To keep tabs on every Chicago restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past 30 (or so). Bon appétit.
This month we’re highlighting a few Chicago restaurants reemerging in new locations. Take West Loop’s Eden, which recently reopened in a new Avondale space complete with an expanded on-site greenhouse and patio — or Publican Quality Bread, the top-notch bakery that supplies Chicago’s best restaurants, which opened its own storefront slinging artisan pastries and breads. Plus, there’s a brand new Loop food hall featuring new local vendors and some old favorites, including Tempesta Market and a partnership between Chicago Lunch Box and Phodega. With summertime Chi in full swing, you’ll also see a Mexican-inspired cocktail bar on the roof of the new Emily Hotel in the West Loop. Read on for more.
You’re here because: You’re back to working in the office and need a mid-week pick-me-up.
You’re dining on: Eats from seven (and counting) local vendors inside this new food hall within the revamped Old Post Office. The sprawling space highlights the city’s best culinary talent, from chef Ashley Robinson’s global pastries and Tempesta Market’s piled-high sandwiches to a new collab between Phodega and Chicago Lunch Box featuring Vietnamese street food. From Here On boasts a 26,000-square-foot outdoor patio, with the Chicago River acting as a perfect backdrop for a post-work happy hour. Grab a drink from Snorkelbox, the food hall’s central bar focused on seasonally inspired and classic cocktails.
433 W. Van Buren St. (map)
You’re here because: You’re a fan of chef Devon Quinn’s fare from Eden’s original West Loop locale.
You’re dining on: Eden’s new Avondale space features a larger greenhouse, outdoor patio and a market where you can pick up gifts, pantry items and home goods. For now, Eden is focusing on breakfast and lunch service with dinner to follow. As at its original location, Eden focuses on dishes with greenhouse-grown and local ingredients. Fresh baked goods, smoothies and morning staples like avocado toast grace the menu each morning, while for lunch you’ll find salads, sandwiches and grain bowls like the ancient grains bowl with chickpeas, farro, brown rice, lemon thyme ricotta and curried vinaigrette. A full bar of specialty cocktails rounds out the current offerings.
2734 W. Roscoe St. (map)
You’re here because: You’re a sucker for a rooftop bar and ‘tis the season to enjoy one in Chicago.
You’re dining on: Selva (that’s “jungle” in Spanish) brings Mexican fare and mezcal to the top of the new Emily Hotel (formerly the Ace). Grab your friends to take in scenic views of the Chicago skyline as you sip trendy drinks like the Ekto Cooler with Galliano l’autentico, grapefruit liqueur, lemon and basil. Those who strike up an appetite will find four varieties of tacos, including duck carnitas and lamb barbacoa, plus pickled shrimp ceviche and a smash burger loaded with rajas, pepper jack and achiote aioli.
311 N. Morgan St.. (map)
You’re here because: You’re winding down after gorging yourself on dim sum down the street.
You’re dining on: While you might not think of Chinatown as a cocktail destination, Nine Bar is trying to change that. The bar has a dark, speakeasy vibe; it’s hidden behind Moon Palace Express, a 50-year Chinatown staple. Pop over for unique highballs and curated cocktails like the Paper Dragon with tequila, Salers Aperitif, passionfruit, Sichuan peppercorn and citrus. A short list of snacks is also available, including mapo hot fries with chili pork and togarashi, and a “McKatsu” sandwich with fried pork, American cheese, pickled radish, bulldog sauce and Chinese hot mustard.
216 W. Cermak Rd. (map)
You’re here because: You have fine taste and high expectations when it comes to baked goods.
You’re dining on: Gourmet sandwiches, pastries and breads at Publican’s first public-facing bakery. Famed baker Greg Wade and One Off Hospitality now offer the same high-quality baked goods they’ve been handing off to Chicago’s top restaurants for years. Wade and team pour their heart into every menu item, from morning buns and croissants to gourmet sandwiches like the can’t-miss “Big Sandwich” with mortadella, Stracciatella, arugula, Vidalia onions, Dijon and balsamic and sour cherry spread on a Roman-style pizza base. Specialty desserts and an expanded selection of breads will be on rotation each weekend.
1759 W. Grand Ave. (map)
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