clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Monteverde
Monteverde
Marc Much

Chicago's Top 15 Restaurant and Bar Openings of 2015, Mapped

A look back over the new establishments that made 2015 a memorable year.

View as Map
Monteverde
| Marc Much

2015 saw a great deal of notable bar and restaurant openings in Chicago. Whether fast casual (Nando's Peri-Peri), high end (Intro), or somewhere in the middle (Pub Royale), our fair city was not at a loss for enchanting new food and drink options. Now that 2015 is nearing completion, let's look back over the most memorable of the bunch. Presented in alphabetical order.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Band of Bohemia

Copy Link

Alinea vets Michael Carroll and Craig Sindelar's culinary brewhouse vision for Band of Bohemia took a number of years to be realized, but once the pair locked in with executive chef Matt DuBois things picked up speed. The menu format (a beer is listed at the top of menu pages with a number of suggested food pairings below) caused some initial confusion, but the Ravenswood spot is already gaining positive word of mouth for its drinks, food and for its design after only a month in operation.

Marc Much

Boeufhaus

Copy Link

Boeufhaus' German-influenced take on a meaty brasserie jumped on the scene back in April to neighborhood and critical acclaim. Chef Brian Ahern's menu has hit a nerve with foodies and those within the industry alike. Ahern pushed his uncompromising vision in a untested area of the city and all signs point to it paying off.

Broken Shaker

Copy Link

Taking a hot Miami concept and transforming it for Chicagoans has proven very successful for the folks behind Broken Shaker. Utilizing Native American and old school lounge design touches with cocktails from Freddie Sarkis, this import carved out a bit of hipster nirvana in the middle of River North.

Marc Much

Chicago Athletic Association

Copy Link

One of the splashiest openings of 2015 had to be the Chicago Athletic Association space. Featuring a number of dining (Cindy's, Cherry Circle Room, Shake Shack) and drinking (Drawing Room, Milk Room, Game Room) options, CAA has held the city in rapture since debuting back in May.

Marc Much

Furious Spoon

Copy Link

Shin Thompson takes his ramen seriously and, despite early grumbling (no take away option, high customer turn-out forcing temporary closings), Furious Spoon has proven to be a steady, hot commodity in Wicker Park. Look for the next iteration in 2016 in Logan Square.

Marc Much

GreenRiver

Copy Link

From Danny Meyer and the folks behind NYC's famed cocktail bar The Dead Rabbit, GreenRiver was one of the most hotly anticipated spots of the year and the hype surrounding it proved to be justified. Though the cocktails were the main focus, the food has gotten acclaim, especially the "chicken oysters" (the little piece of dark meat found on the backbone of a chicken thigh).

Marc Much

Intro Chicago

Copy Link

Lettuce Entertain You's decision to close two Michelin-starred L2O at the end of 2014 surprised many, but the bigger surprise was what took its place. Owner Rich Melman wanted to transform the space into a restaurant that introduced the city to up-and-coming culinary talent, giving them a place to showcase their creativity. From starting chef CJ Jacobson to the space's current kitchen head Stephen Gillanders, Intro has received broad acclaim.

Marc Much

Latinicity

Copy Link

Richard Sandoval and Jose Garces' Latin Eataly, the huge food hall on the the third floor of Block 37 shops, found instant success upon opening in early November. After receiving 10,000 visitors in its first three days, Latinicity was forced to close on its fourth day in order to "replenish, restock and rearrange the restaurant."

Lost Lake

Copy Link

Paul McGee single-handedly brought tiki drinks back to life when he opened LEYE's Three Dots a Dash. Upon moving over to Land & Sea Dept., McGee continued his love for the kitschy cocktail form by opening Lost Lake in Logan Square. Lightning did, in fact, strike twice. Bonus: Bar guests can order food from Thank You, the companion Chinese-American restaurant next door to eat while enjoying one of McGee's tasty beverages.

Monteverde

Copy Link

Sarah Grueneberg's decision to leave Spiaggia two years ago and venture off on her own with the recently opened Monteverde has proven successful. The Italian spot is well received with guests and earned quick praise from critics.

Marc Much

Nando's Peri-Peri

Copy Link

Since opening the first Nando's Peri-Peri back in May, three more (in Lakeview, Lincoln Park and the Loop) have opened. The South African chicken chain's flame-grilled chicken proved to be a hit right out of the box.

Pub Royale

Copy Link

The folks behind Trenchermen, Lone Wolf and more turned the former Smallbar Division space into a hotspot specializing in Indian and British pub food. Much like Analogue the previous year, Pub Royale's food, not the focal point leading up to its opening, soon gathered acclaim, pushing it into one of the top openings of the year.

Marc Much

Swift & Sons

Copy Link

Though Chicago is not at a loss for steakhouses, the teams at both Boka and B. Hospitality decided to stake their claim with their own concept. With chef Chris Pandel at the helm of the kitchen and a design from New York's AvroKo (as well as sitting on the ground floor of the Google building), Swift & Sons was one of the splashiest openings of the year.

Marc Much

The Angry Crab

Copy Link

From out of nowhere, this little seafood boil spot caught fire with Chicagoans like few other restaurant openings did in 2015. Featuring no-frills seafood served in plastic bags with customers' choice of sauce mixes and sides, The Angry Crab has the long lines to prove it ranks among the top openings of the year.

The Blanchard

Copy Link

Few restaurants have received the sort of critical and guest praise that chef/owner Jason Paskewitz's The Blanchard has in 2015. By focusing on elegant, classical French cuisine (if you love foie gras, this is your place) with a design aesthetic that fits the food served, Paskewitz's baby is proving to be quite the charmer.

Band of Bohemia

Marc Much

Alinea vets Michael Carroll and Craig Sindelar's culinary brewhouse vision for Band of Bohemia took a number of years to be realized, but once the pair locked in with executive chef Matt DuBois things picked up speed. The menu format (a beer is listed at the top of menu pages with a number of suggested food pairings below) caused some initial confusion, but the Ravenswood spot is already gaining positive word of mouth for its drinks, food and for its design after only a month in operation.

Marc Much

Boeufhaus

Boeufhaus' German-influenced take on a meaty brasserie jumped on the scene back in April to neighborhood and critical acclaim. Chef Brian Ahern's menu has hit a nerve with foodies and those within the industry alike. Ahern pushed his uncompromising vision in a untested area of the city and all signs point to it paying off.

Broken Shaker

Marc Much

Taking a hot Miami concept and transforming it for Chicagoans has proven very successful for the folks behind Broken Shaker. Utilizing Native American and old school lounge design touches with cocktails from Freddie Sarkis, this import carved out a bit of hipster nirvana in the middle of River North.

Marc Much

Chicago Athletic Association

Marc Much

One of the splashiest openings of 2015 had to be the Chicago Athletic Association space. Featuring a number of dining (Cindy's, Cherry Circle Room, Shake Shack) and drinking (Drawing Room, Milk Room, Game Room) options, CAA has held the city in rapture since debuting back in May.

Marc Much

Furious Spoon

Marc Much

Shin Thompson takes his ramen seriously and, despite early grumbling (no take away option, high customer turn-out forcing temporary closings), Furious Spoon has proven to be a steady, hot commodity in Wicker Park. Look for the next iteration in 2016 in Logan Square.

Marc Much

GreenRiver

Marc Much

From Danny Meyer and the folks behind NYC's famed cocktail bar The Dead Rabbit, GreenRiver was one of the most hotly anticipated spots of the year and the hype surrounding it proved to be justified. Though the cocktails were the main focus, the food has gotten acclaim, especially the "chicken oysters" (the little piece of dark meat found on the backbone of a chicken thigh).

Marc Much

Intro Chicago

Marc Much

Lettuce Entertain You's decision to close two Michelin-starred L2O at the end of 2014 surprised many, but the bigger surprise was what took its place. Owner Rich Melman wanted to transform the space into a restaurant that introduced the city to up-and-coming culinary talent, giving them a place to showcase their creativity. From starting chef CJ Jacobson to the space's current kitchen head Stephen Gillanders, Intro has received broad acclaim.

Marc Much

Latinicity

Richard Sandoval and Jose Garces' Latin Eataly, the huge food hall on the the third floor of Block 37 shops, found instant success upon opening in early November. After receiving 10,000 visitors in its first three days, Latinicity was forced to close on its fourth day in order to "replenish, restock and rearrange the restaurant."

Lost Lake

Paul McGee single-handedly brought tiki drinks back to life when he opened LEYE's Three Dots a Dash. Upon moving over to Land & Sea Dept., McGee continued his love for the kitschy cocktail form by opening Lost Lake in Logan Square. Lightning did, in fact, strike twice. Bonus: Bar guests can order food from Thank You, the companion Chinese-American restaurant next door to eat while enjoying one of McGee's tasty beverages.

Monteverde

Marc Much

Sarah Grueneberg's decision to leave Spiaggia two years ago and venture off on her own with the recently opened Monteverde has proven successful. The Italian spot is well received with guests and earned quick praise from critics.

Marc Much

Nando's Peri-Peri

Since opening the first Nando's Peri-Peri back in May, three more (in Lakeview, Lincoln Park and the Loop) have opened. The South African chicken chain's flame-grilled chicken proved to be a hit right out of the box.

Pub Royale

Marc Much

The folks behind Trenchermen, Lone Wolf and more turned the former Smallbar Division space into a hotspot specializing in Indian and British pub food. Much like Analogue the previous year, Pub Royale's food, not the focal point leading up to its opening, soon gathered acclaim, pushing it into one of the top openings of the year.

Marc Much

Swift & Sons