925 W. Randolph St.
This new B. Hospitality Co. spot celebrates Italian-American heritage cuisine in a dining room that recalls the warmth and hospitality of an Italian grandmother’s home. Kitchen hits include wedding soup with chicken meatballs, linguine and clams and roasted chicken Vesuvio. A diverse selection of Italian wines and classic cocktails complements the old-school gems.
Photo: Derek Richmond
839 W. Fulton Market
Small bites and shareable plates are the showpieces of Footman Hospitality’s polished and comfortable neighborhood bar and eating place. Kampachi crudo, squid salad a la plancha and tikka masala-braised chicken thigh are typical menu examples. Keeping pace are cocktails crafted with house-made juices and syrups and an impressive back bar of spirits.
Photo: Galdones Photography
1846 W. Division St.
Chef-owner Michael Taus, known for his successful, two-decade run at the white-tablecloth Zealous, is back on the Chicago dining scene with a more relaxed interpretation of modern French with global accents. Headliners range from veal cheek pot-au-feu to his aunt’s fried chicken to a signature burger with and havarti cheese and tomato remoulade on a house-baked dill bun.
130 S. Michigan Ave.
Clubhouse-style food, unique American wines and eclectic furnishings greet guests of Alpana Singh’s second restaurant. The master sommelier also owns The Boarding House in Chicago. Executive chef Chris Curren’s riffs include lobster cobb salad, chicken and duck club sandwich and loup de mer. Gilded crystal chandeliers, antique mirrors and reclaimed barn wood distinguish the dining room.
Tapworks Tavern & Grill
820 W. Jackson Blvd.
The fan favorites of this Greektown dining and drinking spot are beer-friendly comfort foods like pilsner and cheese fondue, burgers with beer-cheddar sauce and house-smoked meats. Not surprisingly, there is a wide range of brews to wash it all down—100-plus craft beers, including 48 that rotate on tap. The newest addition to restaurateur Rachel Dennis’ growing collection of concepts marks her fourth opening in three years.
203 N. Wabash Ave.
The modern American diner in Virgin Hotels’ new Chicago outpost welcomes patrons for early-morning noshes, late-night bites and a wide-ranging slate in between. The menu runs the gamut from tres leches French toast to steak frites to the decadent Tupelo King doughnut, stuffed with peanut-marshmallow fluff, roasted bananas and honey-glazed bacon (we suggest tackling the last one with a knife and fork).
Photo: Nicolas James
2300 N. Lincoln Park West
Billed as a veritable “school for entrepreneurs,” this new Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises concept plays host to a different emerging culinary talent every two to three months. The chef in residence has full creative license to create a personalized dining experience, with the support of Lettuce founder Rich Melman and the company’s chefs and senior partners.
Photo: Anjali Pinto
820 W. Lake St.
Celebrating the traditional daily foods of the Japanese people is the mission of this BOKA Restaurant Group concept. Snacks, appetizers, rice and noodles, salads and grilled meat and fish skewers are offered as easy-to-share small plates. Sushi and robata programs showcase unique fishes sourced around the world.
Photo: Barry Brechelsen
White Oak Tavern & Inn
1200 W. Webster Ave.
This new dinner, brunch, bar and lodging option by restaurateurs John and Lynn Manilow wears its owners’ locally driven, farm-to-table menu philosophy on its sleeve. Midwest farms supply many of the kitchen’s ingredients, including flour for its bread and pastry and dairy for its ice cream and butter. Menu handiwork ranges from crispy pork with kimchi aioli to a prosciutto and local cheese board to house-made spaghetti with wild mushrooms, greens and egg yolk.
Photo: Heather Talbert
Labriola Ristorante & Café
535 N. Michigan Ave.
A full-service Italian restaurant, dine-in bar and bakery-café offer three distinct experiences in this new project by Rich Labriola, one of biggest local names in the bakery business. Handmade pasta, thin-crust pizza, salumi and a rotating seasonal lasagna are hallmarks of executive chef John Caputo’s menu. Café choices include sandwiches, pastas, salads and freshly made baked goods. Subway tiles, dark wood and red leather create a slightly edgy, urban vibe in the 300-seat space.