Michigan Avenue means a lot of things to different people. For some, it's a tourist trap nightmare. For others, it's the gateway to gorgeous Millennium Park or the Art Institute. For others still, it's shopping Mecca. But few find the Magnificent Mile (and the parts of Michigan Avenue that stretch beyond the designated Mag Mile) to be a dining destination, save for occasional standouts like The Purple Pig and The Gage. But thanks to an incoming onslaught of new eateries, Michigan Avenue's dining scene is about to get a whole lot more magnificent.
(These Shake Shack burgers are about to be in your mouth)
Seven Lions: Alpana Singh struck wine gold with The Boarding House in River North, so now she's ready to branch out with restaurant #2. Along with business partners Matt Fisher and John Ward, the fiercely named Seven Lions will be going into 130 S. Michigan Ave. across from the palatial Art Institute. The American-inspired concept is poised for the same ravenous success as nearby The Gage, which draws in hordes of foot traffic in the area hankering for a good meal. Modern American cuisine adjoins a primarily American wine list at Seven Lions, which is under construction and due later this year or early next.
Shake Shack: Chicago's first outpost of New York City-based Shake Shack hasn't even opened yet — that one is due across the street from Eataly — but the company has already announced a follow-up location for Michigan Avenue. After the first one debuts by year's end in River North, the next one will go into the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel at Madison and Michigan in the Loop. The foot traffic magnet is sure to be a slam dunk with its crowd-pleasing medley of burgers, hot dogs, and frozen custard.
Acanto: Michigan Avenue is about to get a new Italian venture. Going into the former Henri space next to The Gage, owner Billy Lawless shifted gears with the name switching from the initial 10/6 to Acanto, something that actually sounds like an Italian restaurant. The same chef, Chris Gawronski, will lead the charge in the kitchen, with an opening date pegged for mid-August.
Le Pain Quotidien: Brussels-bred Le Pain Quotidien has made its mark on Chicago in a big way as of late. The cafe launched in the West Loop a few months ago, quickly opening locations in Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast shortly thereafter. Next, LPQ is planning a fourth location on Michigan Avenue right across from Millennium Park. Expect a fall debut for this new addition.
- Matt Kirouac