Before you chalk this month up to lofty Back to the Future predictions that didn’t come true, consider that several noteworthy restaurants and bars -- including more than just a couple steakhouses -- opened across the city. Easily the best news Marty and Doc could get this October. Here’s a look at the standouts.
Chicago’s Best Restaurant and Bar Openings in October
Toeing the line between steakhouse and nightclub, this self-proclaimed “sexy” new spot promises to be a see-and-be-seen destination for Chicago’s stylish set. The space flaunts a massive bar, curved booth seating, and an elevated DJ platform. Menu standouts include seared foie with huckleberry pancakes, orange marmalade, gingersnap crumbs, and a spiced rum reduction as well as an assortment of steaks organized by “small,” “medium,” and “large” cuts.
Given the success of its original location in River North, it’s no surprise that Lettuce Entertain You’s hipster-friendly coffee house and restaurant would open a second location. The new outpost, located in Northwestern Memorial Hospital, serves the same health-driven comfort foods you know and love, like bruleed oatmeal and quinoa chili, and also showcases a new “Market @ Beatrix” addition flush with grab-and-go meals and snacks and a “chocolate closet” replete with gift boxes and candies.
Finally, what we’ve all been waiting for: a restaurant within a Restoration Hardware store so we can eat over an industrial-chic TV stand. New from Brendan Sodikoff (Au Cheval, Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf), this convenient all-day café slings everything from Doughnut Vault donuts and an RH scramble (free-range farm eggs, avo, crème frâiche, and chives) to a French cheese board and a grass-fed beef burger, and, to further soften the blow of said TV stand, a curated wine and beer list.
This popular Puerto Rican food truck now lays claim to its first brick-and-mortar digs: a small counter-service storefront on W 18th St. The fast-casual eatery specializes in jibaritos, sandwiches that come stacked with proteins like seared steak or chicken, lettuce, tomato, and American cheese between a fried plantain “bun,” but you can also score empanada baskets, slow-roasted pork platters with rice and sweet plantains, and more.
Two and a half years in the making and one name change later, the latest project from Boka Restaurant Group and B. Hospitality Co. has finally arrived. The massive modern steakhouse concept features a seafood restaurant within the restaurant, a stylish design with pastoral Midwestern touches, and a menu crafted by Chris Pandel (Bristol, Balena) that ranges from classic steaks and chilled king crab legs to creative dishes, like celery root agnolotti and Skuna Bay salmon with “borscht” pumpernickel crumble.
Also contributing to the steakhouse boom is the long-awaited Maple & Ash, a dimly lit house of carnivory that harkens back to Chicago’s heyday as the Midwest’s steakhouse epicenter. The menu centers around items grilled on a wood-burning hearth, such as a 40oz porterhouse and a 28-day dry-aged strip. Also of note? An Anchorman-inspired cocktail called the “Scotchy, Scotch, Scotch” that promises to be, well, exceptionally Scotch-y.
Add this spinoff barbecue joint to the Loop’s ever-expanding roster of fast-casual options. It’s the latest from Tavern Collective (Tapworks Tavern & Grill, Jackson Tavern) and offers a customizable experience for Downtown lunch-goers; options include hardwood slow-cooked beef brisket and pulled pork served as a sandwich, bowl, plate, or salad and a host of sides, like collard greens and jalapeno-cheddar cornbread.
For those looking to get a craft brew buzz on in the Southport Corridor, this one’s for you: the same folks that brought you DryHop now bring you a part-brewery, part-kitchen concept flush with beer offerings, chorizo Brussels sprouts with aged manchego and caramelized onions, beer-steamed Belgian-style mussels, and more. Want some suds to go? The brewery also sells 32oz crowlers (can growlers) for your sipping pleasure.
1. STK9 W Kinzie St, Chicago
2. Beatrix519 N Clark St, Chicago
3. 3 Arts Club Cafe1300 N Dearborn St, Chicago
4. The Jibarito Stop1646 W. 18th St, Chicago
5. Swift & Sons1000 W. Fulton, Chicago
6. Maple & Ash8 W Maple Street, Chicago
7. Piggyback BBQ176 N. Wells Street, Chicago
8. Corridor Brewery & Provisions3446 N Southport Ave, Chicago
STK is a stylish spot that blurs the line between modern steakhouse and chic lounge/nightclub. Menu items feature high-end beef and seafood. With a trendy decor and crowd, STK is a perfect stop for afternoon drinks or a night out in the Windy City.
A local restaurant and coffeehouse, created by chef partners John Chiakulas, Rita Dever, and Susan Weaver, put together a menu inspired by Lettuce Entertain You's test kitchen. In the morning stop in for their honey & cinnamon latte, and finish off your evening divulging in their chili & chocolate glazed salmon. Also be sure to taste their raved about "Oh My! Caramel Pie" with shortbread cookie crust for dessert.
This restaurant within a Restoration Hardware store features an all-day cafe, french cheese boards, and a curated wine and beer list.
This once popular Puerto Rican food truck now has brick and mortar digs. The fast casual eatery specializes in jibaritos, sandwiches that come stacked with proteins like seared steak or chicken, lettuce, tomato, and American cheese between a fried plantain “bun.”
From Boka Restaurant Group and B. Hospitality, this massive and chic steakhouse in West Loop features a seafood restaurant within the restaurant, stylish design with Midwestern touches, and a menu that includes classic steaks, chilled king crab legs, gold leaf-flecked sundaes. How regal.
Glitz and glamour come in equal measure at this Gold Coast steakhouse, where heavy fabric is draped from the wooden ceiling and candles rest atop dark tablecloths. The menu here centers around items grilled on a wood-burning hearth, such as a 40oz porterhouse and a 28-day dry-aged strip. Not sure which cut to choose? Tell the waitstaff, "I don't give a f*@ck" -- an actual menu item that results in the chef's choice. And when you're finished, be sure to have Pastry Chef Aya Fukai present you with table-side sundae service.
This spinoff BBQ joint offers options like hardwood slow-cooked beef brisket and pulled pork served as a sandwich, bowl, plate, or salad with a host of sides, like collard greens and jalapeno-cheddar cornbread.
This part-brewery, part-kitchen concept is flush with beer offerings, chorizo Brussels sprouts with aged Manchego and caramelized onions, beer-steamed Belgian-style mussels and more.