food of China’s persecuted Turkic Muslim minority (there’s also Uyghur-owned Café Alif in West Ridge) featuring lots of dumplings, noodles, stir-fries, and grilled meats. Faiza Chicago, 3315 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

O’Hare International Airport: Travelers passing through Terminal 5 at O’Hare International Airport have two new dining options: The Hampton Social, a mini-chain from Nisos Prime owner Parker Hospitality; and West Loop’s Bar Siena, according to a rep. Both restaurants opened in late January amid the latter stages of a $1.3 billion expansion and renovation on the terminal. The Hampton Social, Terminal 5 - M6, Open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; Bar Siena, Terminal 5 - M34, Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Old Town: The owners of Nepal House have at long last unveiled a 45-seat new location at 158 W. Division Street after massive renovations to the former home of Sarpino’s Pizzeria. Nepal House has locations across the city and runs Chicago Curry House in South Loop. Nepal House Old Town, 158 W. Division Street, Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Pilsen: Sweets stalwart Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe, a premiere Chicago bakery in Lakeview for over three decades, unveiled its second location on Friday at 2019 S. Laflin Street. It’s a major expansion for owner Esther Griego, a Mexican American who is partnering with Top Chef alum Katsuji Tanabe on a special menu only available in Pilsen featuring creative and traditional Mexican favorites like conchas and palmiers. Griego and Tanabe have also tapped the talents of Marcos Carbajal, the second-generation owner of Carnitas Uruapan and a 2024 James Beard semifinalist, for a carnitas quiche. Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe Pilsen, 2019 S. Laflin Street, Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Streeterville: Chef Steve Chiappetti, a hospitality veteran who last year took over ground-floor restaurant the Albert inside the Hotel EMC2, opened new pizzeria and wine bar Archive Lounge on Friday, February 9 on the second floor of the hotel at 228 E. Ontario Street, according to a rep. A casual, 40-seat spot, the lounge offers a rotating lineup of Sicilian-style pizzas (opening options include a smoked duck pie with toasted pine nuts and goat cheese) and snacks such as salsiccia and peppers. Archive Lounge inside the Hotel EMC2, 228 E. Ontario Street, 2nd Floor, Open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Uptown: Mao Bar, a new cocktail bar serving a wide range of Asian spirits, debuted in December 2023 at 4949 N. Broadway inside Thai restaurant Immm Rice & Beyond, owner Drew Suriyawan announced on Instagram. Suriyawan, who opened Imm in 2015, tells Block Club that he aims to fill a cocktail void in Asia on Argyle with drinks like Siam Square (Kura Pure Malt Japanese Whisky, A.E. Dor V.S. Cognac, Bodega Martinez Lacuesta Rojo Vermouth, aquavit) and Paper Tiger (pineapple amaro, Nonino Amaro, Alta Verde Amaro, blood orange sour). Mao Bar, 4949 N. Broadway, Open 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

West Loop: Local barbecue heavy-hitter Soul & Smoke launched its fourth Chicago area outpost on Friday, February 16 at 500 W. Madison Street inside the Accenture Tower skyscraper, according to a rep. The team is serving chef D’Andre Carter’s popular prime brisket sandwich, shrimp and grits, smoked meats by the pound, and a handful of salads and bowls. Soul & Smoke West Loop, 500 W. Madison Street, Open 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

West Town: Modern Relish, the hotly anticipated replacement for longtime hot dog stand Duk’s Red Hots, opened in late January at 636 N. Ashland Avenue, the Sun-Times reported. Duk’s closed in December after business partners Anthony “Tony” Pagliuca and Angela Villanueva bought it from founder Mervyn Dukatte. They’ve applied for a liquor license and plan to sell wine and beer once it’s approved. In the meantime, patrons can count on street food staples like Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef, and pizza puffs. Modern Relish, 636 N. Ashland Avenue, Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

January 5

Fulton Market: Sushi stall Madai opened in December inside Time Out Market Chicago, according to (guess who) Time Out Chicago, bringing a Japanese option to fill a void left by the exit of longtime favorite Arami. Madai is helmed by chef Ismael Lucero Lopez (Japanais, Rebar, TenGoku Aburiya, Arami), who will bring some Latin influences to options like El Baja (panko ebi, tuna, avocado, marinated jalapenos) and Tres Ronin (tuna, hamachi, salmon, cliantro, poblano, lime zest). Madai, 916 W. Fulton Market inside Time Out Market Chicago, Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Garfield Ridge: After a lengthy shutdown and renovation process, Villa Rosa Pizza reopened on Thursday, January 4 in a new space at 5786 S. Archer Avenue, owners announced on Facebook. Originally founded in 1972, the neighborhood pizzeria was shut down by the Chicago Department of Public Health in September 2022 and has been under construction ever since, with operators regularly updating fans with pictures of the buildout on social media. “We want to thank you, all the Villa Rosa fans, friends, and family for your patience and support and look forward to seeing you!” they write. Villa Rosa Pizza, 5786 S. Archer Avenue, Hours not yet available.

Lincoln Park: Brun, a cookie shop from the team behind vegan empanada business Fons, opened Tuesday, January 2 at 2566 N. Clark Street. The counter-service spot has replaced the original Fons location, though a trio of empanada outposts remain. Brun is decidedly not vegan, with a menu of cookie flavors including strawberry, banana pudding, “brookie” (read: brownie cookie), and birthday cake, plus stuffed cookies such as Biscoff and Nutella. Brun Cookies, 2566 N. Clark Street, Open noon to 10 p.m. daily.

Lincoln Square: Cafe Mas, a vegan coffee shop and cafe from the owners of Penelope’s Vegan Taqueria, opened in late December at 2310 W. Foster Avenue, the team announced on Instagram. The Mexican-owned cafe is awash in brightly colored murals and serves a variety of hot and cold coffee drinks, as well as dishes like the Power Burrito (refried beans, spinach, kale, pico de gallo, avocado). Cafe Mas, 2310 W. Foster Avenue, Open noon to 5 p.m. daily.

The Loop: Celebrity chef Fabio Viviani will launch his latest project, “sexy” Mediterranean restaurant and cocktail bar Seville, on Saturday, January 6 on the 16th floor of The Canopy by Hilton Chicago at 243 S. Franklin Street, according to a rep. Viviani (Siena Tavern, Bar Siena, Prime & Provisions) promises a sharing-friendly seasonal menu that traverses the costal regions around the Mediterranean Sea with opening dishes like grilled octopus (fingerling potatoes, nduja) and paella-style risotto (clams, mussels, shrimp, chorizo, chicken, saffron). The 5,900-square-foot rooftop dining room is lined with windows for views of the city and there’s a 1,700-square-foot outdoor bar and lounge space that will be open almost year-round with heaters. Seville, 243 S. Franklin Street, 16th Floor, Open Saturday, January 6, Reservations available via Seven Rooms.

Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe

1114 West Belmont Avenue, , IL 60657 (773) 929-1100 Visit Website

Time Out Market Chicago

916 West Fulton Market, , IL 60607 (312) 637-3888 Visit Website

Immm Rice & Beyond

4949 North Broadway, , IL 60640 (773) 293-7378 Visit Website

Modern Relish

636 North Ashland Avenue, , IL 60622 (312) 733-0069 Visit Website

Nepal House

1301 South Michigan Avenue, , IL 60605 (312) 922-0601 Visit Website

Soul & Smoke

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

The Hampton Social

9101 International Drive, , FL 32819 (689) 800-6760 Visit Website