photo credit: Kim Kovacik
20 Great Restaurants That Are Open On Mondays
Where to eat on Monday night when lots of restaurants are taking the day off.
After you’ve (ideally) spent two days gleefully ignoring responsibilities, the reality of a Monday can be hard. So it’s understandable if the last thing you want to do after work is cook dinner, let alone spend time in a crowded grocery store full of all the other people who neglected their weekend errands. But unfortunately, a lot of restaurants in this city are closed on Mondays. Here are 20 great ones that aren’t.
photo credit: Kim Kovacik
One nice thing about Mondays is that it's a day of the week when it's usually easier to find reservations at popular spots. This is the case at Obelix, a great French spot in River North. And while they have delicious French staples, the best and most exciting dishes on the menu are the fusion-y ones that have interesting and unexpected flavor combinations, like the foie gras taco or the steak tartare with shio kumbo. And while Obelix is upscale enough to have white tablecloths, it's not stuffy. They have a fun hip-hop playlist and friendly servers who are chill enough to crack a few jokes.
Union is a bar where you can get a fantastic dinner to go with your drinks. It’s the sister restaurant of Lardon (one of our Best New Restaurants Of 2021), and while Lardon is a salumeria specializing in meat and cheese boards, Union really wants to feed you. The dishes here all have little twists that make them stand out from the usual pub food suspects—like lightly breaded fried olives filled with mortadella, or juicy lamb and pistachio meatballs swimming in a caper salsa verde. We’re also huge fans of their wonderful burger: a thick brisket and chuck patty topped with crispy onions, bone marrow aioli, and thinly sliced pickles to cut through the richness.
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photo credit: Kim Kovacik
This new West Loop Italian spot is incredibly busy. And while the menu isn’t going to blow your mind with creativity (it’s mainly pizza, pasta, and a handful of entrees) it's full of things that will make you feel better after a Monday full of meetings in which nothing was accomplished. The cacio e pepe ricotta dumplings are now our reigning definition of “decadent.” The pizza has a chewy crust, and the chicken parmesan stays crispy even while sitting in a rich tomato sauce. The bar is full of people dining solo, and the restaurant is buzzing with staff and everyone from couples to large groups.
Big Chicago Restaurants are generally popular and hard to get into, and Etta, a BCR in Wicker Park, is no exception. But on Mondays, it’s usually possible to get a same-day table. Which is good to know, since this place works for a lot of different situations—from dinner with coworkers to a casual date night or meal with kids. This place serves delicious housemade pastas and pizzas, plus other dishes (like vegetables and pork shoulder) made in a wood-fired hearth.
This place is a scene, which, depending on your mood, can feel a little aggressive for a Monday night. But the good news is that the scene comes with fantastic food. So if you want to keep the weekend going—or the new heels you ordered didn’t get delivered until Monday afternoon—come here. It’s always crowded, but the space is beautiful, and there’s a huge rooftop patio that’s perfect for hanging out over drinks (even during the winter). Also, unlike those $350 shoes, a lot of things on the Mediterranean menu are meant to be shared.
Bavette's Bar and Boeuf
You normally need to make a reservation two months out for a table at Bavette’s. But on Mondays, same-day reservations are usually achievable (and if you can’t make one, you still have a good chance of walking in). The space is dimly-lit, the upstairs dining room has jazz that makes you feel like you’re in a speakeasy, and everything on the French-style steakhouse menu is fantastic. This is the perfect place to eat a kind-of-fancy dinner when you’re having trouble accepting that the weekend is truly over.
Signs you’re at a restaurant from the Bavette’s team: 1920s jazz, a dim dining room that feels like the Clue mansion, fantastic service, and great food. You’ll find all of the above at Armitage Alehouse, the team’s newest restaurant in Lincoln Park. Like its predecessors, this place has the ability to suck you in and magically makes you forget the world is spinning outside. The menu is filled with pub-inspired dishes like steak tartare with anchovy aioli, a wonderful wagyu smashburger, and a selection of incredible rotating pot pies–like pheasant and foie gras, or steak and ale. Order as much as will fit on your table, and drag your meal out for as long as possible until you need to go back into the real world.
Business needs to happen every day of the week (that’s the whole reason your alarm went off at 6am this morning), so maybe you’re entertaining clients. Head to RPM Steak for an impressive meal that will fit very comfortably on your corporate card. There’s a whole menu section devoted to wagyu and kobe, in addition to shareable small plates and seafood. Plus, the bar is perfect if your “client” dinner turns out to be just you and a steak. But you should probably plan on using your own card for that.
Rose Mary has been booked since before it even opened, which isn’t surprising considering this place is from a popular Top Chef winner and in a popular neighborhood. But this hyped-up spot is also a great restaurant, and Monday is a good day to try and grab a seat at the bar. You’ll find dishes like crni rizot that tastes like the risotto was made with stock from the tears of a hundred lobsters (that’s a compliment), a plate of cevapi with sausages that are perfect for sharing, and incredible pastas. And despite every seat being filled, you won’t feel rushed through your dinner, or need to form a search party when you’re ready to leave.
photo credit: Kim Kovacik
Between great food and contagiously friendly service, we’ve yet to visit Dr. Bird’s and not leave happier than when we walked in. In other words, if your boss asked if you had "time for a quick Zoom" at the end of your day, head here immediately. The specialty at Dr. Bird’s is Jamaican patties, but the menu also has juicy jerk chicken and outstanding sides—including must-order coco rice that’s sweet and savory, fluffy coco bread that’s perfect for enfolding your patty, and festivals that complement the smoky jerk seasoning. Bird’s also has a long list of fresh juices and rum cocktails, which are also valid antidotes to staring at your pallid reflection in a darkened computer screen all day.
This River North spot is busy, with music loud enough to help you pretend it’s Friday night. It also serves high-quality fish and is reasonably affordable for the neighborhood. The menu has a mix of traditional and contemporary Japanese dishes, from fusion options (like an octopus “taco” with a seaweed shell) to fantastic nigiri and sashimi.
You took Monday off because friends are visiting from out of town. But now you’re realizing that half the restaurants you planned on taking them to are closed. Not The Publican. It’s easy to think this place is all about pork and beer (and those things are definitely happening here), but the menu also has plenty of vegetables and seafood, all of which are delicious. Sit at the giant U-shaped communal tables, or, if you don’t like strangers eavesdropping on your conversations, get one of the enclosed wooden booths. There aren’t too many of them, but on a Monday you have a good chance of securing one.
photo credit: Jack Li
Bloom Plant Based Kitchen
Bloom is vegan and gluten-free spot in Wicker Park from the same chef as Amaru, which has a lot of great vegetarian dishes. So it’s no surprise that Bloom’s long menu is full of hits. Like the squash blossom-filled tamal topped with a rich mole, a tomato pizza with sweet tamarind saba and a cauliflower crust, and some truly wonderful mushroom asada tacos. And a lot of the dishes on the menu are also raw, so this place works well for a variety of dietary needs. The space keeps with the theme—it’s filled with plants and is bright enough that you won’t worry if said plants are getting enough light.
Revolution Brewing - Brew Pub
Both the beer and the food are great at this brew pub in Logan Square. You can get bacon-fat popcorn, burgers, and pizzas from a rotating list of creative options (like ones with pulled pork or Italian beef). It’s generally crowded and they don’t take reservations, so there will most likely be a wait—but tables turn over quickly.
You’ll find this upscale steakhouse at 88 Marketplace, a very large shopping complex just west of Chinatown. Inspired by Korean BBQ, each table at Holu has a grill where the server (or you, if you like throwing caution to the wind and/or are a control freak) cooks your steak. Most of their meat is aged in-house (you can say hi to the impressive selection displayed in the window while you have a drink at the bar), with everything from ribeye and zabuton, to wagyu tongue and A5 Japanese Kobe. It’s ordered by the ounce, and our suggestion is to get the $75 meat paradise. That allows you to try a portion of everything, along with some banchan-style sides and dessert. Come here after work with a friend who loves meat, or for a team dinner where everyone at the table digs the idea of having a personal chef for the night.
photo credit: Christina Slaton
The best way to deal with the fact that Avec is small and always busy is to come here during the week when it’s less crowded. And because the food is consistently excellent, you’re guaranteed to have a great meal no matter what you order. That being said, you really should make sure to get some bacon-wrapped dates or the taleggio flatbread (maybe both). Either one will be way more enjoyable than the hot dog you were thinking of eating in your car.
Duck Duck Goat
This is a fun spot for Chinese food from the same team that owns Girl & The Goat. Consider Pied-Pipering your co-workers here after a long day. The atmosphere is fun and lively, and there are big round tables perfect for groups of people who want to order a lot of food. Get their excellent cocktails and share a bunch of dishes—like soup dumplings and goat sausage slap noodles. Everyone will probably be tired Tuesday morning, but it will be worth it.
After your boss emailed you an entire month’s worth of work at 4:55pm, you need some comfort food. Just about everything on the menu at Big Jones in Andersonville qualifies. So once you finally get to leave the office, come here for some excellent fried chicken, or any of their other rich Southern dishes, like shrimp and grits. Then head straight to bed.
Prime & Provisions
Prime & Provisions is a hard steakhouse to classify—it’s not as iconic as Gibsons, as trendy as RPM, or as corporate as Chicago Cut. But it's conveniently located in the Loop a.k.a. the land of Monday night business dinners, and serves fantastic steak, along with great seafood, and somewhat absurd sides like a giant piece of bacon topped with maple syrup and dark chocolate. Plus, the space is huge and full of giant booths.
If you can’t decide what you want for dinner (the only thing you’re sure of is that you’re not cooking), go to The Warbler in Lincoln Square. Everything on the extensive menu here is good. You’ll find vegetable dishes (like ponzu glazed crispy cauliflower), housemade pastas (their whole wheat cacio e pepe in particular is worth ordering), and traditional entrees like roast chicken and a cheeseburger. They have a large bar area that’s good for grabbing some appetizers and a glass of wine with friends, too.