10 of Chicago’s Best New Eateries
By Lola Mendez
Innovative restaurants are constantly popping up around The Windy City. Here are 10 newly-opened dining experiences from beloved foreign cuisines, classic Midwestern BBQ joints, and the perfect place to indulge your sweet tooth craving.
Head to Lincoln Park for a classic Greek taverna dining experience at the newly opened Avli Taverna. Chef David Tsirekas, who is known for his involvement in the Greek dining renaissance in Australia, developed a menu that takes a fresh spin on Greek specialties including small plates, family-style dining, and tableside Greek spreads. It wouldn’t be a true Greek experience without a steady flow of ouzo along with an ouzo lesson. Greek wine is available for those who have a more refined taste.
📍Location: 1335 W. Wrightwood
Politan Row Chicago
Politan Row Chicago is a new food hall in Chicago’s West Loop offering all-day dining, counter-side service, and a variety of seating options allowing guests to dine, grab a drink, work, or simply relax. Everyone can find something they’ll love to nosh on here. A carefully curated selection of 12 local chef-driven concepts include Sandra Holl of Floriole who offers an array of her staple sweet and savory items; Chris Reed of Bumbu Roux who serves a mash-up based on his popular Indonesian Rijstaffel pop-up; and Yosi Alhadif of LaShuk Street Food who brings fresh homemade spins on various salatim, hummus combos, baklava, and more, inspired by his Israeli roots. Bar Politan is an inviting craft cocktail bar anchoring the center of the space and Perle is a German-inspired, outdoor beer garden in a sleekly designed matte-black shipping container.
📍Location: 111 N Aberdeen St
Machine: Engineered Dining & Drink
Machine: Engineered Dining & Drink is a hip new dining establishment located in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Seasoned chef Trevor Hoyte is at the helm of the kitchen that serves an eclectic menu with dishes that are seasonally inspired and flavor-forward with a Midwestern flair. Aneka Saxon, who joined the Machine team from Chicago’s award-winning bar, The Violet Hour, runs the cocktail program. Machine also has the unique offering of a floral shop—The Florist at Machine. A custom-made floral cart will be wheeled table-side for guests to choose an assortment of flowers and create a gorgeous bouquet for the table and then taken home at the end of the night. This new spot is a great place for a weekend brunch.
📍Location: 1846 W Division St
Lillie’s Q is the spot in Chicago for authentic smoked meats, fried chicken, and southern sides and has undergone some updates to their service model. The restaurant now offers counter walk-up service on a first come, first served basis — with meats cut and weighed on the spot. The menu features Lillie’s Q fan-favorites from the past nine years including pulled pork, tri-tip, smoked wings, Carolina grits, and brisket – which is now available every day, instead of only on Tuesdays. Enjoy some of Lillie’s Q famous regional sauces, or grab a bottle or two on the way out the door.
📍Location: 1856 W North Ave
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For authentic Indian food in Chicago, head to the brand new eatery, ROOH in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. Executive Chef Sujan Sarkar takes diners on a gastronomic journey through modern Indian cuisine with many vegetarian and vegan options among its small plates and entrees. The two-level restaurant also has a private dining room in the basement for events.
📍Location: 736 W. Randolph Street
Jojo’s Milk Bar
JoJo’s Milk Bar serves up creative desserts and elevated classic American diner offerings. The restaurant is adorned with nostalgic elements including a life-size Lite Brite wall, Got Milk Mural, and more, making it super Instagrammable. The modern-day diner menu features gourmet sandwiches, classic supper entrees, and the JoJo’s Fries – waffle fries loaded with a three-cheese blend, bacon, chives, and sour cream. Desserts include whimsical milkshakes such as the Girl Scout with Brownie, Thin Mint Cookie, Graham Cracker, Marshmallow Gummy Bears, and Milk Chocolate.
📍Location: 23 W Hubbard St
Top Chef alum Fabio Viviani’s BomboBar has opened a second location. The new Italian eatery is in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood and is much larger than the original location with 30 indoor seats and 20 seats outside. The decor is garage-chic with neon signs, quirky murals, and more, which are entirely Instagrammable.
They have a lot of savory options but the real draw to come here is for drool-worthy Italian desserts such as the hole-less Italian doughnut, bomboloni, and wash it down with your drink of choice from self serve liquor station that includes red, white, and rose wine, along with cocktails on tap. Go all out and have a scoop of the homemade gelato too.
📍Location: 1529 N. Wells St.
Torchio Pasta Bar
Get your pasta fix at the brand new Torchio Pasta Bar in Chicago’s River North area in a vintage building with matching old school decor vibes, 100-year old exposed brick, wood accents, and antique brass elements. Enjoy authentic Italian-inspired cuisine such as fresh pasta which is made on-site daily and served with seasonal toppings. Try the semolina gnocchi, bucatini puttanesca, veggie pappardelle, or gemelli and pesto. There’s also gluten-free pasta available which is imported from an Italian supplier Torchio means “press” in Italian is named after the vintage hand crank pasta press.
📍Location: 738 North Wells Street
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SX Sky Bar
For a meal with a view, head to the recently opened SX Sky Bar bi-level restaurant and lounge in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. The two-floor restaurant is complete with a vibrant atmosphere of metallic details combined with energetic bursts of color and a fantastic city view.
SX Sky Bar serves small plates and sushi from Chef Christopher Suzuki such as pork belly lettuce wraps with homemade kimchi and fermented pepper aioli, Kentucky fried cauliflower with blue cheese, shaved carrots, celery leaf, and the delicious in-house buffalo sauce, and the asparagus purée, tofu mousse, prosciutto, crusty country bread, soft boiled egg, and tempura asparagus tips.
📍Location: 808 S Michigan Ave
Peruvian cuisine is now available in the Fulton Market neighborhood, thanks to Cabra. This is Stephanie Izard’s fourth Chicago restaurant and is located on the rooftop of the new hotel, The Hoxton. Cabra means “goat” in Spanish, but the Cevicheria serves a wide array of dishes. Enjoy a meal with friends here over shared plates at the warm and welcoming eatery.
📍Location: 200 North Green Street
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