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Chicago Restaurant News

Brendan Sodikoff's Small Cheval in Bucktown is the second outpost of Au Cheval

Read about the openings, closings, chef shuffle, and special events in Chicago here. GAYOT's Restaurant News has the information you want on the local restaurants in Chicago.  

NEW RESTAURANTS IN CHICAGO


Michael Jordan's Restaurant will extend its brand to Oak Brook, bringing elevated American fare to its first suburban location on July 17. Executive chef Craig Couper, who oversees the operation on the Magnificent Mile, will deliver a menu representative of MJ's favorites, including a 23-ingredient chopped salad prepared tableside, Chilean sea bass and a pork tenderloin. The space will pay homage to the icon with the largest private collection of career-spanning photographs to date, and offer room for groups as large as 320 guests. Michael Jordan's Restaurant, 1225 W. 22nd St., Oak Brook, IL 60523, no phone.
 
Executive chef Andrew Zimmerman and managing partner Emmanuel Nony will debut Proxi, inspired by street foods, on June 13, 2017. The restaurant will offer snacks, small plates, raw selections, entrées and large-format dishes such as Wagyu sirloin, coal-roasted oysters and raw tuna. Look for brasserie-influenced design — brass-framed mirrors, rustic planks — and remnants of the old Werner Printing Company, now Proxi's home. The modern American concept, from the same team who launched Sepia, adds to the culinary richness of Restaurant Row. Proxi, 565 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60661, 312-441-1920.
 
Adding to just-opened Apogee lounge, Dana Hotel & Spa is again partnering with The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group on two food and beverage concepts to arrive mid-summer 2017: Portsmith, an upscale seafood spot; and Leviathan, a bar from Benjamin Schiller. The former will highlight dishes such as a foie donut, crispy octopus, and fried fish and waffles. Leviathan draws inspiration from the mythical sea monster, a theme that will be carried throughout with dark flavors, striking glassware and a dragon-scaled bar.
 
Chicagoans no longer have to make the trek to Lady Gregory's in Andersonville for traditional Irish fare. The beloved pub has launched an outpost on Wells Street, offering standards such as fish and chips, shepherd's pie and chicken curry to complement the full bar. Lady Gregory's, 1525 N. Wells St., Chicago, IL 60610, 312-888-9368.
 
The Hollander welcomes H! Bar, a place for music, craft cocktails, local beer and more just a hop from Wicker Park's Six Corners. The hotel lounge officially opens on June 9 with a three-DJ session and early vinyl lineup curated by local label Closed Sessions. The cocktail menu favors classics such as the Negroni, Moscow Mule, Paloma and Old Fashioned. H! Bar, The Hollander, 2022 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL 60647, 872-315-3080.
 
Sal's Trattoria, slated to open in June 2017 and from the team behind Butcher & The Burger, makes a home in West Lakeview. Chef/partner Allen Sternweiler will focus on antipasti, plus from-scratch linguine and clams, spaghetti and meatballs and pappardelle with mushrooms, artichokes, tomatoes and spinach. Entrées will include chicken saltimbocca, trout piccata, beef tenderloin and more. Finish with an olive cake, tiramisu or gelato. BYO through the end of June, while the restaurant awaits a liquor license. Sal's Trattoria, 2834 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, IL 60657, 773-857-1401.
 
The District in Oakbrook Center adds DMK Restaurants' DMK Burger Bar to its haute food offerings that already include Nando’s Peri-Peri Chicken and Porkchop BBQ. On the menu: 100 percent grass-fed beef burgers, veggie and turkey burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, hand-cut fries, house-made milkshakes and craft beer. DMK Burger Bar, The District in Oakbrook Center, 100 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, IL 60523, 630-573-0700.
 
Nutella Cafe has opened in Chicago Can a hazelnut spread sustain a standalone restaurant? On the Mag Mile it can. Swarms of Nutella fans lined up for the opening of America's first Nutella Cafe on Michigan Avenue on May 31. The all-day restaurant dishes up sandwiches, crêpes, gelato, baked goods and coffee drinks. Nutella Cafe, 189 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60601, 312-729-5186.
 
Two French concepts — Margeaux Brasserie and Petit Margeaux — will make their home in Waldorf Astoria Chicago, with chef-restaurateur Michael Mina as top toque and Brent Balika, formerly of The Dawson, as executive chef. The menu for the former will favor Midwestern ingredients while staying true to French classics, and include porclette cassoulet, escargot bordelaise and frog legs à la Trois Gros. Opening date TBD. Margeaux Brasserie & Petit Margeaux, Waldorf Astoria Chicago, 11 E. Walton Pl., Chicago, IL 60611, no phone.
 
Korean-inspired fare gets the fast-casual treatment at KorFusion in Lincoln Park. With a name befitting its cuisine, this quick-service concept marries traditional Korean recipes with American and other influences. Belly up to the counter for customizable bao tacos, mandu (pot stickers), burritos, tacos, rice bowls, bibimbap, kimchi fried rice and jap chae (traditional Korean glass noodles). Communal dining, delivery and takeout are available. Lunch & Dinner daily. KorFusion, 1234 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60642, 312-929-3166.
 
Ogilvie commuters rejoice: There's a new, larger stall for your poke cravings inside the Chicago French Market. Aloha Poke quadruples the size of its former location to serve the fresh, made-to-order raw fish bowls for takeout or dine-in. This is one of four outposts, with more planned. Aloha Poke, 131 N. Clinton St., Chicago, IL 60661, 312-285-2887.
 
Open since February 2017, Rhyme or Reason keeps retro fresh with its old-school fare and soulful jams. Look for weekend brunch classics such as country-fried steak sandwiches and deviled eggs to wash down with fresh punch and house micheladas. Lunch and dinner options keep playful notes. Live music takes center stage on weekends, whether that's a DJ spinning vinyl or vocalists. Rhyme or Reason, 1938 W. Division St., Chicago, IL 60622, 773-687-8240.
 
River Northers head up to rooftop lounge Apogee at Dana Hotel & Spa for large format cocktails from the team at The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group. The bar specializes in drinks for four to six guests. From the Panda Party (Blackstrap Rum, Cognac, lime, ginger and absinthe garnished with dehydrated citrus, pineapple leaves, orange powder, mint powder and sesame seeds) to the Surtur (Rye, a five-year-aged dark rum, Falernum, lime, grapefruit and Demerara syrup accented with Manhattan marshmallow), expect plenty of drama and flavor. Apogee, Dana Hotel & Spa, 2 W. Erie St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-202-6000.
 
Rooftop poolside lounge Cabana Club has launched at The Robey hotel in Wicker Park. Exuding a vacation vibe, the bar overlooks the Chicago skyline and the bustling Damen, North and Milwaukee cross streets below. Swimming is limited to hotel guests, but others can dine on small plates and drink Mexican-themed cocktails. Expect dishes such as tostadas with shrimp, tuna, octopus and chicken, and hand-held skewers and fresh vegetable crudité, plus white wine, rosé, and Mexican and local beer. Cabana Club, The Robey, 1616 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60647, 872-315-3083.
 
No, there's no rabbit on the menu --- although that would be ironic. Filling a void on the west side of Division Street, Clever Rabbit focuses on fresh, seasonal vegetables and sustainable meat and seafood divided into four sections: salads, vegetables, plates and for the table. Fresh juices are the secret to house cocktails, including the salt-rimmed carrot margarita with sage. Clever Rabbit, 2015 W. Division St., Chicago, IL 60622, 773-697-8711.
 
The Talbott Hotel experienced a renovation, and welcomes 20 East to its ground floor. All-day dining is offered; look for sandwiches, large plates, specials and more. The bar features wine, craft beer and cocktails such as the Aperol Spritz with Aperol, lemon and Prosecco; and the Lillet Rosé Martini with vodka, Lillet Rosé, St-Germain and lemon. 20 East, The Talbott Hotel, 20 E. Delaware Pl., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-944-4970.
 
House-made tortillas and handcrafted draft cocktails are the signatures of Fat Baby Tacos in River North. Choose from five styles of tacos and burritos, stuffed with slow-roasted chicken and carnitas, char-broiled steak and shrimp, and vegetarian-friendly queso and veggies. A 12-seat, all-season patio showcases a plant-inspired mural by local artist Kasi Turpin. Fat Baby Tacos, 109 W. Hubbard St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-527-2229.
 
A refurbished Wonder Bread truck acting as a barista station is the focal point of Werewolf Coffee Bar in West Lincoln Park, the first coffee bar from DMK Restaurants. Look for a menu listing local java blends from Dark Matter and Metropolis Coffee, as well as Rishi Organic Teas from Milwaukee. Werewolf Coffee Bar, 1765 N. Elston Ave., Chicago, IL 60642, 773-977-7673.
 
DineAmic Group will open Barrio in the heart of River North in summer 2017. "Top Chef" alum Katsuji Tanabe will helm the upscale, rustic Mexican concept. The restaurant will feature Mexican street food, a Mexican-style robata grill and dishes such as guajillo-glazed Berkshire pork belly and grilled diver scallop with poblano-uni relish. Barrio, 65 W. Kinzie St., Chicago, IL 60654, no phone.
 
Stylish, globally inspired plates shine at Entente Stylish, globally inspired plates shine at Entente, an intimate Lakeview restaurant. Intent on syncing with neighborhood and destination diners, the eatery makes a big impression with its well-edited menu driven by chef Brian Fisher (formerly of Schwa). Entente, 3056 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60657, 872-206-8553.
 

Find more recent openings with our list of the
Top 10 New & Notable Restaurants
and
round-up of all the NEW Restaurants in Chicago

CHICAGO RESTAURANT UPDATES

Blues & Brunch at River Roast
On June 17, River Roast launched a weekend blues brunch series with live performances complementing dishes such as mascarpone french toast, rabbit and waffles and Chef's Hash. The music lineup is as follows: Sat. June 24, Dave Herrero; Sun. June 25, Mike Wheeler; Sat. July 1, Big Lew & The Powerhouse Players; Sun. July 2, Billy Flynn & Friends; Sat. July 8, Corey Dennison; Sun. July 9, Ring of Music. To kick off the weekend, the restaurant will also host an after-work live music series with the Smiley Tillmon Band on Thurs. June 29 and Dave Specter on Thurs. July 6. River Roast, 315 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-822-0100.
 
Seven Lions Burger & Cocktail Inspired by Gauguin
Spend a day exploring Art Institute of Chicago’s "Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist" then hop over to Seven Lions for a meal inspired by the artist himself. The Gauguin Burger and Noa Noa cocktail riff off Gauguin's time in Tahiti, the former a single beef patty complemented by country pâté, pork belly, crispy plantains, grilled pineapple, and a coconut and red cabbage slaw. The drink combines dark rum, Tahitian vanilla-infused vodka and fruit served in a hurricane glass with a flower garnish. Seven Lions, 130 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60603, 312-880-0130.
 
Element Collective Launches All-day Rosé Program
Element Collective has introduced an all-day rosé program at Nellcote (833 W. Randolph St., 312-432-0500), RM Champagne Salon (116 N. Green St., 312-243-1199) and Old Town Social (455 W. North Ave., 312-266-2277). The menu covers 11 new rosé wines at Nellcote and Old Town Social, and as many as 16 new varieties at RM Champagne Salon.
 
Portillo's Resurrects Beloved Lemon Cake for Limited Time
Whether they are indulging in the signature Chicago-style hot dog or creamy chocolate cake, Chicagoans like Portillo's. It’s an institution, and now a fast-casual phenom in 40 states. The restaurant has decided to resurrect the once-discontinued lemon cake from June 13 to July 31. A select number of outposts will serve the cake by the slice and whole as a test to see whether it should be added nationwide. Lunch & Dinner daily. Portillo's, 100 W. Ontario St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-587-8910.
 
Primehouse Sweetens a Weekend
Primehouse might be known for its dry-aged cuts, but from June 30 to July 2, diners will get a taste of its sweeter side during its first Freeze Pop and Candy Shop Pop-Up. Hosted on the patio, the event will benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. The celebration opens with a boozy Strawberry Rosé freeze pop, available during happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, enjoy the Fizzy Lemon Lime and Blackberry Creamsicle freeze pops from noon to 2 p.m. Primehouse, The JAMES, 616 N. Rush St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-660-6000.
 
Mag Mile Steakhouse Celebrates National Steak Month
Michael Jordan's Steak House has released The Captain's List, a bounty of prime cuts, to celebrate National Steak Month in June. Choose from selections such as the Tomahawk, a 36-ounce Slagel Farms 45-day dry-aged steak; The Cowgirl, an Iowa premium, 18-ounce 30-day dry-aged steak; or the Chef's Beef Tasting, a sample of four four-ounce cuts including the American Wagyu striploin; a bone-in Linz Heritage Angus beef tenderloin; a USDA Prime wet-aged New York strip; or a 45-day dry-aged Linz Heritage Angus rib-eye ($110). Michael Jordan's Steak House, InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, 505 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-321-8823.
 
Celebrating Thai Flavors at Arun's
Arun's, a standard for Thai cuisine, introduces an immersive, educational experience via its Best of Thailand Monthly Dining Series. For two days each month starting June 21, 2017, diners can sample a themed, 10- to 12-course prix-fixe menu for $150 conceived by chef Arun Sampanthavivat, who has been at the helm for 32 years. The series follows this schedule: June 21-22, Regional Thai Cuisine; July 19-20, Vegetarian Thai; August 23-24, Marriage from Heaven, Wine and Food pairings; September 20-21, War of Thai Chili Dips; October 18-19, Thai Pasta; November 15-16, Thai Curry Night; December 13-14, Thai Comfort Food, Braised Better. Arun's, 4156 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago, IL 60618, 773-539-1909.
 
Topolobampo has unveiled a new design for the dining room New Look for Topolobampo
Rick Bayless' upscale Mexican restaurant Topolobampo has unveiled a new design for the dining room, including and undulating wood ceiling. Topolobampo, 445 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610, 312-661-1434.
 
Fig & Olive Launches Tea Service
Attention ladies who tea: Fig & Olive offers tea service Wednesday to Sunday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. For $35, enjoy traditional savory and sweet high tea menu items such as smoked salmon profiteroles, heirloom tomato tartlet, zucchini bread and white chocolate dried cranberry scones served with vanilla crème fraîche and honey butter, macarons and more. Upgrade to Royal Tea service (which includes Moët & Chandon Champagne) for $19 more. Reservations required. Fig & Olive, 104 E. Oak St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-445-0060.
 



UPDATES ON CHICAGO CHEFS


Working directly with The Barn’s executive chef Nicole Pederson, new chef de cuisine Amanda Barnes arrives just in time to launch the restaurant’s updated menu, outdoor garden and expanded dinner service (nightly) starting in June. With a decade of experience, Barnes will roll out dishes including burrata di bufala with tomato toast, crab spaghetti and seared halibut filet. The garden seats 48. The Barn, 1016 Church St., Evanston, IL 60201, 847-868-8041.
 
Angelina Bastidas, the youngest person ever to compete on “Top Chef,” is the new executive chef of Bin 36. She has created a menu that complements the core components of the restaurant: wine and cheese. Expect dishes such as miso-glazed wings, pork cheek meatballs and shrimp ravioli. Bastidas was formerly the executive chef of AMK Kitchen Bar. Bin 36, 161 N. Jefferson St., Chicago, IL 60661, 312-995-6560.
 
David Fingerman is now the chef of Atwood, located in The Alise Chicago, formerly Hotel Burnham, in the historic Reliance Building. He has unveiled a seasonal menu showcasing dishes such as chicken liver toast, spoonbread, and crispy skinned salmon paired with melted leeks and celery root purée. Fingerman was previously executive chef at Graham Elliot Bistro, and also held that position at Madrina in Dallas. Atwood, The Alise Chicago, 1 W. Washington St., Chicago, IL 60602, 312-368-1900.
 


CHICAGO RESTAURANT CLOSINGS


CLOSED FOR GOOD
Take your taste buds on a walk down memory lane! Check out our exclusive closed restaurant database for Chicago to virtually visit your favorite dining spots from yesteryear. The Dining Room, R.I.P.

mk, the flagship restaurant of DMK Restaurants, closed at the end of service on Tuesday, June 13, due to a reported dispute with the landlord. Owners Michael Kornick and David Morton still operate concepts DMK Burger Bar, Fish Bar, Ada Street, Henry's, Rec Room, County BBQ (which will reopen in August following a fire) and Tavernonna, based in Kansas City. mk had an 18-year run in River North. mk, 868 N. Franklin St., Chicago, IL 60610, no phone.
 
Cuban-focused restaurant La Havana Cafe (2525 W. Division St., Chicago) has shut down after more than a year in operation in Humboldt Park. La Havana Cafe, 2525 W. Division St., Chicago, IL 60622, no phone.
 

CULINARY EVENTS
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RESTAURANT AWARDS 2016

Find out which restaurants and chefs top the list of GAYOT's 2016 Annual Restaurant Awards.

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