12 Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings in Chicago

12 Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings in Chicago

Chicago is undoubtedly one of the best restaurant cities in the United States. This Fall looks to be promising with some very exiting and highly anticipated restaurant openings. In no particular order, these 12 restaurants have me drooling, even excited for the quickly approaching brisk fall weather.



1. The Barrelhouse Flat

Lincoln Park is getting an upscale mixology bar courtesy of former Violet Hour bartender Stephen Cole. The pre-Prohibition themed bar will serve artisanal punches, classic cocktails and an extensive beer and wine list. Expect house made juices, bitters and sodas produced with local ingredients. Opening October, 2624 N. Lincoln Ave | www.barrelhouseflat.com


2. 2 Sparrows

Chef/Partner Gregory Ellis and General Manager/Partner Steven Fladung have teamed up to open a seasonally driven breakfast, lunch and brunch spot in the heart of Lincoln Park where the food is fine dining and the atmosphere is casual. The duo plans to celebrate local ingredients, artisans, distillers and brewers with their ever-evolving Contemporary American comfort food menu and imaginative approach to cocktails. Opening September 19, 553 W. Diversy | www.2sparrowschicago.com


3. Uva

Chef Mark Mendez and wife, sommelier and entrepreneur Elizabeth Mendez are set to open Uva (meaning grape in Spanish) in the West Loop this fall. The focus will be on simple, elegant Spanish cuisine in portions intended for sampling and sharing. The beverage program will feature food friendly wines from around the world with a strong emphasis on Spain (and knowing Liz, plenty of Sherry will be included). Look for quality, artisanal products at this “chef-driven wine bar.” Opening October, 1023 W. Lake Street | www.uvachicago.com


4. Grange Hall Burger Bar

Chris and Angela Lee temporarily shuttered Indian restaurant Veerasway back in August to re-concept the space. Behold Grange Hall Burger Bar, a new farm-to-table concept for the ‘humble hamburger’. Grange Hall will serve burgers such as a grass-fed beef burger (hormone and antibiotic-free), free-range turkey burger and veg and legume burgers. Buns will be homemade and the farm-to-table philosophy will be extended to everything they do including pies, ice cream and breakfast. Opening Autumn, 844 West Randolph Street | www.grangehallburgerbar.com


5. Slurping Turtle

James Beard Award winning chef Takashi Yagihashi is opening a Japanese Tapas and Noodles restaurant in the heart of River North. According to Twitter, their dishes will include soy coconut panna cotta, a noodle bar, a Bincho grill with something for everyone from eggplant to quail, a dumpling bar, a sashimi bar, and salted caramel cheesecake with sweet bean paste and shaved mandarin ice. Opening late September/early October, 116 W. Hubbard St | www.takashichicago.com


6. Tavernita

Chef Ryan Poli has teamed up with Mercadito Hospitality group to create this “sexy, spirited, modern restaurant”. Expect a small-plates menu of European-inspired dishes with Mediterranean and Latin flavors. The beverage program aims to offer vibrant selections from around the world. Look for influences from their R&D trip to Spain. Opening late September/early October, 151 W. Erie St | www.tavernita.com


7. Yusho

Chef Matt Merges, former chef de cuisine of Charlie Trotter, is opening a Yakitori restaurant in Logan Square. While details are few and far between, Chef Merges’ interview with the Chicago Food Snob answers some questions about the new spot. Opening October, 2853 N. Kedzie



Tony Mantuano’s latest project is to revamp the formerly French Bistro 110 into a modern Italian (sure to be) hot spot. On August 18, Chef Mantuano tweeted “My new restaurant will be BAR TOMA featuring pizzas, mozzarella bar and much, much more. Updates weekly! You heard it hear first.” He has yet to tweet more updates, but be sure to follow @TonyMantuano. Opening October, 110 E Pearson


9. Balena

Landmark Grill is out and Balena is in. Boka Group and The Bristol team are collaborating on this rustic Italian concept, which undoubtedly means a lot of success. Look for seasonal Italian dishes from Chef Chris Pandel, an Italian heavy wine list, pizza delivery and a brand new interior. Opening Fall 2011, 1633 N. Halsted St


10. Nellcôte

Jared Van Camp, Executive Chef of Old Town Social, is set to open his new, luxurious but affordable West Loop spot. The locally sourced menu takes inspiration from Italy, France, and Spain and will include pizzas and pastas made from flour milled on site. Menu changes daily. Opening November, 833 W. Randolph | www.nellcoterestaurant.com


11. Pump Room

Award-winning chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has been brought on to open a restaurant in the forthcoming PUBLIC hotel. Everything has been hush-hush but the press release noted that it will be New York City’s ABC Kitchen (James Beard 2011 Best New Restaurant) for the Chicago market. Opening October 11, 1301 N State St


12. The Southern Mac & Cheese Store

If you are a fan of the Southern Mac & Cheese Truck, get excited for the new Southern Mac & Cheese Store. Not much information has been released, but it is supposed to open in two weeks. The Southern Mac & Cheese truck is currently 26th in the Food Networks “The Great Food Truck Race”. Opening September, 60 E. Lake St | www.thesouthernmac.com

Rachel Taylor


Rachel Taylor is the social media manager and marketing associate for a wine importer. She is a digital native with deep experience building brands and marketing companies via social media. Rachel caught the wine bug amidst the Missouri Wine Trail while attending the University of Missouri. The deal was sealed after a visit to Napa for her 21st birthday. Since then she has enjoyed reading and writing about wine and food, and obtained her WSET Advanced Certificate.

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