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A black table laid with many bowls and plates of Cambodian food.
Khmai Fine Dining is bustling.
Jack X. Li/Eater Chicago

The Hottest New Restaurants in Chicago, September 2022

Seven new restaurants join as Chicago says goodbye to summer

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Khmai Fine Dining is bustling.
| Jack X. Li/Eater Chicago

School’s back in session, the days are cooler, and baseball in Chicago is irrelevant. Yes, it’s September, and time for the latest Eater Chicago Heatmap update. The Heatmap features new restaurants and old favorites creating a new buzz. Whereas the Eater 38 is a collection of can’t-miss stalwarts and bucket-list entries, the Heatmap is the about the now — focused on recent openings that have the city’s diners talking.

This month, seven new restaurants join the list. They include a restaurant that serves an “as seen on TV” chocolate cake; a rare Cambodian entry; a sports bar with food from a James Beard Award winner; and a South Side icon celebrating a birthday. Enjoy.

For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Parachute

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Parachute, the widely adored restaurant from James Beard Award-winning chefs and spouses Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, roared back to life in Avondale in May for the first time since March 2020. Kim and Clark have overhauled the Korean American menu, shelving some of the restaurant’s most well-known dishes (including its popular bing bread) in favor of a clearer emphasis on traditional Korean cuisine. After such a long hiatus — largely spent on much-needed renovations to the building, as well as the couple’s numerous charitable endeavors — the reopening comes as a relief to Parachute’s throngs of fans across the city and country.

A man and a woman wearing aprons and diner-style paper hats stand in the middle of a dining room.
Chefs Johnny Clark and Beverly Kim at Parachute.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

There’s still long lines at Kasama, the only Michelin-starred Filipino restaurant in the world.. The Ukrainian Village cafe continues its morning and afternoon hours, but later in the day the operation shuts down to allow staff to prepare to serve chef Tim Flores’s unusual tasting menu. Flores riffs on classic dishes like lumpia and pancit, while offering modern ingredients such as A5 wagyu. Pastry chef and co-owner Genie Kwon serves up halo-halo and more surprises for dessert. Kasama is on Eater’s list of America’s Best New Restaurants.

A chef wearing an apron and white shirt, and a black face mask, is plating three ice-filled shallow dishes on a kitchen.
Kasama offers the city’s only Filipino tasting menu.
Daija Guy/Eater Chicago

Publican Quality Bread

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In the eight years since Publican Quality Bread launched in the basement of Publican Quality Meats, it’s built up an extensive wholesale business and earned many fans of its whole wheat loaves and pastries, including the James Beard Foundation, which named head baker Greg Wade the country’s best baker in 2019. Now PQB has its own space in West Town with a small cafe where customers can buy baked goods, salads, and sandwiches.

Nine Bar

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Chinatown’s first cocktail bar, a speakeasy-style spot tucked inside the nearly 50-year-old neighborhood institution Moon Palace, has bounded out of the gate since its May debut, attracting crowds with a menu of Asian-influenced cocktails made with liquors like baiju, soju, and shochu in sleek, Blade Runner-esque digs. Nine Bar is the creation of bartenders Lily Wang (Estereo) and Joe Briglio (Blind Barber), and features a fun snack menu from chef Elvis Mom (Spinning J) that includes Hong Kong-style French toast with vegan milk bread, a McKatsu sandwich with American cheese and Bulldog tonkatsu sauce, and waffle fries smothered in mapo chili sauce.

A dark bar with blue lighting.
Nine Bar is hidden behind the swinging kitchen door at Moon Palace Express.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Bronzeville Winery

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One of the toughest tables in town is Bronzeville Winery, the ambitious restaurant and wine bar from urban planner Cecilia Cuff and Silver Room owner Eric Williams (not to be confused with chef Erick Williams of Virtue). Bronzeville residents and diners across Chicago are clamoring to try an exciting menu, which includes a smoked and cured watermelon steak, a trio of fried oysters, and filet mignon.

French cuisine is perched to be trendy once again in Chicago, enjoying the same surge in popularity it’s seen in New York in recent years. The project kicking off this renaissance is Obelix, the project from the Poilevey brothers — they grew up in the restaurant world watching their parents open Le Bouchon and Le Sardine. This modern bistro is a French American take with items like a foie gras taco and a menu section dedicated to duck. Also, look out for outstanding desserts; it wouldn’t be an terrible move to grab a nightcap and something sweet.

An open-face taco.
The foie gras taco is decadent.
Chris Peters/Eater Chicago

From Here On Food Hall

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16” On Center has gotten good a curating Chicago, luring the best local talent in one space and connecting them with new customers. It worked with Revival Food Hall in the Loop and it’s working once again inside the Old Post Office. From Here On has a fun collection of restaurants: There’s healthy options from Fare, there’s a famous spicy sandwich from Chi Chicken. There’s great Mexican from Flo’s, and more. Folks in downtown Chicago are eating out more when called into work, and From Here On is a tasty destination.

A rice bowl with drizzled sauces over beef.
Phobox is one of the many fun choices inside the food hall.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Chef Art Smith’s Reunion

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Art Smith is no stranger to Chicago with the restaurant formerly known as Table Fifty-Two in Gold Coast. Oprah Winfrey’s former personal chef has taken over the main restaurant space at Navy Pier and brought his fried chicken and breads over. Reunion is a port of Smith’s Orlando restaurant and Smith says the menu will change once he has a better understanding of what crowds want. He wants to make the restaurant a hit with tourists and locals alike.

A blue wooden sign in front of Art Smith’s Reunion outside on a sidewalk patio with bushes and patio furniture.
Art Smith’s Reunion is Navy Pier’s flagship.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Ja' Grill Ogden Commons

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The original location of Ja’ Grill brought Jamaican food to Lincoln Park before the owners moved to Hyde Park. Owners found a home on the South Side and now have opened a second location near Douglass Park. Ja’ Grill brings a great sit-down option to an area near Mount Sinai Hospital that is in badly need of restaurants. Find an assortment of jerk and curry items (the goat is highly recommended). Vegetarians should also seek the restaurant out for its options. There’s also a lively bar area.

A bar and lounge space with liquor bottles stacked on a shelf.
Ja’ Grill’s space is bright and comfy.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Fixin Franks

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This is no joke: Some of Chicago’s best hot dogs come from a hardware store. Fixin Franks is located in Home Depots all over Chicago (Avondale, Bucktown, Chatham, West Rogers Park, Chatham, plus five in the suburbs — Evanston, Mount Prospect, two in Niles, and Oak Lawn). They serve Makowski sausages, which have natural casings, a disruptor to the Vienna Beef monopoly. Also, they’ve started to serve Italian beef powered by giardiniera from West Loop sandwich king JP Graziano’s. This humble cart is a draw, so pick up some light bulbs and beefs.

Loaf Lounge

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Two respected chefs, Ben Lustbader and Sarah Mispagel, have opened an Avondale bakery cafe with delicious breads perfected during a pandemic pivot that sprung from a pop-up at modern Indian restaurant Superkhana International. The artisanal bread at Loaf Lounge sells out in the morning. The sandwiches, powered by the bread use farm fresh ingredients. Mispagel also serves the chocolate cake that was featured on the FX TV show The Bear. This cozy cafe will make anyone’s day brighter.

An English muffin sandwich with egg and cheese.
The English muffins at Loaf Lounge are killer.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Mindy’s Bakery

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Mindy Segal’s name maybe on the bakery’s signs, but the Beard Award-winning pastry chef shares credit with her staff, including longtime collaborator Bo Durham. Long lines stretch past Milwaukee Avenue as customers wait to buy bagels, cookies, cakes, and other treats at the new spot from the former HotChocolate owner.

Chris Peters/Eater Chicago

Fora, inside the Emily Hotel (formerly known as Ace Hotel), provides a unique spin on Mexican food in Fulton Market. The focus is seafood with a modern take and techniques. The tortilla service features heirloom corn offering, presented in ways rarely seen in Chicago. Fora pushes boundaries and is a restaurant that will get better as it matures. Fans of Rye Deli, the short-lived Jewish-inspired deli that earned an Eater Award, will note that former chef Billy Caruso, now at Fora, as brought that same thoughtfulness to this project.

Fora/Neil John Burger Photography

Daisy's Po' Boy and Tavern

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The third restaurant from Virtue chef and Beard Award winner Erick Williams is a tribute to cajun and creole cooking. Named for his aunt, Daisy’s is a sports tavern with po’ boys, fried chicken, and cold beer. Hopefully it will give the South Side another anchor, a more casual spot to hang their hats.

A muffuletta open and being topped. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Cellar Door Provisions

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Closed for an extended period during the pandemic, Cellar Door Provisions has made a comeback with more seafood, more wine, and more of the cooking that’s endeared the restaurant to its legions of fans. 

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Khmai Cambodian Fine Dining

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A rare Cambodian restaurant in Chicago serving traditional Khmer cuisine made its debut this summer, shining a long-awaited spotlight on the deep and complex flavors of the Southeast Asian country. In just a few months, owner Mona Sang (who lost her Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises job during the pandemic) has drawn hoards to Rogers Park with her menu — an often-changing assortment of classic Khmer dishes such as Nom Bahn Chok and Plear Sach Koh — and family’s riveting story of surviving the Cambodian genocide.

A daughter puts her arm around her mother as they pose with slight smiles inside a restaurant dining room.
Khmai is a family story.
Jack X. Li/Eater Chicago

Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen

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Originally founded in 1942, Ashkenazi Jewish deli landmark Manny’s is no spring chicken. Known for fluffy, moon-like matzoh balls, and big meaty sandwiches, the casual cafeteria-style spot is a favorite among locals and diasporic Chicagoans across the U.S. The venerable restaurant, now from third-generation owner Dan Raskin, celebrated is 80th birthday in August with by altering its tried and true pastrami recipe. The new and distinctly un-Eastern European offering is a smoked brisket sandwich called the 80. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker even came out for the sandwich’s launch.

A pastrami sandwich on rye and latke.
Behold: The 80, with smoked pastrami.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Parachute

A man and a woman wearing aprons and diner-style paper hats stand in the middle of a dining room.
Chefs Johnny Clark and Beverly Kim at Parachute.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Parachute, the widely adored restaurant from James Beard Award-winning chefs and spouses Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, roared back to life in Avondale in May for the first time since March 2020. Kim and Clark have overhauled the Korean American menu, shelving some of the restaurant’s most well-known dishes (including its popular bing bread) in favor of a clearer emphasis on traditional Korean cuisine. After such a long hiatus — largely spent on much-needed renovations to the building, as well as the couple’s numerous charitable endeavors — the reopening comes as a relief to Parachute’s throngs of fans across the city and country.

A man and a woman wearing aprons and diner-style paper hats stand in the middle of a dining room.
Chefs Johnny Clark and Beverly Kim at Parachute.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Kasama

A chef wearing an apron and white shirt, and a black face mask, is plating three ice-filled shallow dishes on a kitchen.
Kasama offers the city’s only Filipino tasting menu.
Daija Guy/Eater Chicago

There’s still long lines at Kasama, the only Michelin-starred Filipino restaurant in the world.. The Ukrainian Village cafe continues its morning and afternoon hours, but later in the day the operation shuts down to allow staff to prepare to serve chef Tim Flores’s unusual tasting menu. Flores riffs on classic dishes like lumpia and pancit, while offering modern ingredients such as A5 wagyu. Pastry chef and co-owner Genie Kwon serves up halo-halo and more surprises for dessert. Kasama is on Eater’s list of America’s Best New Restaurants.

A chef wearing an apron and white shirt, and a black face mask, is plating three ice-filled shallow dishes on a kitchen.
Kasama offers the city’s only Filipino tasting menu.
Daija Guy/Eater Chicago

Publican Quality Bread

In the eight years since Publican Quality Bread launched in the basement of Publican Quality Meats, it’s built up an extensive wholesale business and earned many fans of its whole wheat loaves and pastries, including the James Beard Foundation, which named head baker Greg Wade the country’s best baker in 2019. Now PQB has its own space in West Town with a small cafe where customers can buy baked goods, salads, and sandwiches.

Nine Bar

A dark bar with blue lighting.
Nine Bar is hidden behind the swinging kitchen door at Moon Palace Express.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Chinatown’s first cocktail bar, a speakeasy-style spot tucked inside the nearly 50-year-old neighborhood institution Moon Palace, has bounded out of the gate since its May debut, attracting crowds with a menu of Asian-influenced cocktails made with liquors like baiju, soju, and shochu in sleek, Blade Runner-esque digs. Nine Bar is the creation of bartenders Lily Wang (Estereo) and Joe Briglio (Blind Barber), and features a fun snack menu from chef Elvis Mom (Spinning J) that includes Hong Kong-style French toast with vegan milk bread, a McKatsu sandwich with American cheese and Bulldog tonkatsu sauce, and waffle fries smothered in mapo chili sauce.

A dark bar with blue lighting.
Nine Bar is hidden behind the swinging kitchen door at Moon Palace Express.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Bronzeville Winery

One of the toughest tables in town is Bronzeville Winery, the ambitious restaurant and wine bar from urban planner Cecilia Cuff and Silver Room owner Eric Williams (not to be confused with chef Erick Williams of Virtue). Bronzeville residents and diners across Chicago are clamoring to try an exciting menu, which includes a smoked and cured watermelon steak, a trio of fried oysters, and filet mignon.

Obelix

An open-face taco.
The foie gras taco is decadent.
Chris Peters/Eater Chicago

French cuisine is perched to be trendy once again in Chicago, enjoying the same surge in popularity it’s seen in New York in recent years. The project kicking off this renaissance is Obelix, the project from the Poilevey brothers — they grew up in the restaurant world watching their parents open Le Bouchon and Le Sardine. This modern bistro is a French American take with items like a foie gras taco and a menu section dedicated to duck. Also, look out for outstanding desserts; it wouldn’t be an terrible move to grab a nightcap and something sweet.

An open-face taco.
The foie gras taco is decadent.
Chris Peters/Eater Chicago

From Here On Food Hall

A rice bowl with drizzled sauces over beef.
Phobox is one of the many fun choices inside the food hall.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

16” On Center has gotten good a curating Chicago, luring the best local talent in one space and connecting them with new customers. It worked with Revival Food Hall in the Loop and it’s working once again inside the Old Post Office. From Here On has a fun collection of restaurants: There’s healthy options from Fare, there’s a famous spicy sandwich from Chi Chicken. There’s great Mexican from Flo’s, and more. Folks in downtown Chicago are eating out more when called into work, and From Here On is a tasty destination.

A rice bowl with drizzled sauces over beef.
Phobox is one of the many fun choices inside the food hall.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Chef Art Smith’s Reunion

A blue wooden sign in front of Art Smith’s Reunion outside on a sidewalk patio with bushes and patio furniture.
Art Smith’s Reunion is Navy Pier’s flagship.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Art Smith is no stranger to Chicago with the restaurant formerly known as Table Fifty-Two in Gold Coast. Oprah Winfrey’s former personal chef has taken over the main restaurant space at Navy Pier and brought his fried chicken and breads over. Reunion is a port of Smith’s Orlando restaurant and Smith says the menu will change once he has a better understanding of what crowds want. He wants to make the restaurant a hit with tourists and locals alike.

A blue wooden sign in front of Art Smith’s Reunion outside on a sidewalk patio with bushes and patio furniture.
Art Smith’s Reunion is Navy Pier’s flagship.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Ja' Grill Ogden Commons

A bar and lounge space with liquor bottles stacked on a shelf.
Ja’ Grill’s space is bright and comfy.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

The original location of Ja’ Grill brought Jamaican food to Lincoln Park before the owners moved to Hyde Park. Owners found a home on the South Side and now have opened a second location near Douglass Park. Ja’ Grill brings a great sit-down option to an area near Mount Sinai Hospital that is in badly need of restaurants. Find an assortment of jerk and curry items (the goat is highly recommended). Vegetarians should also seek the restaurant out for its options. There’s also a lively bar area.

A bar and lounge space with liquor bottles stacked on a shelf.
Ja’ Grill’s space is bright and comfy.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Fixin Franks

This is no joke: Some of Chicago’s best hot dogs come from a hardware store. Fixin Franks is located in Home Depots all over Chicago (Avondale, Bucktown, Chatham, West Rogers Park, Chatham, plus five in the suburbs — Evanston, Mount Prospect, two in Niles, and Oak Lawn). They serve Makowski sausages, which have natural casings, a disruptor to the Vienna Beef monopoly. Also, they’ve started to serve Italian beef powered by giardiniera from West Loop sandwich king JP Graziano’s. This humble cart is a draw, so pick up some light bulbs and beefs.

Loaf Lounge

An English muffin sandwich with egg and cheese.
The English muffins at Loaf Lounge are killer.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Two respected chefs, Ben Lustbader and Sarah Mispagel, have opened an Avondale bakery cafe with delicious breads perfected during a pandemic pivot that sprung from a pop-up at modern Indian restaurant Superkhana International. The artisanal bread at Loaf Lounge sells out in the morning. The sandwiches, powered by the bread use farm fresh ingredients. Mispagel also serves the chocolate cake that was featured on the FX TV show The Bear. This cozy cafe will make anyone’s day brighter.

An English muffin sandwich with egg and cheese.
The English muffins at Loaf Lounge are killer.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Mindy’s Bakery

Chris Peters/Eater Chicago

Mindy Segal’s name maybe on the bakery’s signs, but the Beard Award-winning pastry chef shares credit with her staff, including longtime collaborator Bo Durham. Long lines stretch past Milwaukee Avenue as customers wait to buy bagels, cookies, cakes, and other treats at the new spot from the former HotChocolate owner.

Chris Peters/Eater Chicago

Fora

Fora/Neil John Burger Photography

Fora, inside the Emily Hotel (formerly known as Ace Hotel), provides a unique spin on Mexican food in Fulton Market. The focus is seafood with a modern take and techniques. The tortilla service features heirloom corn offering, presented in ways rarely seen in Chicago. Fora pushes boundaries and is a restaurant that will get better as it matures. Fans of Rye Deli, the short-lived Jewish-inspired deli that earned an Eater Award, will note that former chef Billy Caruso, now at Fora, as brought that same thoughtfulness to this project.

Fora/Neil John Burger Photography

Daisy's Po' Boy and Tavern

A muffuletta open and being topped. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The third restaurant from Virtue chef and Beard Award winner Erick Williams is a tribute to cajun and creole cooking. Named for his aunt, Daisy’s is a sports tavern with po’ boys, fried chicken, and cold beer. Hopefully it will give the South Side another anchor, a more casual spot to hang their hats.

A muffuletta open and being topped. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Cellar Door Provisions