Dining Chicago

The New Restaurant Rows

In terms of "restaurant rows," everyone knows the West Loop stretch of Randolph Street is a Mecca for dining and drinking. Even Fulton Market a couple blocks north has filled in nicely, and continues to do so. But throughout Chicago, different stretches of streets are filling in with new restaurants and bars, forming all new "restaurant rows" in varying neighborhoods. Here are some to hit up now or keep an eye on: 

 

Son of a Butcher
Son of a Butcher



Diversey Avenue: After the core of Logan Square got popularized with spots like Longman & Eagle, Reno, and Jam, businesses eventually starting shifting northward towards the Avondale border. The stretch of Diversey Avenue between Kedzie and California has since filled in nicely with some serious dining destinations, one of which has emerged as one of the hottest restaurants in the country. That spot is Fat Rice, a restaurant hinged on the wholly unique concept of Macanese cuisine, exemplified with handy dexterity by chef Abe Conlon in dishes like sambal eggplant, house-cured salt cod spread, Portuguese chicken, cured Chinese sausage, and some of the best potstickers anywhere. East a few blocks is L'Patron, an unassuming taqueria that has grown to double its space and become known as one of the best spots in town for tacos and burritos. Right nearby is Masa Azul, a more modern Mexican spot, complete with a serious tequila and mezcal program. One of the newest additions to the Diversey stretch is Son of a Butcher, a meaty tavern with an engaging menu rife with duck heart, bone marrow, lamb tartare, beef tongue, chicken confit, hog Wellington, and more. In terms of drinking, the crown jewel of Diversey is now Lost Lake, a tiki bar helmed by superstar mixologist Paul McGee and Land and Sea Dept. These are some of the mightiest tiki tipples in all the land, featuring a dynamic menu of bracing beverages served in a beachy, tropical, and outright transportive cavern of a space. 

Augusta Boulevard: Far from any train station, it's a curious thing that the nexus of California and Augusta in Humboldt Park has emerged as one of the most up-and-coming dining and drinking nooks in Chicago. The lack of public transit certainly hasn't hindered development though, because the stretch of Augusta from that intersection to Western has absolutely erupted with action. Rootstock is one of the original forebears of the changing tide, serving up wine, craft beer, and exceptional "bar food" and plates for years now on California. What's newer is what has happened on opposing sides of that intersection. Haywood Tavern brought burgers, lobster rolls, and European-inspired fare to the other side of California. Acclaimed restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff took over the esteemed California Clipper cocktail bar and re-opened it last year, complete with a mammoth cocktail book and periodic variety shows on a small stage. Around the corner from the Clipper, Sodikoff opened C.C. Ferns, a kitchy coffee bar accentuated by a cigar wall, wine, boozy steamers, and couches and paraphernalia that looked like they were plucked from the set of That '70's Show. And I mean that in a very good way. Sodikoff is also rumored to be planning a new restaurant in a former auto-body shop across Augusta from C.C. Ferns. At the very corner of California and Augusta, sandwiched between the bar and the cafe, is Spinning J, an old fashioned soda fountain and bakery I recently extolled for all its beautiful cookies, pies, and housemade sodas. Still to come at this intersection is Calaugusta Cafe and Grocer, a cafe/bistro/grocery concept going into the former Knockbox space from a former Rootstock chef. Further east down Augusta, you'll see a slew of other spots at the Western intersection, including French-German steakhouse Boeufhaus, sustainable chicken sandwich spot Leghorn, and beloved cocktail bar Sportsman's Club

 

C.C. Ferns
C.C. Ferns



Wabash Avenue: In the downtown area, Wabash has long fallen into the shadows along its more popular sibling streets Michigan and State. But thanks to a flurry of activity in recent months, the street under the El tracks is stepping into the spotlight. The Virgin Hotel, the first and currently only Virgin Hotel in the world, had a lot to do with that. Poised at Wabash and Lake, the cheeky and contemporary hotel brought with it a handful of cool new dining and drinking options, like Miss Ricky's diner, Two Zero Three coffee bar/wine bar, The Commons Club restaurant, and a chic rooftop bar on the 26th floor. Further down Wabash, you'll find Chicago's first location of Good Stuff Eatery, the D.C.-based burger concept from Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn. Across the street is The Goddess and Baker, a new bakery-driven concept from the successful Goddess and Grocer collective, as well as a new Protein Bar

Armitage Avenue: Back towards Logan Square, new restaurants and bars are swarming all over Armitage Avenue, especially the portion that runs from California westward to Kedzie and beyond. Starting at the eastern terminus, esteemed chef and Topolobampo alum Brian Enyart is just about ready to launch his highly anticipated Mexican-inspired restaurant, Dos Urban Cantina. Parson's Chicken & Fish, situated at the corner of Armitage and Humboldt, is still one of the most popular spots in the city, adored for its Negroni slushies, its fried chicken, and its sprawling patio. Towards Armitage and Kedzie, you have Scofflaw cocktail bar, along with sister spot, Sink|Swim, the first restaurant-focused concept from the folks behind Scofflaw. Cemitas Puebla just opened a pop-up location across the street on Armitage, and the Scofflaw peeps are even planning a new bar there as well. 

 

 


Hogsalt Hospitality Group (Au Cheval, Bavette's, etc.) has acquired the iconic cocktail lounge that opened first in 1937. While much of the original interior stays intact, the new owners have...


Rootstock is a project from three former Webster Wine Bar employees with a focus on small-batch wine and beer. The food menu supports local farmers, hormone-free meats and seasonal produce...

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A menu rooted in Southwestern fare is the attraction at this Logan Square lounge that's also popular for its agave-focused cocktail bar. There is artisanal, small-batch tequila, mezcal, sotol, bacanora...

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. An alum of the Rick Bayless empire is behind this casual taqueria, going back to his roots with housemade tortillas aplenty, used to make some of the best tacos...


The first in Heisler Hospitality's neighborhood tavern series of bars, Sportsman's Club is a corner bar that derives distinct inspiration from American taverns of yore. Classic, spirit-forward cocktails are the...


The team behind Element Collective (Kinmont, Old Town Social, Nellcote, RM Champagne Salon, Owen & Alchemy) debuts its first fast-casual concept with the arrival of a chicken-focused BYOB spot in...

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"Top Chef" alum Spike Mendelsohn--who competed against Chicago chef Stephanie Izard (Girl and the Goat, Little Goat) during season four--brings his burger concept to the Windy City. Expect gourmet burgers,...

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Pastries, sandwiches, and coffee drinks are the focal point at this condensed version of The Goddess and Grocer.


Everyone’s welcome at the Commons social club, where you can get out of Chicago’s stormy rough-and-tumble and get a touch of Virgin warmth. Enjoy an early hour farm-fresh breakfast, a...


As one the newest prominent neighborhood landmark for a night out and quick bites, Don't hesitate in the early morning noshes plus all the fun in between. The floks here...


Share pastries, toasts and philosophy in our fast-paced “see and be seen” newsstand inspired coffee bar. At night, the bar transitions into a wine social serving a light menu of...


With a name partly derived by its sister bar around the corner, the California Clipper, C.C. Ferns marks Hogsalt Hospitality Group's next foray into the Humboldt Park dining and drinking...


The former chef of Rootstock hops across the block in Humboldt Park to delve even further into the community-oriented neighborhood ideal.

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Haywood Tavern began as a vision between Rodney Staton & Jason Balutan of creating an inviting neighborhood space with quality food, a great drink selection and a welcoming, casual environment....

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Harkening back to sweet yesteryear, Spinning J is an old timey soda fountain and bakery in Humboldt Park. From the soda fountain counter stools to the pastry case brimming with...

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