If you tried to keep track of every brand new restaurant in Chicago, you might go a little bit crazy. So just read this list instead. These are the new restaurant openings that seem like they have the most potential - although keep in mind, for the ones we haven’t tried, we make no promises. Go forth and be a pioneer.
We’ll be regularly updating this post. Once we’ve checked out a spot, we’ll add a note if it makes it onto our Hit List.
The only things you could get at the original Moody Tongue brewery (besides beer) were oysters and chocolate cake, but their new tasting room in the South Loop has more than that. There are two options for eating here: “The Dining Room,” a 12-course tasting menu for $155, and “The Bar,” which has an a la carte menu with things like smoked beet tartare and fried chicken with black truffle cavatelli.
Gaijin is a new restaurant in the West Loop specializing in okonomiyaki - savory, Japanese pancakes. It has a small and casual dining room with flat-top grills on each table and a first-come-first-serve chef’s counter.
This is a new two-floor Greek restaurant in River North from the same people behind Avli Taverna in Lincoln Park. Expect dishes like chicken shish kabobs and lobster pasta with ouzo-tomato sauce.
With a name following in the footsteps of words like brunch and Brexit, Phodega is a new Wicker Park spot serving pho in a corner store. So in addition to pho and rice dishes, you can also get things like snacks, car air fresheners, and paper towels.
Serving a short menu focused mainly on dumplings and noodles, Lao Peng You is a new Chinese restaurant in Ukranian Village. They also do some small plates like tofu pudding, sliced beef shank, and cucumber salad.
Ella’s is a new counter-service BBQ spot in Lincoln Park with platters of smoked brisket, pulled pork, rib tips, and more. This place also has breakfast seven days a week, with less BBQ-y things like avocado toast and pancakes.
Recently reopened in River North, Hubbard Inn now has a first-floor restaurant, a second-floor cocktail bar, and a bottle-service club called Masq on the third floor. You can spend your entire night here, or, just come to eat a $100 ribeye.
This is a New York-based mini-chain and just opened its first Chicago shop in Rogers Park. In addition to bubble tea, they have food like ramen and sushi burritos.
A new Italian spot in River North from the people behind Bavette’s, Ciccio Mio has pasta, seafood, and dishes like chicken marsala and Italian wedding soup.
Claudia is a new 10-course tasting menu spot in the West Loop. It’s $185, but also BYOB - so if you want to pair your lobster with Three Buck Chuck, you can.
After closing last year, this Indian restaurant reopened in the West Loop. Jaipur serves both lunch and dinner, and has a variety of curry and tandoori dishes on its menu.
QXY is one of our favorite places in Chinatown for dumplings, and they just opened a casual spot in the Loop with a much shorter menu. More importantly, they’ve introduced a new mascot who looks like a mix between a dumpling and a character from that TV show your niece is obsessed with.
This is a new breakfast and lunch spot in North Center serving things like French toast, tacos, and chilaquiles on the menu.
Little Victories is a new spot in Wicker Park from the same people behind the great Logan Square bar Spilt Milk, and it also serves classic cocktails and bar snacks.
While Tostini focuses primarily on “tost” (Turkish paninis), this new halal restaurant in Rogers Park also serves soup and gelato, and Turkish breakfast on the weekends.
Gadabout is a new restaurant in Andersonville with a wide-ranging menu of things like beef heart skewers with lingonberry mustard, beef tongue lettuce wraps, and buffalo skate wings. The dining room is decorated with furniture from The Brown Elephant next door, because nothing goes better with small plates than vintage bookshelves.
Along with a menu of bar snacks like deviled eggs and bacon-wrapped dates, this new cocktail bar in Albany Park has live DJs and monthly art shows.
This is the first U.S. location of a popular Chinese seafood chain that specializes in whole grilled fish. You can choose fish like tilapia and sea bass grilled with seasonings like fermented soybeans and spicy green peppercorns.
Port & Park is a new American restaurant that just opened in the former SIP space, on the corner of Southport and Irving Park in Lakeview. Along with dinner, this place also serves weekend brunch.
This is a Mexican bakery from the same team as Tzuco, and it’s right next door. You can get pastries like pan dulce and garibaldis - pound cake muffins with apricot jam glaze and sprinkles.
A new upscale restaurant on the 18th floor of a high rise in Streeterville, WoodWind serves takes on American food like a foie gras “Big Mac” on a steamed bao bun or a chicken “wing” made from dehydrated chicken mousse.
Centre Street Kitchen is a new American spot in Lincoln Park that really wants people to be nice to each other - the menu instructs diners to “go around the table telling each person something you appreciate about them.” After doing that, you can order dishes like roasted cauliflower, farro salad, and the smoked chicken for two.
Cracked is a new Wicker Park breakfast spot that’s open till 11pm. You’ll find things like biscuits and gravy, yogurt parfaits, and chilaquiles, along with a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches.
Stockton is a clubby two-story restaurant that just opened in the Gold Coast. There’s a wide-ranging food menu with a seafood tower, truffled burrata, an assortment of sushi, and steak. The dimly-lit space has velvet booths, and live bands and DJs (who are also alive).
This is a new Spanish and Mediterranean restaurant in Logan Square that’s taken over the former Twain space. You’ll find a selection of small plates like patatas bravas, halloumi, and mussels with lamb sausage, along with larger plates like branzino and steak.
This is a brand new soul food restaurant that just opened in East Garfield Park. The menu has dishes like fried chicken, collard greens, cornbread, and catfish.
Roots Handmade Pizza is opening its third location, this one in Old Town. Roots specializes in Quad Cities–style pizza, which has a thin malted crust and is sliced into long strips. This newest location is on the first floor of the Second City building.
Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine, a wine and cheese shop with multiple locations around Chicago, has expanded its stall in the French Market to include a wine bar. The bar will offer wines by the glass as well as customizable flights.
This is a new restaurant in North Center serving European soups and salads, along with entrees like shawarma, sausages, and burgers.
Namaste Chicago is a new Nepali and Indian restaurant in Logan Square. The menu has plenty of meat, seafood, and vegetarian dishes, and it’s BYOB with no corkage fee.
A new spot in Pilsen with an all-you-can-eat hot pot menu, open until 11:30pm every night.
Necessary & Sufficient is a new grab-and-go coffee shop in Logan Square. They have specialty drinks like a matcha latte and homemade botanical sodas, as well as a kids menu with a mini beetroot latte and drinking chocolate. There are also pastries, donuts, and empanadas on the menu.
A new Caribbean restaurant in Tri-Taylor with jerk versions of everything: jerk tacos, jerk fries, jerk nachos, jerk stir fry, and more. This place also has a comedy open mic in their lounge every Tuesday.
Mo:Mo Factory is a new restaurant serving momos and other Nepalese street food in East Lakeview.
This is a new restaurant in Pilsen serving Mexican food, including duck carnitas tacos. They’ll be doing brunch, and staying open late on the weekend (until 2am Friday and 3am Saturday).
This new Mexican restaurant in Lincoln Park has Sonoran staples made with open-flame mesquite cooking and flour tortillas rather than corn tortillas. The menu features “cheese crisps” (also known as Sonoran quesadillas), along with classics like tacos and enchiladas.
A new cafe in the Loop specializing in Japanese-style souffle pancakes, which come in flavors like matcha and taro. They open at 11am and serve their pancakes all day.
Tzuco is a new spot in River North with a Michelin-starred chef and an upscale Mexican-French menu, which has everything from ceviche and soups to a tomahawk steak. There’s also a lunch menu that features some of the same dishes as dinner, plus a selection of tacos.
This is a new Rogers Park location of local pizza chain Salerno’s. In addition to pizza, this collaboration with Whiskey Hill also serves burgers, wings, and other bar food alongside draft beers.
This is a new restaurant in the West Loop serving Chinese street food. The menu has rice and noodle bowls, wings, salads, and gua bao - steamed Fujian hand buns with fillings like pork belly, mapo tofu, and lemongrass chicken.
Taco E is a new takeout and delivery spot in Bridgeport from the people behind Nana serving tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, as well as desserts from Nana. They’re planning to offer dine-in seating in 2020.
Roebuck is the newest brew pub from the people behind Dryhop Brewers in East Lakeview. In addition to their house beer and specialty cocktails, they serve Neapolitan-style pizzas like the Bank Raaber (crumbled meatballs, charred broccoli rabe, and lemon zest).
The new Reggies spin-off on 63rd Street Beach opened on Labor Day and will be serving food and drinks until Halloween, weather permitting. There won’t be any live music until they reopen next year.
Bárbaro is a new Humboldt Park taqueria with tacos, tortas, and gorditas, along with signature cocktails like a mezcal piña colada, a rum old fashioned, and a raicilla martini.
This is a new bar and restaurant on the rooftop above Second City in Old Town. The food menu has kabobs, large plates, snacks like “ganja goo balls” made with CBD oil, and sandwiches like a meatball burrata grinder. You can also play Spikeball, mini golf, and beer pong here.
Soul Crab is a new soul seafood restaurant from a YouTube-famous chef who has two restaurants in Atlanta. The menu has everything from crab and collard green egg rolls to lobster tails with jerk butter.
This is a new brewery and taproom in West Town. The space is dog-friendly, kid-friendly, and BYOF.
This is a new restaurant in the Loop with dishes inspired by Chicago neighborhoods, like a reimagined Italian beef made with roasted wagyu and peppers. Club 77 is currently open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
New to the South Loop, Lips is a restaurant from New York that features drag shows. The menu includes things as varied as elote corn fritters, lobster ravioli, and a basted filet mignon. On Saturday nights they have a prix fixe menu, and on Sunday mornings there’s a boozy brunch with bottomless Bloody Marys and mimosas.
The third cafe from local coffee roaster Passion House, this spot on Goose Island offers specialty coffee drinks and light food like sandwiches and salads.
Good Fortune is a new spot in Logan Square with food that’s a mix between Mediterranean and Midwest supper club. The restaurant is on the smaller side, with an open kitchen and wood-fired oven.
Also in Logan Square, this new collaborative taproom is an incubator for home brewers, brewery start-ups, and other beermakers who might not have the resources to open their own facility. They’ll also be serving coffee and pastries until 4pm and light bites in the evening. Plus, there’s a dog-friendly patio while the nice weather lasts.
Inspired by the Wynwood arts district in Miami, this new Wicker Park bar’s drink list includes frozen and draft cocktails. They’ll also be serving bar food like ceviche, arepas, and cubanos.
This cocktail bar in Lincoln Park is from the people behind Victor Bar, the upscale date spot in North Center.
Open Thursday through Sunday, Le Nocturne is a new Uptown nightclub that’s also serving a full food menu along with cocktails and wine.
A new market and deli in Pilsen from the people behind Dusek’s. In addition to groceries and products made in the neighborhood, Paulette’s features a menu of grab-and-go soups and sandwiches like a muffuletta and a jerk vegetable on focaccia.
Ascione Bistro is a new Italian restaurant in Hyde Park. It’s open for brunch on the weekends, and has a front patio for outdoor seating.
Newly opened at Kathy Osterman Beach, LakeBreeze is a lakeside cafe serving food like elote tots and a “curdburger” that comes with fried cheese curds and bacon jam on top. They also have beer, wine, and cocktails, and you can eat and drink on reclining beach chairs in the sand.
The casual Italian restaurant on the river from the people behind RPM Italian is now open, serving pizza, pasta, and charcoal-grilled seafood. It’s already hard to get into, but if you’ve got a boat they offer marina docking options.
This is a new ice cream shop in Roscoe Village that also serves pastries like frosted cinnamon buns, as well as vegan cake balls and gluten-free cookies.
Butterdough, a cafe and panadería in McKinley Park, is now open and serving sandwiches, specialty coffee drinks, and fresh pastries.
This is the seventh Chicago location of the multipurpose grab-and-go shop. The Old Town spot has a seasonal cafe menu with breakfast sandwiches, whole grain bowls, and smoothies, and the place has plenty of seating.
A new BYOB pizza place in Beverly that combines food with activism - monthly donations go toward anti-violence organizations, and the restaurant offers job training to employees who might have limited opportunities elsewhere. In addition to pizza, they serve pasta, wings, salads, and sandwiches.
This is a new French restaurant in the Loop from the people behind Cochon Volant serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. The main attraction here is a revolving bar, modeled after the famous Carousel Bar in New Orleans’ French Quarter.
The Laurel Room is a new seasonal rooftop restaurant above Pacific Standard Time. Open through October, they’ll focus on summery cocktails and offer a selection of bar snacks, tacos, and a raw bar.
Already a popular Caribbean restaurant on West 63rd Street, Garifuna Flava has opened a stall in the French Market. Serving Belizean food like panades and jerk chicken, the new spot has lunch hours six days a week.
This is a new breakfast and brunch spot in North Center with sweet and savory breakfast plates, sandwiches, and salads.
New to West Rogers Park, this shop brews local coffee from Passion House and has specialty drinks like a sweet matcha cortado and raspberry truffle cold brew. There are salads and pastries, as well as more substantial food like a tofu banh mi and tropical acai bowls. Plus, the food here is certified kosher.
This is a new Korean American restaurant opening in the former San Soo Korean BBQ spot in River West. The restaurant will serve prime cuts of meat for tabletop grilling, as well as bibimbop, stews, and small plates like fire chicken and bulgogi.
Featuring a small plates menu of both traditional and modern Latin American dishes, Amaru is now open in Wicker Park, with a bar that’s open late. In addition to shareable dishes, there are entrees like a branzino with brown butter mojo and yuca gnocchi.
Wherewithall is a new restaurant in Avondale from the people behind Parachute. Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner, Wherewithall will be serving a nightly four-course prix fixe menu.
We checked out Wherewithall and put it on our Hit List.
This spot in The Loop is from the people behind Roots Handmade Pizza. They serve globally inspired bar food like vindaloo pork nachos and a kalbi-style hanger steak salad, as well as mains like pea and ricotta agnolotti and seared tuna.
Newly opened in Logan Square, Superkhana International serves Indian-influenced food, with creative menu items like a butter chicken calzone in a naan crust and The Bombay Sandwich, described as a “psychedelic” grilled cheese.
We checked out Superkhana International and put it on our Hit List.
This Bridgeport pizza spot has moved to a new location in the same neighborhood. They’re serving thin crust and deep dish pizza, as well as pasta, sandwiches, and other Italian entrees.
Andersonville’s newest spot is open for dinner and has a menu of seafood, meat, vegetarian options, and housemade pastas.
This neighborhood tavern in Portage Park serves both dinner and brunch, and has a space for live music.
A new restaurant in the West Loop, Asadito focuses on tequila and features tacos with handmade tortillas.
Bettie Lou’s is a new spot in Andersonville serving American food that has “European, Asian, and island influences with an urban twist.” You can expect things like jerk chicken and salmon croquettes as well as vegetarian options like soul rolls and a Szechuan beefless dinner.
This spot is new to the Mag Mile, and true to its name, it’s a place where you can buy dairy products, eat pizza, and drink coffee. They also serve pastries, salads, paninis, and other Italian specialties.
Tortello is a new counter service Italian restaurant with handmade pasta in Wicker Park. In addition to pastas, they serve freshly spiralized vegetable noodles as well as Italian cocktails, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks.
This is a new neighborhood restaurant in North Center with a beer garden serving food like wings, cheese curds, and griddled smashburgers.
The Whale is a new casino-themed restaurant and bar in Logan Square from the owners of The Vig. They serve weekend brunch and a dinner menu with a wide-ranging selection of entrees and sandwiches, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
We checked out The Whale and put it on our Hit List.
Kaliflower, now open downtown, is a fast-casual place with salads and bowls like the R&R, which has a base of turmeric cashew soup, cauliflower rice, and sous-vide chicken. Everything here is gluten-free, including their dairy-free, sugar-free banana ice cream.
Dip And Sip is a new donut shop in North Center, with both ready-to-eat and made-to-order donuts. And if you’re planning a party, they serve custom donut cakes as well.