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.
What used to be Dutch & Doc’s in Wrigleyville is now Swift & Sons Tavern, a spin-off of West Loop steakhouse Swift & Sons. The tavern is more casual than its sister restaurant, but is still focusing on steak and oysters.
This is a new vegan restaurant in Avalon Park, and they’re using their name to make sure there’s no confusion about what they serve. The menu has food like burgers, brats, and nachos, and everything is (obviously) plant-based.
Honeybear Cafe is a new restaurant in Rogers Park. It’s open from 7am-4pm every day with a long menu of breakfast food like pancakes, skillets, and crepes, but also serves sandwiches and salads in the afternoon.
Ok, we admit this opening is a little confusing. Cobblestone is a new restaurant in North Center that took over the former Northman space (which just closed). But it’s from the team behind the Bohemian House (also closed). You can expect to find European pub food like fish and chips, sausages, and (for now) the same long cider list.
We really like the original Daebak in Chinatown. This is their brand new location in Lincoln Park, and it serves the exact same Korean BBQ menu (and hopefully the same delicious kimchi pancake).
This is a new BYOB Mexican restaurant in Archer Heights. It’s mainly seafood-focused (with ceviches and whole-roasted fish), but also has things like burgers too.
The original My Place was in Chinatown and closed a year ago. They recently reopened in a new spot in the South Loop, with the same long menu filled with noodle soups, stir frys, and appetizers like shrimp toast and spicy pig ears.
El Fogon De Elan is an all-day Latin American spot that just opened in Albany Park. You’ll find dishes like the El Fogon Celentano (rice with steak, chorizo, chicharron, beans, eggs, and sweet plantains), arepas, and a variety of grilled meat entrees.
Just when we think Chicago’s influx of omakase-only restaurants is over, a new one appears. This time it’s Sushi Suite 202, a tiny six-seat spot in the Hotel Lincoln. It serves 17 courses of nigiri and sashimi for $125.
This is a casual new Turkish spot in Albany Park. The menu has a selection of spreads, soups, kebabs, and desserts like baklava.
Quiote was a great Mexican restaurant that closed last year. So we’re glad that Quiote’s former chef just opened Mundano, a brand new Latin American-inspired place in Lincoln Park. You’ll find dishes like savory churros with manchego, crispy pig’s ears, and smoked whitefish with salsa verde.
Mrs. Gu is a hot pot chain from China, and this new Chinatown location is the first one to open in the United States. You choose from five different broths and grab all the ingredients (like meats and vegetables) that go into the pot from self-serve coolers and stations.
This is a brand new fast-casual Asian spot from the team behind Yuzu, a sushi restaurant in West Town. It’s a build-your-own-bowl operation, where you choose your base, protein, and sauce.
Since Chicago can never have enough pizza places, we’re glad that Gallucci just opened in Old Town. This spot specializes in Neapolitan pies - like the Tartufata made with truffle cream and prosciutto, or the Norma topped with fried eggplant and smoked provolone.
In case it wasn’t obvious, this new spot in Logan Square is board game-themed. The menu is made of Spanish and Vietnamese small plates, and during dinner, a “professional board game teacher” will help you and your group choose a game to play.
Since we do everything possible to avoid going outside during the winter, this city loves attaching new bars to existing restaurants. That’s the case with Dorothy, a ’70s themed cocktail lounge that just opened in the basement of Split Rail in Humboldt Park. The large space is filled with retro furniture, plays vinyl, and has an upscale drink menu.
This is a new upscale Mexican restaurant in Pilsen. The menu has dishes like shrimp empanadas, fried avocado tacos, and roast chicken in mole.
This opening kind of sounds like the name of a Marilyn Manson album, but it’s actually a new coffee and tea shop in the West Loop. Eat Me Milk Me also serves bubble tea, cold foam tea, along with baos.
Black & Caspian is a new Mediterranean and Italian restaurant in Lakeview East. This means you can find everything from kebabs to pasta, and it’s open for brunch on the weekend.
Dash Of Salt And Pepper is a new breakfast spot in Lincoln Park. They’re open every day from 7am to 1pm, and serve classic diner food.
This is a rotary sushi bar in Chinatown, which means they have self-serve sushi on a conveyor belt. And it’s actually Sushi Plus’s third location.
New year, another food hall in Chicago. This one, Hayden Hall, is in the Loop and is from the people behind DMK. It has has a sit-down restaurant and a wine bar, along with ten counter service spots serving BBQ, sushi, Mexican, and more.
This is a new 70s and 80s themed restaurant in Logan Square. Welcome Back has snacks like chicken wings, mini corn dogs, and stadium nachos. The entrees are mostly sandwiches, with a walk-up window for ordering hot dogs.
Lexington Betty Smoke House is a food truck and restaurant in Oak Park, and this is their new BBQ stall in the One Eleven Food Hall in Pullman. They’re serving things like smoked ribs, brisket and rib tips, along with sides like macaroni, biscuits, and candied yams.
Chile Toreado is a new restaurant in McKinley Park from the people behind 5 Rabanitos, one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in the city. The menu has dishes like crepes and tlayudas, and there’s also a full bar. Just be aware, right now this place is cash only.
Opened by a former pastor (hence the name), this new North Center brewery has a BYOF taproom and occasional visits from food trucks.
It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that RPM Seafood, the new restaurant from the same team as RPM Steak and RPM Italian, is focusing on - wait for it - seafood. The long menu has things like crudo, shellfish towers, and grilled fish, along with some steaks and pastas. And this upscale spot is down the street from its predecessors in River North.
We also doubt you’ll be shocked that a restaurant named “I’m Vegan And Vegetarian” focuses on plant-based food. This new casual Thai BYOB in Lakeview has vegan dishes like pad siew, spring rolls, and tofu satay.
This is a new Great Lakes-themed restaurant in the South Loop, which means the menu has lots of fish like trout and walleye. There are also pizzas - but we’re not sure what those have to do with Lake Michigan.
Chef’s Special is a new Chinese restaurant in Bucktown from the people behind Giant. They have dishes like kung pao chicken, Mongolian beef, and scallop chow fun. It’s open until 2am, with a shorter late-night menu.
Technically Jerk Taco Man is a re-opening. After two years, this place is back in Garfield Park, serving jerk tacos along with Jamaican food including curry goat, brisket, and oxtail stew.
Along with noodles, curry, and dishes like Thai-style fried chicken, this new Thai restaurant in Roscoe Village also has a full cocktail bar.
Sam & Gertie’s is a new vegan Jewish deli in Uptown from the same people as Kāl’ish next door. You’ll find things like eggless egg salad, smoked “whitefish,” and meatless corned beef sandwiches, along with gluten-free, vegan bagels. For now, this place is only open on the weekends, so if you’re looking for a vegan lox bagel on a Tuesday, you’ll be out of luck.
This is the new sit-down version of Jibaritos Y Más, a Puerto Rican takeout spot in Logan Square. But if you prefer eating your jibaritos on your couch at home, the original is still open next door
Takito Street is a new casual Mexican restaurant in Lincoln Park from the same people behind Bar Takito.
Chi Yatai in Chinatown is a new spot in the Richland Center food court, with Japanese street food like katsu sandos, takoyaki, and bubble tea.
Rick Bayless’ takeover of Chicago continues - after already being in our airports, grocery stores, and Macy’s, he’s just opened a counter-service spot in the Willis Tower. Tortazo has tortas, soups, salads, and various other things you can eat between meetings.
Art of Dosa is a new restaurant that opened in the Revival Food Hall, and the menu is entirely vegan and gluten-free. Along with dosa wraps, you can get also get vegan ice cream in (you guessed it) dosa cones.
This is a new ramen spot in Lincoln Square from the team behind Ramen Takeya and Omakase Takeya. In addition to ramen, the menu has things like shumai, kakuni buns, and wings.
The original In On Thai was in Lakeview and closed in 2016. But now it’s back, with a location in Uptown serving housemade curries, noodle dishes, and specialties like spicy fried fish filet with crispy basil. So, technically, this is a re-opening.
In case you didn’t know, “016” is the area code of Leskovac, a city in Serbia. Hence the name of this new restaurant in Lincoln Square, which focuses on Serbian dishes like stuffed cabbage, beef stew, and grilled meats like chievapi (skinless beef sausages).
Phlavz is a food truck that just opened a new casual restaurant in University Village. The menu has dishes like jerk chicken tacos, salmon egg rolls, and jerk chicken alfredo.
This is a new spot in Logan Square that serves classic diner food along with things like boozy milkshakes. Victory Grill is also open until 3am (and 6am on the weekend), so you can come here after a night of dancing at The Owl.
Kostali is a new Mediterranean restaurant in River North from the same people as Brindille. It’s on the fifth floor of the Gwen hotel and serves dishes like spiced lamb hummus, chicken tagine and basque cake.
The second location of Kinton just opened in Wicker Park (the first is in the West Loop), and serves five styles of broth, along with shared plates like marinated octopus and karaage fried chicken.
Boqueria is a tapas restaurant originally from New York, and now there’s a new Chicago location in Fulton Market. It’s open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
This is a new takeout spot in the back of a Logan Square corner store, serving things like falafel and shawarma.
Porto is a new restaurant and wine bar in West Town from the same people behind Beatnik. Porto serves Galician, Portuguese, and Spanish seafood, including dishes made with imported conservas - canned, preserved fish from the region.
Since Chicago has a vendetta against food trucks, we have a lot of food halls instead. And Time Out Market is a massive new one in Fulton Market with 18 spots. It includes new locations of places like Duck Inn and Lost Larson, along with spin-offs of spots like Fat Rice. There are also three bars, including a rooftop spot and a tiki bar from the same people behind Lost Lake.
They already have a stall at Wells St. Market food all, and Fry The Coop just opened a new stand-alone hot chicken restaurant in West Town. Their chicken comes in six heat levels, from “country” (no spice) all the way to “lil’ insanity,” which sounds like it came from a mid-2000s rap name generator. They offer tenders and sandwiches, including one with a glazed donut as a bun.
This is a new speakeasy hidden behind Moreno’s Liquors in Little Village that’s focused on tequila and mezcal. In addition to liquor flights, they also serve beer and cocktails like “Last Words,” which takes a prohibition-era drink and replaces the gin with tequila.
If you’re looking for a new style of pizza to argue about with your friends, you can add “pinsa” to the list. It’s a type of Roman flatbread-style pizza made with a lighter, fermented dough. and it’s what you’ll find at L’Aventino Forno Romano in Streeterville.
This is a new natural wine bar in Logan Square from the people behind Scofflaw. Outside Voices also has a few bar snacks like charcuterie and cheese, mussels and sardines.
J.T.’s Genuine Sandwich Shop is a new counter-service spot in Irving Park specializing in Midwestern regional sandwiches, like Iowan loose meat and Detroit coney dogs (which only qualifies depending on your definition of “sandwich”). They also have soups, salads, and snacks like Frito pies and fried pickles.
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.
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.