Think Spring: Next Season's Most Anticipated Restaurants
As we enter March and the final lap of winter, thoughts turn to greenery and flowers and farmers' markets and fresh beginnings. Notable among those fresh beginnings is a new crop of restaurants and bars set to blossom next season. Here are some of the top spots we're most looking forward to this spring in Chicago:
New spots from Scofflaw: The folks behind Scofflaw and Slippery Slope already have a strong hold on Logan Square's drinking, snacking, and dancing scene. In the coming months, that vice grip is going to get even tighter. This spring, they'll expand with an unnamed tiki bar and an unnamed seafood restaurant, both in Logan Square at undisclosed locations. If Scofflaw's gin-centric cocktails and stellar bar food, and Slippery Slope's groovy bottled cocktails are any indication, this bodes extremely well for the neighborhood's ever-burgeoning dining landscape.
Pub Royale: Speaking of expansions, one restaurant and bar group is poised to become one of the biggest hospitality juggernauts in Chicago this year. Heisler Hospitality, manned by Matt Eisler and Kevin Heisner, already operate such hot spots as Lone Wolf, Sportsman's Club, Trenchermen, and Bar DeVille, and in the coming months they're going to grow exponentially, starting with an Anglo-Indian Ukrainian Village barstaurant called Pub Royale. Moving into the shuttered SmallBar Division space, Pub Royale features English-style Indian street food courtesy of director of culinary development Jason Vaughan.
Mondo Meatball: Chicago has been slow to hop on the meatball-centric restaurant bandwagon, but better late than never. Mondo Meatball is rolling into the former Azzurra space in Wicker Park, taking shape as Chicago's first meatball brick and mortar restaurant. With chef John Sullivan at the helm, the meatball-focused menu will feature globally inspired meatball dishes flavored with ingredients and sauces from Thai cuisine, Korean pantries, Latin America, and more.
Rural Society: One of our most anticipated steakhouses of the year is also one of our most awaited spring debuts. Jose Garces marks his second Chicago restaurant next season with Rural Society in Streeterville's new Loews Chicago Hotel. This is a steakhouse with an Argentine accent, featuring primarily South American sourced beef and ample meats cooked over hardwood and charcoal grills. Expect other non-steak dishes like empanadas and asado mixtos of beef, pork, blood sausages, and lamb sweetbreads.
The General: From Bari to The Goddess and Grocer, we love a good grocery store/cafe combo. The General is the next on our radar, marching into Logan Square this spring with Mexican provisions and eats. Located in the bygone Provenance Food and Wine space, The General will peddle house-smoked meats, handmade tortillas, a Bloody Mary bar, and a Mex-heavy menu by Anthony Mugica.
The Blanchard: In the midst of so many Mexican and Italian openings throughout Chicago, French cuisine often gets lost. There aren't too many French restaurants opening, it seems. One we're particularly jazzed about is The Blanchard, a Lincoln Park project from itinerant chef Jason Paskewitz. Modernist French is the name of the game here, where Paskewitz plans a whole menu section devoted to foie gras and contemporary riffs on classic French creations like blanquette de veau.
Son of a Butcher Tavern: The restaurateur behind Pearl Tavern, Adolfo Garcia, branches out to Logan Square this spring with Son of a Butcher Tavern. Nestled along that red-hot stretch of Diversey home to Fat Rice and Lost Lake, this new venture aims to recall corner taverns and butcher shops of American yore. Chef Frank Valdez command a menu based in off cuts of meat, from oxtail and chicharrones to pork cheeks and sausages. The beverage program is filled with whiskeys, cocktail classics, wine, and beer.
- Matt Kirouac