CHIGuide

Chicago’s New Restaurant Openings

The new restaurant openings you should know about.

If you tried to keep track of every brand new restaurant in Chicago, you might go a little wild. 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.

May 2022

Sfera Sicilian Street Food

Sfera is a counter-service breakfast and lunch spot bringing Sicilian street food to Edgewater. Open from 7am-3pm, their menu has breakfast items like a mortadella, egg frittata, and pepperoncini sandwich as well as Sicilian pizza slices. They also have a small retail section with dried pastas, olive oils, and their housemade marinara sauce if you wanted to pick up a few things for your pantry. 


Huaraches Mexican Restaurant

Adding to its two locations in Brighton Park and Dunning, Huaraches has opened a third restaurant space in Hyde Park. This casual, sit-down Mexican spot serves staples like tacos, fajitas, and of course their namesake, huaraches. You build your own version with sauces like mole and salsa verde, proteins like chicken, ground beef, and cactus leaf, along with a variety of vegetables to top it all off. 


If you’re in the market for a new dog-friendly patio, check out Electric Garden in the West Loop. In addition to drinks, this bar has a food menu with dishes like a chicken tonkatsu sando or black truffle cornbread. And, for your dog, they have a doggie burger and ultimate pupshake made with peanut butter yogurt. If you’re feeling a little bit jealous after seeing Fido enjoy his pupshake, they also have gelato and sorbet for humans.


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3 Sauces Hainam Chicken Rice

As its name suggests, this new spot located in Chinatown's Richland Center Food Court specializes in Hainanese chicken rice. Their take on the popular Singaporean and Malaysian dish (with roots in China) is accompanied by three sauces: ginger, soy, and sambal chili. They also have a fried chicken version of the dish along with sweet snacks like peach mango spring rolls and fried red bean dumplings.


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Sueños x Soho Friends

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West Loop’s Soho House has a six-month-long pop-up called Sueños x Soho.The Mexican-inspired a la carte menu has seafood dishes like tuna tostadas, pulpo skewers, and aguachile. So if you didn’t get to try their previous $175 tasting menu pop-up, Entre Sueños, now’s your chance to taste their food without choosing between that or buying a Pitchfork day pass. 


photo credit: Kailley Lindman

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Elephant and Vine

Elephant and Vine is a casual vegan spot in Lincoln Park, located at the bottom of the Lincoln Commons apartment complex. Their menu has salads, wraps, and plant-based versions of fast food like burgers and chicken tenders. And for dessert, they have dairy-free milkshakes.


The team from Le Bouchon in Wicker Park has opened Obelix, an upscale French restaurant in River North. The menu has classics like French onion soup and escargot, as well as dishes like Murray cod wings with tamarind sauce, and a foie gras taco topped with grape jam, peanuts, and chili oil. 


La Boulangerie & Co.

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Speaking of French openings, La Boulangerie and Co. has opened a third location in Humboldt Park. This casual French cafe and bakery has macarons, gallettes, and baguettes, as well as pizza, which is unique to their Humboldt Park spot. They also have a market section with wine and cheese to help you claim the title of “Most Valuable Party Guest”.


Appropriately named, Bunker is an underground bar in the West Loop. This spot has lots of TV’s, along with activities like activities like shuffleboard and classic arcade games you can play. If Pacman chomping on dots inspires you to order some food, Bunker serves Mexican-inspired bites like queso, esquites, and burritos. They also have a large dog-friendly patio.


De Borincuba is a casual spot in Logan Square that won’t force you to choose between Puerto Rican and Cuban food. From tostones, maduros, and empanadas, to lechon asado and Cubanos, the menu is full of options highlighting both cultures.


Ikigai Sushi and Izakaya

Ikigai Sushi and Izakaya is a new Japanese restaurant on the Near North Side. They have a wide selection of maki, nigiri, and sashimi, as well as charcoal-grilled skewers like shishito peppers, chicken thigh, pork belly, and beef tongue. They’re currently BYOB, so feel free to bring a six pack or a bottle of sake.


This tropically designed cafe started as a pop-up in Lincoln Park and now has a permanent space in the West Loop. They have a large selection of matcha-based lattes and smoothies, along with food options like smoothie bowls and avocado toasts—just in case you want to pretend like you're living in California while Chicago is still waiting for spring.


Wild Orchids Cafe & Kitchen

Wild Orchids is an all-day cafe located in Lincoln Square. Open from breakfast to dinner, this casual BYOB spot has baked goods like empanadas, puff pastries, doughnuts, and breads like coconut rolls.


April 2022

This is a new Peruvian restaurant in Portage Park. They have dishes like ceviche, stuffed avocados, and lomo saltado—flank steak or chicken cooked in a mix of soy sauce, vinegar and aji verde.


Matcha lovers can rejoice with the opening of this dessert spot in Chinatown, the first Midwest location from the Kyo Matcha chain. As their name suggests, the menu is full of matcha, ranging from a standard cup of green tea to soft serve, crepe cakes, and matcha-flavored tiramisu.


photo credit: Angela Mejia

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Bronzeville Winery

Bronzeville Winery is an upscale American restaurant with a long wine list highlighting women, minority, and Black-owned brands. The menu has dishes like sesame glazed brussel sprouts, filet mignon, and seafood gnocchi, as well as vegan options like fried watermelon steak and a burger. There’s also live music on the weekends from local artists, so you might find some new stuff to freshen up that stale Spotify playlist you’ve had on rotation for the past two months.


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Uncle Remus Saucy Fried Chicken

After being closed for over a year, this Chicago fried chicken staple known for its signature mild sauce has reopened its 50-year-old location in Austin. In addition to their classic fried chicken, their menu has catfish, shrimp, fries, and fried okra. They also updated their dining room and added automated ordering kiosks.


Keadkao Express

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If you get a craving for Thai food in the middle of sock shopping at Uniqlo, you can now stop by Keadkao Express just around the corner. It’s located in Urbanspace Food Hall in the Loop, and the menu includes dishes like pad thai, massaman curry, Hat Yai fried chicken, and tom yum. If you’re just looking for a light snack, they also have smaller options like egg rolls and fish cakes served with sweet and sour sauce.


Jamaican restaurant Ja Grill has opened a second location in Douglas Park. The menu has appetizers like jerk chicken wings and beef patties, as well as entrees like stewed oxtail and spicy curried goat, which all come with rice, beans, plantains, plus cabbage and carrots. In addition to their food menu, they also have a full bar. 


This Greek restaurant is the latest addition to Timeout Market. Avli has four other locations already, but this one has a smaller menu that highlights some of the dishes from their standalone spots, like chicken souvlaki, crispy kataifi-wrapped prawns, and a leg of lamb braised in red wine and tomato sauce. They also have a Greek iced frappe coffee if you need to be resuscitated from a braised lamb food coma.


Almedro Cafe

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Almendro Cafe is a new spot right next to the Hyde Park Arts Center, serving coffee and pastries like fruit tarts and conchas. As reported by Block Club, they also plan to add items highlighting the owners’ Mexican roots, like molletes, elotes, and tamales.


photo credit: Aaron Bean

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Café Sophie

This is an all-day cafe and market in the Gold Coast from the team behind Maple & Ash. Cafe Sophie is open from 7am-10pm, seven days a week. In the morning you can grab a sausage breakfast sandwich or vegetable frittata, and for lunch and dinner there are sandwiches, and small plates like Spanish chorizo, spicy meatballs, or garlic shrimp. If mid-frittata you realize you forgot to pick up eggs, don’t panic—you can make a quick trip to the market section after breakfast.


North Center food delivery hub, Rockwell Food Center, is now home to Mr. E Chef’s Barbecue. This BBQ spot has classics like St. Louis style ribs, chicken wings, and fried catfish, along with sides like mac and cheese, cornbread muffins, and fried pickles. They also offer catering if you’re hoping to host your own Ribfest while you anxiously await the official one in August.


This is a new sushi and Thai spot in Belmont Central. Open for dine-in, takeout, and delivery, Kaze has a selection of maki and nigiri, as well as Thai staples like pad thai, pad see-ew, and green curry.


Northalsted also has a new sushi spot that's serving maki, nigiri, and sashimi. Though they offer takeout, dining in is the only way to try some of their specials like salmon nigiri with truffle butter, or the scallop nigiri topped with grated ginger, crispy garlic, and miso butter.


After closing their original Bronzeville location in 2020, Southtown Sub has reopened in Chatham. This takeout-only spot has subs, Philly cheesesteaks, chicken wings, and their specialty: the Jim Shoe Sandwich—roast beef, corned beef, gyro meat, and cheese, all packed into a toasted Turano French roll.


This Korean fried chicken spot in Andersonville serves wings and fried chicken sandwiches with a variety of sauces like soy garlic, honey butter, and coconut curry. Cuckoo also has bibimbap, Japanese rice bowls, and bubble tea, making it one of the few places in the neighborhood you can go for a boba pick-me-up after finding out that someone else snagged the vintage Mickey Mouse loveseat you’ve been eyeing at the Brown Elephant.


photo credit: Amy Ulivieri

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Penelope's Vegan Taqueria

River North has a new Mexican spot with an entirely vegan menu of tacos, burritos, and enchiladas filled with plant-based options like Beyond Meat asada or soy chorizo and al pastor. They also have a birria taco with mushrooms and a side of vegetable dipping broth.


Liang Crispy Roll

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Hours:MONDAY11:00AM to 09:00PM

Chinese fast-food giant, Liang Crispy Roll, now has its first Chicago location in Chinatown. They’re known for their signature crispy rolls: savory pancakes similar to jianbing packed with fillings like Beijing duck, garlic shrimp, and Mongolian beef. Pop inside for a bite and who knows, maybe Taiwanese superstar/Liang Crispy Roll global ambassador Jay Chou will make an appearance (or at least a life-size cutout of him).


Vietfive Coffee

$$$$(312) 788 7594
Hours:MONDAY09:00AM to 02:00PM

In an area with no shortage of coffee shops, Vietfive is coming in hot (and iced), bringing Vietnamese coffee to the West Loop. Their signature drinks are made with beans imported from Vietnam, brewed using a phin, and then mixed with your choice of condensed milk, coconut milk, or almond milk. If you’re looking for a snack, they also have bánh mì empanadas and bánh patê sô with fillings like BBQ pork, chicken, and tofu.


Black Barrel Tavern, a sports bar in the West Loop, has opened a second location in Old Town. The space is lined with flat screen TVs, so you can grab a beer and burger, pasta and wine, or eggs benedict and mimosa, all with a side of Steph Curry.


Despite the controversy surrounding Tank Noodle, they’ve opened Tank Kitchen and Bar in Portage Park. Like the Uptown restaurant, the bulk of the menu has Vietnamese dishes like pho, spring rolls, and rice plates, along with new additions like chicken wings and Lollapalooza Sriracha fries.


March 2022

photo credit: Clayton Hauck

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Union

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The team behind Lardon in Logan Square (one of our Best New Restaurants Of 2021) has opened its sister restaurant, Union, right next door. Where Lardon is more of a cafe specializing in sandwiches and meat and cheese spreads, Union is more of a dinner spot with dishes like lamb and pistachio meatballs, cavatelli alla vodka, and a burger with crispy onions and bone marrow aioli. Plus, they have a long beer list and a lot of whiskeys.


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The Albion Manor

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Albion Manor is an English pub (with an upstairs cocktail bar called Parlour) in Lincoln Park. The menu has dishes like white pudding sliders, fish and chips, steak and ale pie, and spotted dick. So even Infatuation London agrees, this place is indeed very British.


This is an upscale new restaurant in the Gold Coast specializing in “wine-inspired cuisine”. Unsurprisingly, the menu is filled with dishes that are supposed to go really well with wine. You’ll find squid ink campanelle, pistachio garganelli, and steak au poive and (of course) a very long wine list.


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Esquire by Cooper's Hawk

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Hours:MONDAY11:00AM to 9:00PM

After being closed for two years, steakhouse chain Cooper's Hawk has reopened in the Gold Coast. It's now called Esquire By Cooper's Hawk, and will have a series of rotating chefs debuting a different menu every three months. The first is Tom Collichio, with dishes like and urchin and crab fondue, pancetta-wrapped monkfish, and lamb with cranberry beans.


Gyuro Ramen in the West Loop is a ramen shop from the same people behind Strings. They specialize in gyukotsu ramen, which has a beef bone broth and toppings like tamago, menma, and cuts of wagyu. In addition to their gyukotsu, they also have shio and shoyu ramen, noodle and rice bowls, and appetizers like tuna poke and wakame salad.


Not too far from Gyuro, Tamashii Ramen in Greektown is another newcomer vying for ramen glory. This spot has bowls of tonkatsu, shoyu, and miso, as well as a spicy ramen that comes with a mix of housemade chili sauce and a pork and clam meat sauce. The menu also has non-ramen options like donburi and yakisoba.


Adding to their line-up of locations in Lincoln Park and Logan Square, Evette’s has opened a stall in Time Out Market. Their Lebanese-inspired menu has gyro pita wraps, chicken arabes tacos, and shawarma plates with date couscous, fries, and salad.


Gotham Bagels’ newest location is open for takeout and delivery in Printer’s Row. Aside from a long list of bagel and cream cheese options, they also have a bunch of sandwiches with classics like a BEC or lox and cream cheese. And if you had a few too many martinis to help get you through a third-tier friend’s wedding, the OMFG sandwich—with Nashville hot chicken, bacon, and a fried egg—could be just what you need to get back on your feet.


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Mother's Ruin

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Like its New York and Nashville locations, this new cocktail bar in Avondale has boozy slushies and food like falafel burgers, charred eggplant dip, and red velvet Oreo bombs. Mother's Ruin kitchen is open until at least 2am 365 days a year, making it a viable escape from your cousin talking to you about his Youtube channel at Thanksgiving.


Herbal Notes, a pop-up catering service specializing in cannabis-infused tasting menus, has opened Toke Libre. This members-only wine bar in Pilsen highlights Black and Brown-owned wineries and distilleries, and for $25 a month, members have access to their space, drinks, and a menu they describe as being inspired by the “liberation of the diasporas of Latin America”. But you don’t have to join to try some of the food—non-members can order takeout from a shorter menu with dishes like tiraditos, tacos, and sandwiches.


Iztatl Cocina Mexicana

This is a casual Mexican spot in Jefferson Park serving tacos, burritos, and tortas. As reported by Block Club, Iztatl Cocina Mexicana plans to add specialties like sopes and sweet mole from the owner’s hometown of Guerrero, Mexico as well. Currently only open for delivery and takeout.


Flip Sigi, a Filipino fusion spot based out of NYC, has opened their first Midwest location in Wrigleyville. The counter-service spot has dishes like chicken adobo tacos, longanisa burgers, spam egg-wiches, and garlic rice bowls. They're also BYOB, so feel free to bring some San Miguel, a classic Filipino beer.


Lincoln Park’s Red Light Chicken focuses on one thing: chicken. This tiny storefront has replaced Devil Dawgs, and offers a takeout menu featuring only four types of fried chicken sandwiches (plain, spicy, honey, and hot honey), plus nuggets and fries.


2D Restaurant is a Lakeview spot that’s designed to immerse you in a comic book version of Paris while you eat fried chicken and mochi donuts. If you decide to check it out, don’t be surprised if there’s a line out the door for Instagram photo ops.


This is a new Peruvian bakery in Dunning. Miski makes empanadas, milhojas, and alfajores, along with other staples like cakes, macarons, and fruit tarts. They’re currently only open on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but plan on expanding their hours in April.


February 2022

photo credit: Kaleigh Glaza

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Goddess And The Grocer

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This cafe and market opened a new location in the West Loop. It will be the fifth Goddess and Grocer in the city, and will have a patio, salad bar, sandwiches, and pastries.


Rishi is a takeout and delivery-only Indian restaurant operating out of West Town. The menu has starters like kachori chaat, and a variety of entrees such as mutton masala, chicken madras, and paalak paneer.


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Maverick Burgers And Wings

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This is another takeout and delivery-only spot in West Town, but Maverick Burgers And Wings specializes in, (you guessed it), burgers and wings. You’ll find dishes like the “Black Maverick” (a cheeseburger made with a black kuro bun), a fried chicken sandwich, Korean and Buffalo wings, and more.


This is a new Thai restaurant in Albany Park that has a long menu with dishes like som tum, noodle soups, curries, starters like kanom jeep, and entrees like khao mung gai and prad prik khing. It’s open for dine-in, plus carryout and delivery.


Milly’s started out as a ghost kitchen in 2020, and now has a brick and mortar in Uptown. This pizza spot reminds us of Pequod’s, meaning Milly’s has the same kind of pan-style deep dish with a caramelized crust. We’re big fans.


We have good news: after being closed for over two years, Boeufhaus (one of our favorite steakhouses), is reopening in West Town. Even better news? The menu looks the same, with signature dishes like the short rib beignets, and, of course, steak.


photo credit: Clayton Hauck

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The California Clipper

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In more reopening news, California Clipper in Humboldt Park is also back after two years, but under new ownership. The bar has the same look and feel as before (meaning kind of divey with red vinyl booths) but now has an updated sound system.


Typica Diner Cafe

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This is the Tri-Taylor location of Typica, a Venuezalan coffee shop in Wicker Park. The new spot feels more like a diner, with a menu of arepas, cachapas, and pastelitos, along with dishes like plantain waffles and benedicts.


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Aikana Chicago

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This upscale Latin American restaurant just opened in the West Loop, and focuses on food from Central and South America. Aikana’s long menu has dishes like octopus tiradito, pork shank with chifrijo and slaw, and the $148 bandeja, which includes wagyu, pork, prawns, morcilla, and a whole bunch of other meats and sides.


Lyra is an upscale Greek restaurant in the West Loop from the team behind Siena Tavern. The menu has a mezze selection with dishes like hummus and spanikopita, along with mains like lamb shoulder gyros and a cast-iron moussaka.


TriBecca's Sandwich Shop

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This new sandwich shop started out as a pop-up, but now has a permanent location in Logan Square. TriBecca’s menu has about nine sandwiches, with options like a Cubano, the Maidwrong (a twist on the maid rite loose-meat burger), and a dino-shaped grilled cheese. They also have donuts from Tubers Donuts, and (for right now) are only open for takeout and delivery.


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Omakase Room at Sushi-san

As the name suggests, the Omakase Room At Sushi-san is an omakase located inside Sushi-san in River North. It has 10 seats, and serves an 18-course omakase for $250 per person.


Friend’s is an AYCE rotary shabu shabu spot in River North. It works like this: you order a pot of broth, and then grab meats and vegetables as they roll by on the conveyor belt.


Lolita's Delicious

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This is a casual Venezuelan restaurant that just opened in Logan Square. They have a short menu of arepas, sandwiches, and yoyos with ingredients like guava and cheese.


January 2022

We couldn’t be happier to write the following sentence: After being closed for almost two years, Owen & Engine has reopened. For years this British pub in Logan Square was one of our favorite spots for a casual dinner and an incredible burger. Their menu still looks the same, with things like fish and chips, the ploughman's platter, and thankfully, that wonderful burger.

Con Todo Cantina y Cocina

Con Todo, a new Mexican restaurant in Logan Square, is opening in phases. Right now they’re takeout-only, with a menu of tacos, tortas, and specials like a sweet potato tostada on a crispy handmade tortilla. Next month they plan to open their dining room with a full bar, so stay tuned to their Instagram for updates.

Province Pizza

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Province Pizza is a new sports bar in Portage Park specializing in both tavern-style thin crust and wood-fired Neapolitan pizza. The menu has varieties like margherita, fig and bechamel, and spicy sausage with giardiniera.


The Hot Dog Box

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Also opening in Portage Park is the new location of Hot Dog Box. Formerly a carryout-only pop-up in Bronzeville, this hot dog spot will now have a dining room. Along with the usual suspects, the menu has specialty items like a salmon or filet mignon dog topped with bacon, bbq sauce, and sport peppers.


December 2021

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The X Pot

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The X Pot is a futuristic new hot pot restaurant that just opened in the South Loop. What makes it futuristic? Robot servers, along with elaborate light projections and thematic soundscapes. While the robots will bring you the majority of your hot pot ingredients, humans are on hand to take orders and help you with any questions you might have. And, presumably, to rescue you from the robots should the need arise.


R&A Bread Bakers

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This bakery started out as a pop-up in 2020, and now has a carryout- and delivery-only brick and mortar in Ravenswood. R&A specializes in sourdough bagels, and their menu also includes house-cured lox, bialys, bagel dogs, and deep dish pizza bagels.


This is a new Italian restaurant in Little Italy from the owners of Tempesta and Coalfire. Peanut Park’s menu has a variety of antipasta, pastas (like rigatoni with pomodoro and linguine vongole), and mains like chicken parmesan.


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Bazaar Meat

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Bazaar Meat is a new steakhouse in the loop from the same team as Jaleo. Bazaar has several locations in the U.S. and the one in Chicago has dishes like cotton candy foie gras, caviar service, jamon iberico, and just a whole lot of meat in general.


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Bar Mar

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Bar Mar is the upscale seafood-focused cocktail bar located on the first floor of Bazaar Meat. Along with cocktails, the menu has elaborate small plates like fish-shaped bagels filled with cream cheese espuma and topped with smoked salmon, and a “not so po boy” made with fried oyster and caviar.


This food truck now has a brick and mortar space in Humboldt Park. Aztec Dave’s Cantina has tacos, burritos, tortas, and quesadillas.


Joker's Cajun Smokehouse

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We miss Fat Willy’s, the now-closed barbecue spot in Logan Square. But a new BBQ spot has taken over: Joker’s Cajun Smokehouse. The menu has things like brisket and ribs, along with dishes like jambalaya and crawfish etouffee.


Good Funk

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This is a new natural wine bar opening in the former Cafe Bonhomme space in the Loop. Good Funk overlooks the river, and along with wine also serves snacks like duck rillettes, salmon crudo, and pork pate.


Gordon Ramsay Burger

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Gordon Ramsay Burger opened its second location in River North (the first is in Las Vegas). As the name suggests, the restaurant specializes in burgers, but you’ll also find hot dogs, wings, salads, and cocktails.


Zaza’s is a New York-style pizza shop that just opened in Lakeview. The long menu has options like bacon jam, soppressata, a white pie, vegan bruschetta, plus salads and appetizers. The restaurant is BYOB, and luckily there’s a Binny’s right across the street.


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Moonflower

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This is a new cocktail bar in Portage Park. Moonflower’s drink menu has creative options like the Seeing Green (matcha, condensed milk, soju, and vodka) along with classics like Manhattans. Plus, they have a food menu with stuff like fries topped with bolognese, grilled cheese and tomato soup, and patty melts.


Regalia

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Regalia is a new Italian restaurant in Edgewater that’s located in the former Income Tax space. The menu has appetizers like fritto misto, fried artichokes, and meatballs, along with pastas, salads, and entrees like veal parmigiana.


3 Little Pigs

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We’re excited about this one. After operating as a takeout pop-up over Instagram, this wonderful Chinese restaurant now has a brick-and-mortar space in Humboldt Park. Now you can walk right into 3 Little Pigs and order their pork fried rice, char siu ribs, and crab rangoon whenever you want.


November 2021

This is a new Italian restaurant that opened in the former Cafe Marie Jeanne space in Humboldt Park. Segnatore’s menu has pastas like cappellini, ravioli, and mafaldine, along with entrees like porchetta and roasted whole fish.


Cultivate By Forbidden Root

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Cultivate is a spinoff of Forbidden Root, the West Town brew pub. Cultivate is in the former Band of Bohemia space in Ravenswood, and along with their botanical beer, they serve food like short rib with sweet potato coleslaw and porchetta.


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Bar Esme

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This is the more casual walk-in bar attached to the tasting menu restaurant Esme in Lincoln Park. Bar Esme focuses on cocktails, and has an a la carte food menu based on whatever is happening over at Esme - so you can get bites like the Cheeto canape, oysters, or an upside-down cake.


Ayo Pizza Café & Shop

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Ayo is a new cafe and pizza spot in Lincoln Park. They specialize in whole tavern-style pies (with options like sausage, caramelized onions, and roasted red pepper) and Sicilian slices - like cheese, pepperoni, and veggie.


Seven Ten Social

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Why is a bowling alley in our Openings Guide? Because this Hyde Park spot is also serving food from Lillie Q’s BBQ. The menu has things like wings, fried chicken sandwiches, a wagyu smashburger, and boozy milkshakes.


The Wolfhound Bar and Kitchen

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The Wolfhound is an Irish restaurant that just opened in Avondale. The menu has bar food like burgers and sandwiches, along with entrees like braised pork shoulder and the full Irish - bangers, bacon, black and white pudding, fried eggs, tomato, mushroom, beans, and toast.


Iyanzé Bronze

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This is the second location of West African restaurant Iyanzé in Uptown. Iyanzé Bronze is in Bronzeville (hence the name) and the menu has things like fufu, soups, and jollof with oxtail and plantains.


Chengdu Impression

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We’re fans of the original Chengdu Impression in Lincoln Park, so we’re delighted that they just opened a second location in Wicker Park. The specialty here is Sichuan food, so you can expect dishes like cold noodle salad, dry chili chicken, mapo tofu, and mala fish filet.


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Chiya Chai

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In other second location news, Chiya Chai Cafe, and Indian and Nepali restaurant in Logan Square, just opened another spot in the Loop. Their menu has dishes like momos, chaat, curries, savory pies, and (naturally) a lot of chai.


Armitage Alehouse is a new Anglo-Indian spot in Lincoln Park from the team behind Gilt Bar and Bavettes. The menu has dishes like lamb samosas, tikka masala, and pot pies along with staples from their other restaurants, like truffle bucatini, steaks, and a prime rib sandwich.


This South Asian-inspired spot began as a pop-up, moved into Politan Row, then was in a virtual kitchen, and now finally has a permanent home in Wicker Park. Here, you’ll find dishes like the THC Sando (fried tandoor chicken, gochujang aioli, and honey), vada pav, mushroom korma, and more. Wazwan also has a tasting menu concept in the same space called Aman. It’s only available on Friday and Saturday, and you can make reservations for that here.


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Ranalli’s

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Another location of Ranalli’s has opened in the West Loop. And this pizza spot has the same menu as the original in Lincoln Park, with dishes like their hot honey soppressata pie and appetizers like toasted bolognese ravioli. It also functions as a sports bar thanks to 33 TVs inside, which we can agree is a lot of TVs.


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Rubi's Tacos

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Rubi’s used to ​​only exist on Sundays at the Maxwell Street Market, but now they have a permanent home in Pilsen. They make their tacos and quesadillas on large handmade tortillas, and (for right now) are open on Saturdays and Sundays.


Hot Chi Chicken & Cones

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This is a new fried chicken spot in a former Harold’s space. Hot Chi is halal, and serves a sandwich called “Popeye’s ain’t Shit,” with harissa-glazed thigh and whipped garlic sauce. There’s also Nashville hot chicken wings, tenders, and mac and cheese.


Another Bite

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Another Bite is a new BYOB brunch spot in Roger’s Park. This casual place has dishes like waffles, omelettes, pancakes, and French toast - and you can customize your order with sweet and savory mix-ins.


October 2021

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Pigtail

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This is a speakeasy bar in River North that’s located in the basement of the Spanish restaurant Jaleo. Pigtail serves food and drinks (every dish has some form of jamón in it, hence the name) with dishes like béchamel fritters and jamón, or fried pig snout with jamón cheese foam. Some cocktails feature pork too, like a negroni made with fat-washed gin.


Chalet is a ski-resort-themed bar and restaurant in River North. This means a lot of dishes that you probably want to eat when it’s cold and snowy out, like duck confit poutine, honey braised short ribs, and a wagyu and bison smashburger.


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Sushi Boutique

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Sushi Boutique is a new spot in the Claridge Hotel in the Gold Coast, and it’s from the same team as omakase restaurant Sushi Suite. But unlike its sister restaurant, Sushi boutique is a bit more casual, and has an izakaya menu with things like pork buns and tori karaage. There’s also a separate sushi menu where you can get maki, handrolls, and omakase boxes that range in price from $50 to $250.


I Can't Believe It's Not Meat

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This Old Town restaurant is the third location of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat (the others are in Hyde Park and Orland Park). As you might have deduced from the name, it’s a plant-based restaurant with vegetarian versions of things like buffalo shrimp, hoagies, cheesesteaks, and pizza puffs.


Izakaya Mita

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Izakaya Mita in Bucktown had been closed for 19 months, but just reopened with an updated menu and newly-decorated space. The new menu is extensive, with things like soba, okonomiyaki, rice sliders, sushi, yakitori, and there’s a long sake list, too.


Bar Goa is a new cocktail bar in River North from the folks behind Rooh. The food is Indian with Portuguese influences, and includes dishes like chicken cafreal stew, a pork vindaloo “poi-wich,” and prawn and chorizo fried rice. They also have an interesting cocktail menu that includes drinks like the “sunburn,” which has whiskey, China-China amer, hibiscus grenadine, and emulsified egg white.


Komo is an upscale Japanese tasting menu restaurant that just opened in the West Loop, and it’s from the chef of Macku in Lincoln Park. The eight-course dinner is a combination of kaiseki and omakase (with dishes like nigiri and foie gras with mochi ice cream) and costs $160 per person.


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Kitchen + Kocktails

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The original Kitchen + Kocktails is in Dallas, and the one that’s in River North is the second location. This upscale restaurant serves Southern dishes like pork chops, blackened fish, gumbo, and crab cakes. Just be aware, there is a dress code, which you can see here.


September 2021

Provaré is a Creole and Italian spot that just opened in West Town. The menu is short, with dishes like crab cakes, salmon egg rolls, and shrimp Hennessy scampi with handmade pasta.


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Urbanspace Chicago

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This is a new food hall in the Loop that’s based out of New York. Urbanspace is launching with 12 restaurants and vendors include local classics like Edzo’s and Isla Pilipina (which closed in Logan Square last year). There are also new vendors like Bhoomi Indian Grill, and the first Chicago location of Roberta’s Pizza.


Elina’s is a new Italian restaurant in West Town. You’ll find pasta like rigatoni a la vodka and linguine and clams, along with dishes like chicken parmesan and Dover sole piccata.


Ocasa Kitchen Bar is a new Logan Square Mexican restaurant located in the former Masa Azul space. The menu has a selection of tacos (with options like cochinita pibil or al pastor) and entrees like quesabirria, enchiladas, and chuletas con arro. For right now, they’re BYOB.


Mission Control Arcade Bar

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If you’re looking for bars with activities other than drinking, you’ll be interested in Mission Control. This arcade bar is opening in Roger’s Park this week, and has a ton of vintage video games, pinball machines, board games, and more. There will also be a food menu filled with pierogies.


This is a new Italian restaurant in the West Loop located in the former Bellemore space. Alla Vita is from the same chef as Boka and GG’s Chicken Shop. The menu has pasta, a variety of pizza, and entrees like chicken parmigiana.


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Fame Supper Club

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Fame is a two-story restaurant and nightclub that just opened in River North. The first level is an upscale restaurant, where you can get dishes like a tomahawk ribeye, cacio e pepe, and lamb chops scottadito. The second level will be a nightclub and private event space, which will open later this fall.


Lincoln Square Taproom

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The Huettebar, which closed in 2020, has reopened as the Lincoln Square Taproom. This casual bar has beer from local breweries like Eris Brewery and Cider House, Maplewood, and Old Irving Brewing Company.


SALT Burgers + Fries

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This is a new restaurant operating in Wicker Park. Salt specializes in smashburgers and loaded fries topped with things like cheese, grilled onions, hot peppers, and more.


Medi is a new Mediterranean and Lebanese restaurant in Lincoln Park. The menu has dishes like soujek, shish tawook, and kabobs. Plus, there’s a fun cocktail list with things like a saffron sazerac and cold brew Old Fashioneds.


August 2021

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Sunny Bowls

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Sunny Bowls is a new fast-casual lunch option in River North. It’s in the Merchandise Mart and specializes in soup. The menu has options like Thai chicken and sweet potato lemongrass, along with a selection of salads and spreads like hummus.


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Sushi-San Willis Tower

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Continuing the restaurants-designed-for-downtown-workers theme, a new location of sushi-san has opened in the Willis Tower. It’s primarily grab-and-go, with nigiri and maki, bento boxes, and small plates like edamame hummus and Szechuan tofu. There is also a handroll bar that will be opening soon.


This is a New Orleans-inspired restaurant and cocktail bar in River North. Storyville’s menu has starters like catfish nuggets and boudin balls, sandwiches like mini po’ boys, and entrees like gumbo and fried redfish. They also serve late-night bites (they’re open till 2am), and weekend brunch.


Esmé was supposed to debut last March, but after some delays, this fine-dining restaurant has finally opened in Lincoln Park. It’s a 12-15 course tasting menu spot from a former Next chef, and tickets start around $185 depending on the day of your seating.


What’s Krackin is a new seafood spot in Hyde Park. The menu has things like lobster, crab, shrimp, and oysters served at a variety of spice levels, along with po’boys and sides like mac and cheese.


This is a new Vietnamese restaurant in Lakeview. MK has a long menu filled with dishes like pho and bahn mi, and also has dishes like pad see ew and crispy chow fun. It’s open for dine-in, but they also offer carryout.


The Cocktail Club

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The Cocktail Club is a new bar in River North in the same building (and from the same team) as The Underground. It’s an upscale, 1920s-inspired venue that has live music and serves classic cocktails.


Fancy Plants Kitchen

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This is a brand new vegan restaurant in Lincoln Park from the team behind Fancy Plants Cafe. Fancy Plants Kitchen has dishes like mushroom pate, grilled artichokes with chimichurri, and tamales filled with braised yuba.


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Brunch N Burgers

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A brand new spot just opened in Little Italy - Brunch N Burgers, which focuses on (you guessed it) burgers and brunch. You’ll find a variety of burgers and brunch dishes like breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal, and chilaquiles.


Taco Boom

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Taco Boom started out as a food truck, but now this Mexican restaurant has a permanent location in Lincoln Square. Taco Boom specializes in quesabirria tacos, but the menu also has things like birria ramen and a birria pizzadilla - a hybrid of pizza and a quesadilla.


Bocadillo Market

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This is a new Spanish restaurant and market in Lincoln Park. During the day Bocadillo serves snacks and sandwiches, and for dinner they have dishes like paella. You can also shop for things like ceramics.


We’re big fans of Amaru, so we’re excited about Bloom, a brand new vegan restaurant from the same team. This Wicker Park spot has dishes like beet dumplings, cashew e pepe (made with kelp noodles and cashew cheese), and an almond cheese board.


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Radio Room

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Is Radio Room a new restaurant? Technically. This River North spot is from the same team as Bandit and Siena Tavern, and used to be The Public House. It’s been overhauled, and now it’s basically Bandit 2.0, with a similar design and the same y2k theme (for example, there’s a cocktail called Sparkle Motion from Donnie Darko.) The menu is mostly bar food and has things like Nashville hot fries, burgers, and mac and cheese. They also plan on having DJs and live music.


July 2021

Velvet Taco is a national chain, and their third one in Chicago just opened in the West Loop. The menus vary depending on the location, and here they have taco options like chicken and waffles (on a waffle tortilla), fried paneer, and a shrimp and grits version. You can also get cocktails and sides like queso blanco and elotes.


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Parkside

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Parkside is a new restaurant in Lincoln Square, and is the kind of place that grows its own herbs. The menu is full of seasonal dishes, and right now that means things like oysters, tea-smoked Cornish hen, peaches and ham, and summer squash with buckwheat and tomato.


Jaleo is a Spanish restaurant with four locations all over the country, and now we have one in River North. The menu includes tapas, paellas, sangrias, and a long list of Spanish wines.


This is a new Logan Square salumeria. The Lardon sells charcuterie, salumi, and various other meats that they cure in house. Along with lots of sliced meats, they also have sandwiches, salads, boards, and other things like pork pate and cornichon mayo.


Diver At The Park

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The Diver at the Park is a Tulum-inspired restaurant in Wrigleyville. This place has a huge dog-friendly patio with a vintage camper bar, and serves food like tacos, nachos, and ceviches. They also do a bottomless brunch on the weekend.


Aloha Wagon

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A former food truck, this Hawaiian restaurant now has a permanent location in the Heart of Chicago neighborhood. The menu has plate lunches like spam loco moco and kalua pork, a variety of burgers, and side dishes like spam musubi.


Château Carbide

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Chicago has a beautiful skyline, so we’re never upset when a new rooftop appears on the scene. And Chateau Carbide is an upscale rooftop bar that just opened on the 24th floor of the Pendry Hotel. The wine list is rosé focused (they have rosé and champagne bottle service) and they also offer small bites like charcuterie and caviar. And when you come here at night, the vibe here gets clubby with Djs spinning French house music.


Sweet Bean

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Sweet Bean is a new Taiwanese and Japanese cafe in the South Loop. Right now they’re focusing on coffee and pastries (like egg tarts and sesame balls) but plan on having a full full food menu soon.


The Listening Room is a new bar and listening cafe in the Loop. What’s a Listening Cafe you ask? Taken right from their website, it’s “a clubby dining experience with a state-of-the-art audio experience”. In other words, you listen to music while eating things like ricotta and honey, filet mignon, and mushroom rigatoni. The music genre changes, so check their Instagram for updates.


After a fire forced them to close back in 2017, Art of Chicken in Logan Square has finally reopened. And as you might have deduced from the name, the specialty at this counter-service spot is chicken. Specifically grilled chicken that you can get by the quarter, half, or whole, served with fresh pita and salsa. They also offer a pulled chicken sandwich, and a variety of sides (like elotes or mac and cheese).


Gioia is an upscale new Italian restaurant in the West Loop. The focus here is on handmade pastas, which include things like bucatini cacio e pepe, seafood tagliatelle, and paccheri mancini prepared tableside. Along with pasta, you’ll also find a bunch of antipasti and mains like veal Milanse.


June 2021

photo credit: Matthew Reeves

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Adalina

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Adalina is an upscale Italian restaurant that just opened in the Gold Coast. The menu has dishes like arancini, housemade pastas, and entrees like salmon Vesuvio.


After being closed since last summer, Time Out Market in Fulton Market reopened with new additions to its vendor lineup - like Soul & Smoke, Cleo’s Southern Cuisine, Pisolino, Shawn Michelles, Bittersweet Pastries, and Candelite pizza (to name a few). The industrial-feeling space is huge, with two levels, three separate bars, a rooftop, and a sidewalk patio.


This is a new Logan Square taproom from Solemn Oath Brewery in Naperville. Along with beer, they also serve hard seltzer and spritz cocktails.


Chikatana, a new Mexican restaurant from a former chef of Mi Tocaya (one of our favorite spots in the city) just opened in the West Loop. The dinner menu has dishes like elotes, king crab chili relleno, and pato en mole. They also have a late-night tlayudas menu starting at 10pm.


Lure Fishbar is originally from NYC, but now this upscale spot has a brand new location in the Gold Coast. And as the name suggests, the focus here is on seafood. But along with all the seafood options, you’ll also find steaks, chops, and a burger on the menu, too.


The original Shang Noodle is in Evanston, but a Streeterville location just opened in Chicago. The menu has a variety of things like mapo tofu, har-gau dumplings, hot and dry pot, and a list of housemade noodle dishes.


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Venteux Brasserie

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This is an upscale French restaurant that just opened inside the Pendry in the Loop. You’ll find things like caviar, steak tartare, and escargot, along with entrees like coq au vin and dover sole. And because it’s a hotel restaurant, it’s open seven days a week.


Sochi is a new Vietnamese restaurant in Lakeview. The menu has bánh mì, phở, salads, and dishes like cơm chiên cá. They also serve cocktails, beer, and wine, and are open only for dine-in service.


The original Dr. Bird’s opened in Buffalo in 1981, and now this Caribbean spot has a location in Wicker Park. Their specialty are Jamaican patties, which are filled with either chicken, beef, or spinach. But the menu also has things like jerk chicken, jerk tacos, pasta, and a variety of sides.


Vaca's Creamery

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This is a new vegan soft serve shop in Wicker Park. Vaca’s ice cream is made from oat milk, and they’ll have shakes and sundaes with toppings like confetti cookie dough and dulce de leche with a candy shell.


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