It’s been a tough year for bars and restaurants, no doubt, but we’re excited to see new ones popping up around town!
Chicago’s world-class food and drink scene has experienced one of the biggest hits from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped it from pushing forward and welcoming new establishments to the city. Check out and support these new spots!
Updated April 2, 2021
Photo via GoldenDagger.com
2447 N. Halsted St. - Lincoln Park
Longterm Lincoln Park resident Tonic Room reopens later this month with a new name, new look and even better vibes. Owner Donnie Biggins calls it a "rebrand recovery plan." With live music still mostly on hold (with hopes of returning soon), he redesigned the bar and venue to be more adaptable to the current times. Golden Dagger will not only host concerts when they return (on a newly built stage), but it also sports a 30-seat patio, a coffee bar serving local roastery Skylight Coffee brews and a small market offering locally made goods like candles and music from Chicago artists.
Photo via Heron Agency PR
900 E. Grand Ave. - Navy Pier
Much like everything else at Navy Pier, its newest restaurant is big! With ample indoor seating and a 150-person patio, there's plenty of room for distanced dining here. The restaurant, offering lakefront views and a Latin-inspired menu, is attached to the Sable Hotel on the pier, which opened last year. Spend a summer day here noshing on tacos, tapas, skirt steak and more.
Photo via Facebook/Junebug Cafe
851 N. Ashland - West Town
Junebug Café's second location has opened in West Town, bringing New Orleans favorites like meat pies, gumbo and beignets to the neighborhood. The first location opened at Six Corners in 2018. The restaurant is currently offering delivery and takeout.
Photo via Facebook/Parson's
2109 W. Chicago Ave. - West Town
The Parson's empire expands to West Town today, April 1! The fried food aficionado's new location resides in the former home of The Rookery and Old Oak Tap. Anyone familiar with the space will recognize that it's perfect for Parson's signature patio vibes. The building has also been converted to boast the restaurant's classic white and red color scheme. We hope the neighborhood is ready for all the hush puppies and negroni slushies it can handle! Check the website for more info.
Photo: Juancho Garzav via KLPR
149 W. Kinzie St. - River North
Pizza lovers can have it both ways at River North's newest restaurant. Tree House offers both wood-fire Neapolitan pies and crispy-crusted Detroit-style pizzas. The menu reads like an Italian cuisine "greatest hits" list, filled with options like fried calamari, pasta, steak frittes, a juicy burger and more. It's open now for limited indoor dining. Make a reservation.
Photo via Facebook/Big Mini Putt Club
1302 N. Milwaukee Ave. - Wicker Park
Indoor mini-golf with a full bar? We say, "hell yes." The Big Mini tees off in Wicker Park on Friday, March 26. The bar's signature course offers 9 holes of fun and plenty of putting green-themed cocktails like the Back 9 Banana-Rama and Lucky Break Mojito. The course is open seven days a week and is strictly 21+ after 5 p.m. In light of ongoing coronavirus precautions, parties are limited to four people per game for now. Reservations are required and can be made online!
Photo via Facebook/Guy's Flavortown Kitchen
90 Yorktown Rd. - Lombard, IL
15350 S. 94th Ave. - Orland Park, IL
604 N. Milwaukee Ave. - Wheeling, IL
That's right! Guy Fieri has arrived in the suburbs. The Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives guru brings his delivery-only Guy's Flavortown Kitchen to Lombard, Orland and Wheeling beginning in March. Get your fill of the TV personality's faves like cheesesteak egg rolls, Italian Stallion salad, bbq wings and more from the comfort of your home. It's dynamite! Order here.
Photo via Facebook/The Press Room
1134 W. Washington Blvd. - Fulton Market
The Press Room in Fulton Market is transforming into Chicago's newest speakeasy and bringing some much-needed live music to the space! Dead Plants, a reservation-only concept pops up every Thursday, Friday and Saturday with candelight dinner and cocktail service. On the second Saturday of every month, catch the bar's "Cabaret Series" featuring local musicians. Find out how to make a reservation here.
Photo via Wagstaff Media & Marketing
1150 S. Michigan Ave. - South Loop
With the wane in in-person dining, ghost kitchens have become a hot new trend in Chicago. Charred Wing Bar is the latest to-go-only restaurant to pop up in South Loop. This new gameday standby serves up 18 flavors of wings including creative sauces like Carolina mustard BBQ sauce, a Korean glaze, a Peruvian pepper sauce and more! Place an order for pickup or delivery online.
Photo via Facebook/Brasseaux's Cajun Kitchen
2537 S. Wabash Ave. - South Loop
We can't wait to travel again and visit the South for some real Cajun flavor. Until then, Louisiana native and chef Robert Brasseaux is stepping up to bring authentic dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp etoufee and more to our doorsteps. Brasseaux's Cajun Kitchen is a new to-go only concept operating out of South Loop. Place an order for pickup or delivery online! Oh, did we mention you get free beignets with every order? Now, that's the Southern comfort we're craving.
Photo via Facebook/Pablo's Tiki Snack Shack
2537 S. Wabash Ave. - South Loop
If you've ever walked along the lakefront near Monroe Harbor, you've probably come across a floating oasis named Pablo's Tiki Snack Shack. The floating restaurant and bar—owned by Chilean-born tropical flavors enthusiast Pablo Suarez—has opened a new to-go-only restaurant just in time to bring some summery vibes to our stomaches. Order favorites like Cubano slider, chili-glazed wings and plantain cups to enjoy at home.
Photo via Kinship PR
1542 N. Damen Ave. - Wicker Park
Chef Bill Kim, best known for his Asian fusion ventures like urbanbelly and bellyQ, is exploring a new regional cuisine. The chef's new Pizza & Parm Shop—operating out of the urbanbelly space in Wicker Park–is serving up Detroit-style pies beginning February 3. The takeout-only restaurant will also have chicken and cauliflower parmesan on the menu. Fans of Kim's traditional flavors won't be disappointed though. Keep an eye out for the Korean BBQ ground beef and kimchi pizza along with other creative creations! Order online starting next week.
Photo via Kinship PR
1856 W. North Ave. - Bucktown
Move over, Popeye's. There's a new fried chicken sandwich in the neighborhood. Boxcar Betty's has just opened its second location in Chicago in the former Lillie Q's space in Bucktown. The first opened inside the Ogilvie Transportation Center in 2018. The signature Charleston, South Carolina-style Boxcar sandwich comes dressed with pimento cheese, peach slaw, pickles and spicy mayo. Order it now for pickup or delivery.
Photo via Facebook/Pilsen Yards
1163 W. 18th St. - Pilsen
When Pilsen restaurant Monnie Burke's closed last year, its owners weren't quite ready to leave the neighborhood. That's why they put their heads together and conceived Pilsen Yards—a new Mexican casual fare restaurant that's built for outdoor winter dining. In addition to bites like ceviche and carne asada and an exquisite cocktail menu, Pilsen Yards boasted a beautiful patio complete with a firepit and radiant-heat concrete floor. Make reservations online.
Photo via Instagram/stoutredbeard
3734 W. Irving Park Rd. - Irving Park
Baseball season is still months away but you can start gearing up for it now by ordering from the North Side's newest spot, Big League Burgers. This Cubs-themed restaurant features burgers (duh), gyros, nachos and other treats reminiscent of a summer day at the ballpark. It's now open for patio dining and takeout. Call 773-961-7558 to place an order.
Photo via Facebook/Offset BBQ
1720 N. California Ave. - Humboldt Park
Humboldt Park just got a little smokier. Offset is a new BBQ spot offering all the faves like St. Louis-style ribs, briskey, smoked wings and more. Don't overlook menu items with an international flair like the BBQ Bibimbap and Abuelita's Rice Bowl. Order online for pick-up and delivery.
Photo via Facebook/Milk Money Brewing
75 S. La Grange Rd. - La Grange, IL
After a challenging 2020, La Grange's first brewery is now open! Milk Money brings seasonally-driven beers, cocktails and food to the area. Current beers range from citrus-y IPAs to a chocolate-tinged milk stout. Milk Money is open now for limited indoor seating (surrounding an open garage-style door) as well as beer, cocktails and food to go. Order and make reservations online.
Photo via Facebook/Kapitan
2142 N. Clybourn Ave. - Lincoln Park
Chicago's only Peranakan restaurant is now open! From the owners of Logan Square Malaysian restaurant Serai comes Kapitan. Peranakan (also called Nyonya) cuisine comes from Chinese migrants who settled in Penang, Malacca, Singapore and Indonesia. Kapitan serves tasty staples like Nyonya curry chicken and bak kwa, jerky-like sweet meat. Place an order on DoorDash.
Photo via TaqueriaChingon.com
2234 N. Western Ave. - Bucktown
Bucktown has a new taqueria and the response has been big. Customers have been lining up for al pastor, asada and more delicious tacos from this new spot. There's even a veggie al pastor options for meat-free friends! Place your order online now.
Photo via Facebook/Coastal Soups
1954 N. Halsted St. - Lincoln Park
No one is embracing quarantined soup season like Summer House Santa Monica. The Lincoln Park hotspot has launched a new carryout and delivery-only restaurant, Coastal Soups, out of its kitchen. Place an order for one of eight soups offered daily and delivered right to your door. Each hearty helping of soup will be paired with house-baked bread. Explore the menu and place an order here.
Photo via JP Cutler Media
1050 E. 47th St. - North Kenwood
After closing at the start of the pandemic, all-day cafe Carver 47 has reopened with a new menu and in a new location. In addition to coffee, tea, juices, breakfast and lunch, the cafe is also offering declious dinner boxes to break up the monotomy of quarantine cooking. The new menu, as well as the restaurant's name, is inspired by famed scientist and inventor Dr. George Washington Carver and his relationship with nature. Carver 47 is now open inside the Little Black Pearl Art & Design Academy building in North Kenwood. Visit the redesigned website for menu options and online ordering.
Image Via Facebook / portillos
3343 W. Addison
Portillos isn't exactly new in Chicago but the new Avondale location on Addison and Kimball adds to our city's legacy. Get an Italian Beef with giardiniera peppers or a chocolate cake shake for dessert!
image via facebook french quiche
2210 N. Halsted St.
Travel may be limited but you can still get a taste of France while staying in Chicago. A new French cafe has made it to Lincoln Park! Chow down on your favorite quiche, flat bread, crepe and more. Put in your order online here.
Image via Facebook Cluck-It Chicago
2537 S. Wabash Ave.
Calling all chicken lovers! Cluck-It Chicago has sprouted legs in the South Loop. We're talking classic fried chicken sandwiches and wings galore; all locally sourced, farm-raised. Place an order for delivery and pick up now.
Image vis USA Restaurants
Jerk It Iz
8239 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
Chatham, jerk has never been closer! Jerk It Iz is a new spot for our South Side friends who love the flavorful taste. Our favorite is the jerk wings dinner but fish steaks and catfish nuggets are a close second. Call 773-322-4200 carryout, delivery and even catering.
Image Via Facebook How Bao Dat
How Bao Dat
2537 S. Wabash Ave.
Skewers, ramen and baos—oh my! This newly opened Black-owned fusion restaurant has been taking Chicago by storm. Chef G hosted a pop up restaurant featuring the delicious Bao Buns and two years later How Bao Dat calls South Loop their home. Be sure to place an order for delivery or pickup here.
Photo via Facebook/Nipsey's
9156 S. Stony Island Ave. - Calumet Heights
Fans of the Martin Lawrence '90s sitcom "Martin" will appreciate the South Side's newest comfort food kitchen. Nipsey's, a nod to the show's character by the same name, opened last week and is currently serving Southern-style classics like fried catfish and chicken dinners as well as specialty pizzas, salads and more. Once dining rooms reopen in Chicago, guests will be able to enjoy the restaurant's retro lounge appeal. For now, place orders to go here.
Photo via Facebook/Wake 'n Bacon
420 W. Belmont Ave. - Lakeview
Former owners of Dragonfly Mandarin in West Loop (now Bar Siena) have opened up their new shop in Lakeview and it's all kinds of mouthwatering. Wake 'n Bacon serves breakfast and brunch dishes all day with Filipino flavors and CBD mixed into the menu. With dining rooms closed, you'll have to experience brunch at home for now by ordering online!
Photo courtesy of Bokuchan's
3517 N. Spaulding Ave. - Avondale
Furious Spoon chef Shin Thompson is adapted to the times and launching his first "virtual restaurant" concept, Chicago's first Japanese curry house. Thompson credits his grandmother's curry as the inspiration for his latest to-go-only venture. Japanese curry is sweeter and milder than the Indian flavors we're more familiar with. Order one of seven curries or choose from a number of other entrees and sides for delivery or pick-up on Tock.
Photo via Facebook/Cheba Hut
1950 W. Division St. - Wicker Park
A new weed-themed sandwich shop called Cheba Hut has arrived in Wicker Park. This national chain has been around since 1998, but this location is the first in Illinois. While they are known for their toasted subs, they also offer other punny food choices like munchies, treats and drinks known as Cottonmouth Cures. This spot also has a full bar with a selection of local craft beer and spirits. You’re sure to have a good time if you roll over to this joint!
Photo via Facebook/Surge Billiards
3716 W. Fullerton Ave. - Logan Square
Surge Billiards is complete with 11 professional pool tables and a 30-seat bar, making it a great social hub for the community. This location is the third pool hall for the owners, who also have locations in Edgewater and Albany Park. This spot offers cocktails, beer, wine, cheese boards, dessert and more. Swing by and get a socially distanced game of pool going with some friends!
Photo via Instagram/El Oso
5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West (Inside The Promontory) - Hyde Park
Something new has popped up at The Promontory! The restaurant's kitchen will feature a residency from chef Jonathan Zaragoza (owner and operator of Birrieria Zarragoza) through the end of the year. The short term concept, titled El Oso, will feature wood-fired dishes with a focus on masa, a corn-based dough most commonly used to make tortillas. The restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday and offers counter service so you can take your meal to go or site in The Promontory's dining space.
Photo via Instagram/Retreat at Currency Exchange
305 E. 55th St. - Washington Park
Currency Exchange Cafe is adjusting to the times and changing for the better. The popular Washington Park hub has found a new life in 2020 as a space for chefs, artists and creatives of color whose ability work has been lost due to the pandemic. In addition to coffee, tea and cocktails, the incubator will feature a rotating menu from local restaurants and chefs. Get food from O, Black Cat Pizza during October. Patrons are encouraged to take their food and drinks to go, but indoor dining is available as well as meeting spaces, a new and used record shop and work spaces.
Photo by Wade McElroy/Via Slow Down Co.
2545 N. Kedzie Ave. - Logan Square
A new sandwich shop has opened in the former Young American space in Logan Square. Big Kids is a collaboration between Ryan Pfeiffer (formerly of Blackbird) and New Orleans chef Mason Hereford, best known for the success of his NOLA-based sandwich shop Turkey and the Wolf. The new restaurant's menu is a tribute to '90s nostalgia featuring a vegetarian take on Taco Bell's Crunchwrap and cocktails such as the "Ecto Cooler." Big Kids is now open for pre-orders via Tock.
Photo via Facebook/Ørkenoy
1757 N. Kimball Ave. - Humbolt Park
There is little this creative new space and brewery doesn't provide! Ørkenoy is reopen now to serve delicious lagers, cocktails, adventurous open-face Scandinavian sandwiches and—most importantly—a safe experience. Reservations (and masks) are required to find out what these beer makers have to offer!
photo via instagram/gold goose tartine
111 N. Aberdeen St. - West Loop
The newest addition to the offerings at Politan Row, Gold Goose Tartine centers around Old World café fare like sandwiches and toasts including French open-faced sandwiches, Danish smørrebrød and more. It will be serving on the patio from September 1 through 6 and then unveiling its full menu as well as pickup and delivery options beginning September 7th.
photo via facebook/krewe po'boy shop
3365 N. Clark St. - Wrigleyville
Brought to you by the same team behind Houndstooth–and conveniently located next door–Krewe Po'Boy Shop is here to help you indulge in your Southern favorites. The menu consists of po'boys, jambalaya, gumbo and more. Get yourself a heaping plate today in-person, or order for delivery or pickup!
Photo via facebook/tallboy taco
676 N. Saint Clair St. - Streeterville
Good news: you don't have to be tall to hit up Tallboy Taco. All you need is an appreciation for California-inspired street tacos and an appetite. The menu includes breakfast tacos served all day, classics like carne asada and al pastor, and some curveballs like the 18 hr. smoked brisket. One thing's for sure, you can't go wrong with any of these choices. Stop by today or order for delivery and pickup here.
Photo via Instagram/Easy Does It
2354 N. Milwaukee Ave. - Logan Square
East Room's former space is occupied once again! Easy Does It, a combination bottle shop and bar, is officially open in Logan Square. A spacious patio allows guests the opportunity to enjoy socially distanced drinking. The new bar, helmed by the same team as East Room and Dorian's in Wicker Park, offers a different, less party-centric vibe than its predecessor—championing the mantra, "Life's fast. Drink slow." Reservations can be made on Tock.
Photo via Unsplash/Ben Stern
1177 N. Elston Ave. - Goose Island
A Latin-inspired seafood spot has arrived on Chicago's riverfront. Those familiar with the space—which formerly housed Estate—will recall scenic riverfront views and an abundance of outdoor dining areas. Seafood comes in all forms here—raw, fried, baked and grilled. If you can't travel to the ocean this year, Azul can provide the vibes you need to feel like you're on vacation.
Photo via Instagram/Pizza Lobo
3000 W. Fullerton Ave. - Logan Square
Heisler Hospitality's (Sportsman's Club, Pub Royale) latest unveiling occurred in the former Big & Little's space in Logan Square. Boasting a giant patio and New York-style pizza, Pizza Lobo is now open for outdoor dining seven days a week. Fans of the bar group's pizza at Lone Wolf will find comfort in these slices along with a menu full of summery cocktails, wine and beer.
Photo courtesy of Kinship Company PR
221 N. Columbus Dr. - The Loop
Without the usual influx of tourists, Chicagoans have the best access to downtown restaurants this summer, like the recently opened FireLake at the base of the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel. The restaurant's smoker is running 24 hours a day, the fresh-water fish specials on the menu are locally sourced and seasonings are made with herbs straight from the rooftop garden. It's open now for indoor and patio dining.
Updated August 13
photo via facebook/the perch
1932 W. Division St. - Wicker Park
The newest restaurant from 4 Star Restaurant Group and Finch Beer Co., The Perch hits Wicker Park with a new outdoor patio and sculpture garden. While the inside will be closed for the meantime, that’s no problem since we’d rather enjoy the great outdoors while sipping on those Finch beers. Delivery and carryout details are unclear at this time, but we imagine we’ll hear more soon!
photo via instagram/tamale guy
2018 W. Chicago Ave. - Ukrainian Village
We’re positive that we’re not the only ones who have missed Claudio and his tamales. What was the perfect way to end a night, will now become a great way to treat ourselves for breakfast, lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Place your order for pickup here.
photo via facebook/ever restaurant
1340 W. Fulton St. - Fulton Market
Ever, the new venture from Grace’s former chef Curtis Duffy and GM Micheal Muser, promises to offer an experience of a lifetime. The wait is already a month out with reservations starting in October for the 8- to 10-course meal that will last 2 and a half hours and feature proteins from the land and sea as well as seasonal vegetables.
photo via facebook/jeff and judes
1024 N. Western Ave. - Ukrainian Village
While the offerings are limited for the time being, Jeff & Judes aims to be one of your go-to Jewish Delis for all things in the Ashkenazi style. The best way to keep up with the deli is to follow its Instagram account for flash sales and weekend offerings.
Photo via Instagram/Pizza Friendly Pizza
1039 N. Western Ave. - Ukrainian Village
The new pizzeria opened in the old Bite Cafe space adjacent to Empty Bottle with mouthwatering Sicilian-style slices. Try these new fluffy, crunchy creations by the slice or by the full pie—available for pickup order now.
Photo via Facebook/Testaccio
2456 N. California Ave. - Logan Square
Testaccio's name and menu are inspired by a Roman neighborhood of the same name. The new Italian option in Logan Square has taken over the old Quiote space and offers hearty pastas, charred skewers, small shared plates and more. A sidewalk patio is now open to diners and delivery is available.
Photo via Facebook/Munchiez
1803 W. 95th St. - Beverly
The Beverly neighborhood just got a lot more fun with the opening of this cereal bar and candy shop. In addition to over 30 types of cereal, Munchiez serves a slew of cravings-worth snacks and sweets like milkshakes, walking tacos (with your choice of Hot Tokis, Doritos or Flamin Hots) and more.