Restaurant news is never-ending in Chicago – of course, because we’ve now been named the 2017 Restaurant City of the Year by Bon Appetit magazine. We have a lot to be proud of, they tell us – as if we didn’t know! And it goes way beyond deep dish pizza and hot dogs with celery salt. Their take on the best hot dog places in Chicago disagrees in some measure with the rankings from Chicago Tribune, Chicago Eater and TimeOut Chicago.- in case you decide to invest the time to do a serious hot dog tour. At any rate, here are seven Chicago restaurants making news now.
Nando’s PERi-PERi will open its flagship Chicago restaurant at 155 N. Michigan on September 4 at 11am. This new and highest profile location, at Michigan Avenue and Lake Street, marks the 12th in the Chicago area, all known worldwide for spicy flame-grilled chicken and always-unique buildings that sport earthy textures and bright colors. The new location features a 21-foot installation crafted from 6,800 repurposed aluminum cans from Two Brothers microbrewery to form pendant lights in a grand chandelier that’s suspended over the main stairwell. It designed by Tulsha Booysen, a 19-year-old student from Cape Town, South Africa, in collaboration with Nando’s Chicago-based architecture firm. Come for the deliciously fresh food and bask in the artwork.
South Water Kitchen, a Kimpton kitchen at 225 N. Wabash, is excited to announce the appointment of new Head Bartender, Melissa Carroll and welcome you to enjoy the debut of her first cocktail menu – a summer-focused list of 13 original cocktails. Melissa steps handily into the footsteps of former Head Bartender Dan Rook (RedEye’s “Best Bartender of 2015”) who left his Chicago post to head up Kimpton’s newest LA opening, Ever Bar. Melissa has some serious chops, having previously been behind the stick at Spiaggia Restaurant and the JW Marriott’s Lobby Lounge. Her new menu uses uses locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients and whimsical touches that “evoke memories of childhood.” Check these out: *The “Farmhouse” Ketelweissen evokes the sense of beer with delicate herbaceous notes and a light, caramel flavor. *The PB&G is a Gin & Tonic is a play on Chef Roger’s PB&J Grilled Cheese. *The Son of a Peach packs a tart whiskey punch. *Chicago spin on a classic Negroni, the 1919 is misted with Malort.
- Good Fortune – a seafood-focused pop-up in the former Sink/Swim space on Armitage in Logan Square – opens August 18th and runs through the end of 2017. It’s the first in a series of new restaurant and bar concepts planned in Chicago within the next 12 months by the new collective, Out To Lunch Hospitality. The new group is led by Creative Director Andrew Miller, an international culinary and food services strategist, and Executive Chef Charles Welch (Sepia, mk Restaurant), who gained critical acclaim at Honey’s.
- Benihana is back in downtown Chicago. Starting August 23, you can enjoy Japanese-inspired teppanyaki and sushi in the Concourse level of the John Hancock building, 875 N. Michigan Ave. across from Water Tower. To celebrate this grand opening,
Benihana will host patients of Lurie Children’s Hospital and their families at a pre-opening and will donate 10 percent of opening-day revenues. So come for the Benihana experience and help out the kids on August 23. Hours: M-Th 11am-11pm, F-Sa 11am-11:30pm (Sunday 10pm). Happy Hour Mon – Friday 4 – 6pm.
- Join the fun at Ceres Table, 3124 N. Broadway, on Friday, Aug. 11 as they roll out their new Apéritivo (Happy Hour) menu. Check out the Apérol Spritz cart on the patio from 5 – 7pm and enjoy free samples of Apérol Betty spritz. The Apérol crew will also be giving out branded goods to those who arrive early to join in the fun. Spritzes are traditionally low alcohol cocktails served in Italy during the hours between work and play. Inside at the bar, the “build your own spritz” promotion will feature Apérol, Campari, or the Cynar apéritivo for $6. House wine (white, red, rosé or sparkling) and draft beers, are $6, and full bottles of house wine $20 make great accompaniments to the new small bites “bar only” menu.
The brand new 159-room Ace Hotel Chicago has just opened at 311 N. Morgan St. It offers event and public spaces along with a signature restaurant and rooftop bar in one of the city’s most vibrant cultural, food, art and design scenes. Waydown, the rooftop/lounge area located on the hotel’s seventh floor, offers panoramic views of the downtown skyline. Enjoy inspired cocktails, spirits and beer & wine menus created by Caitlin Laman, Ace Hotel Chicago Beverage Director. Waydown offers a selected food menu from the hotel’s Executive Chef, Pat Sheerin. For a full dining experience, check out the hotel’s signature restaurant, City Mouse — a collaboration with Chef Jason Vincent and his team from the much-lauded Giant in Logan Square.
- Chicago Firehouse Restaurant. A devastating fire in December 2014 nearly destroyed this treasured Chicago landmark (received Landmark status in October 2003). Fortunately, the owners O’Malley rebuilt the 230-seat facility in a way that fully honors the details of architectural styles of the early 1900s.
- Happy Hour Sunday through Thursday from 4-6pm – menu featuring bar bites and $5 martinis and wine changes weekly
- Beautiful Solarium on first floor and a Veranda on the second floor – perfect for ladies who lunch, brunch, wine and dine
- New Brunch menu here.