The New Era of Fulton Market Dining

When it comes to West Loop dining, Restaurant Row has long garnered most of the spotlight. While Fulton Market was renowned for a few restaurants, it paled in comparison to the street a couple blocks south. But in recent years, colossal openings have changed the tides and made for a rival “restaurant row” altogether. In recent years and months, the area has seen the debut of doughnut shops, ramen restaurants, artsy bars, South American food, a Mexican cemitas spot, and more. Especially with a handful of new eclectic forthcoming openings, Fulton Market looks like it’s about to become tastier than ever. Here’s what we’re excited for:


Smack Shack
Lobster roll at Smack Shack



Duck Duck Goat: Likely the most major opening due on Fulton Market in coming months is Stephanie Izard’s Duck Duck Goat. Her third restaurant (her first on Fulton) skews Chinese, offering a her meticulous take on the cuisine from a chef who’s traveled to China and proven her culinary mettle at nearby Girl & the Goat and Little Goat, not to mention that handy Top Chef victory years back. Expect chef-y interpretations of dumplings, hand-pulled noodles, and a Taiwanese takeout window for street food. Duck Duck Goat is on track for November. 

Gus’s Fried Chicken: Fulton Market is about to get a taste of Memphis. Tennessee’s famous Gus’s Fried Chicken chose the West Loop street for its first Chicago location, set to land in the coming months with its crispy brand of deep-fried comfort. When the Southern concept takes shape, it will become a welcome casual reprieve from the sea of sceney, pricey establishments. The cult following for the chicken is well earned, due to chicken recipes dating back to the 1950’s. The family-run establishment has been going so strong in its home state, that expansion was imminent and highly craved.  

Smack Shack: Another casual venture expanding from another state has chosen Fulton Market as its Chicago base. This one hails from Minneapolis, a lobster roll food truck-turned restaurant called Smack Shack. It’s en route to the new Google building through a local partnership with Four Corners Tavern Group. In addition to lobster rolls, diners can savor stone crab and shrimp po’boys, among other seafaring delicacies. The restaurant makes landfall in Chicago early next year. 

Roister: Along with Duck Duck Goat, the other internationally anticipated restaurant due on Fulton Market is Roister. By way of Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas, Roister fills the void vacated by iNG, right next to their game-changing combo that is Next and The Aviary. Due at some point this fall, the eagerly awaited Roister promises to be a boisterous departure from Next and Alinea, featuring loud music, snug tables, and open-flame cookery.

- Matt Kirouac