As we slowly emerge from hibernation and attempt to tuck our down-filled coats in the back of our closets, it's time to venture beyond our usual haunts in search of new and interesting food and drinks. This month is filled with worthy contenders, with Stephanie Izard bringing you goat belly lo mein, the crew behind Dusek's breaking in a new drinking den, and River North providing a club for playing ping pong(?).

Anthony Tahlier

Duck Duck Goat

West Loop

Top Chef-winner Stephanie Izard’s (Girl & the Goat, Little Goat) long-awaited Chinese-inspired restaurant has finally arrived on Fulton Market. Designed by the same folks behind Boka Restaurant Group’s Momotaro, the 100-seat space is undeniably cool and stylish from the jade goat-themed cocktail lounge to the weathered portraits to the peking ducks hanging in the kitchen window. Izard's self-described "reasonably authentic" menu features wood fired duck heart dim sum, goat belly lo mein (with house-made noodles), and crispy frog legs. Cap your meal with a savory cocktail, Emperor's Dragonwell tea from Rare Tea Cellars and, of course, fortune cookies.

MONEYGUN

Moneygun

West Loop

New from the team behind Dusek’s, this bar quietly opened earlier this month, and promises a good, old-fashioned bar experience. Sip on classic cocktails like Long Island iced teas, mojitos, and Manhattans, and soak it up with smoked cheddar popovers, a foie gras grand slam with pancakes, candied bacon powder, maple braised apples, and whipped eggs, and braised lamb shoulder.

Nick Murway

The Northman

North Center

Cider geeks, rejoice: Chicago’s first cider-centric pub has finally opened. Northman's 68-seat bar promises 18 ciders on draft, over 80 bottled and canned varieties, and a stacked list of craft beers. Chef Sean Sanders pulled inspiration from cider regions to construct his menu; the wild Burgundy escargot and the melt (a patty melt/burger hybrid) are serious crowd-pleasers.

SPiN Chicago

SPiN Ping-Pong

River North

Part restaurant, part bar, part club, and part ping pong domain, this everything-in-one concept backed by actress Susan Sarandon promises all the key ingredients for a raucous—if a bit competitive—night out. The 16,000sqft venue is an offshoot of the New York original by the same name, and houses 20 STIGA table tennis tables, a couple bars, and a kitchen that slings everything from sliders and empanadas to charcuterie and truffle fries.

Kailley Lindman

Imperial Lamian

River North

Set on a prominent corner in River North, this stunning upscale Chinese resto balances a chic, trendy atmosphere with authentic fare. The space boasts a cozy bar, semi-private and private dining areas, and a sweeping main dining room with an open kitchen focal point, as well as vibrant murals painted by a local artist and eye-catching design details like birdcages suspended above the entry and abacus partitions between booths. The menu is similarly intricate, and spans from hand-pulled lamian, dim sum, and bao packed with duck, crab, and more.

Jeff Marini

il Porcellino

River North

Lettuce Entertain You continues its restaurant opening streak with il Porcellino, a home-y Italian trattoria the occupies the former Paris Club Bistro & Bar space. The rustic menu, a collaborative effort between chef/partner Doug Psaltis and chef de cuisine Aaron Martinez (recent chef-in-residence at the group’s Intro) keeps the emphasis on house-made pastas like rigatoni alla vodka and ricotta tortellini, focaccia pizzas, antipasti like fried Brussels sprouts and endive and parmesan, and bomboloni with whipped mascarpone, while an Italian-driven wine program, “multiple choice” Negroni, and a short-but-sweet craft cocktail selection complete the experience.

Timothy Flores

Oriole

West Loop

Helmed by award-winning chefs Noah Sandoval and Genie Kwon, this intimate fine dining spot is as much about the food as it is the experience. Guests are invited to partake in the extended format tasting menu, which involves some 16 courses packed with unusual ingredients, surprising flavor profile, and even interactive components. Unlike most restaurants, a menu isn’t provided at the beginning of the meal; this makes Oriole a prime destination for adventurous eaters. Sample dishes include rye capellini with yeast butter, black truffle, and tangerine lace and chicory custard with whiskey, cinnamon, and Tahitian vanilla.

Green Street Local/Kailley Lindman

Green Street Local

West Loop

Watching the big game and stuffing your face full of anything-but-average bar fare need not be mutually exclusive. Case in point: this sleek new sports lounge, which comes equipped with a multitude of TV screens (including a massive projection screen for special events), comfortable seats, and mouthwatering eats ranging from pizzas and a veritable brick of baked pasta aptly named "Carbelicious" to calamari fried in a Cap’n Crunch cereal batter and an otherworldly skillet cookie.

Mezcaleria Las Flores

Mezcaleria Las Flores

Logan Square

Located in the former flower shop connected to Johnny’s Grill, this mezcal-focused bar is the first of its kind in Chicago. Jay Schroeder, a Rick Bayless veteran, has concocted a dazzling menu chock full of libations that span from fresh to smoky to adventurous. Explore the wondrous world of agave spirits by way of the "Magnetic Pole Reversal," a Sotol por Siempre-based number with cucumber, coriander, Suze, fresh lime, and basil, "Five Unlucky Days" made with Cimarron tequila reposado, Landy VS cognac, La Gitana manzanilla sherry, CH fernet, and nutmeg oil, and more.

David Turner Photography

Doodle's Doughnuts

Old Town

Thanks to the arrival of Doodle’s, the Old Town area is no suffers a grave donut deficiency. Score a variety of donuts here, including the shop’s namesake, a Bismark filled with your choice of chocolate or vanilla pastry cream, topped with a "canvas" of white icing, and served with a mini piping bag full of colored icing intended for doodling on the donut. In addition, you can also sip local Metropolis Coffee and indulge in three kinds of Slagel Family Farm thick-cut bacon: smoked, candied, and honey Sriracha glazed.

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Kailley Lindman is a contributing writer for Thrillist Chicago, as well as a freelance food photographer, food blogger at KailleysKitchen.com, and recovering vegetarian. Follow her at @KailleysKitchen.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Duck Duck Goat 857 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

As you might guess from the name, this Chinese-inspired restaurant is from the mastermind behind Girl & the Goat, Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard. The 100-seat West Loop space is undeniably cool and stylish with portraits hanging on the walls, lazy Susan tabletops, and a jade-accented cocktail lounge. Izard describes the menu as "reasonably authentic," which means elaborate takes on dim sum, fried rice, and noodles, plus various small and large dishes. The food is meant to be shared, and if you're with a big group, definitely order the Peking duck or goat of the day.

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2. Moneygun 660 W Lake, Chicago, IL (West Loop)

The team behind Longman & Eagle and Dusek’s have long since proven their passion for quality cocktails, and their West Loop bar, Moneygun, is yet another venue of proof. Moneygun is the bartender’s bar in a neighborhood referred to as “restaurant row,” making it a destination for lovers and connoisseurs of the cocktail. Their menu features 20 classic cocktails -- from Cuba Libres and Mojitos to Bee’s Knees and Vieux Carres -- with beer and wine in tow. Moneygun’s primary focus is to be “just a bar,” though a menu of elevated bar snacks, small plates, and sandwiches is available and in line with the fare they serve at their other prevalent establishments.

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3. The Northman 4337 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60618 (North Center)

Cider geeks, rejoice: Chicago’s first cider-centric pub has finally opened. Northman's 68-seat bar promises 18 ciders on draft, over 80 bottled and canned varieties, and a stacked list of craft beers. Chef Sean Sanders pulled inspiration from cider regions to construct his menu; the wild Burgundy escargot and the melt (a patty melt/burger hybrid) are serious crowd-pleasers.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. SPiN Ping Pong 344 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

Part restaurant, part bar, part club, and part ping pong domain, this everything-in-one concept backed by actress Susan Sarandon promises all the key ingredients for a raucous—if a bit competitive—night out. The 16,000-sq. ft. venue is an offshoot of the New York original by the same name, and houses 20 STIGA table tennis tables, a couple bars, and a kitchen that slings everything from sliders and empanadas to charcuterie and truffle fries.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Imperial Lamian 6 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL (River North)

Set on a prominent corner in River North, this stunning upscale Chinese resto balances a chic, trendy atmosphere with authentic fare. The space boasts a cozy bar, semi-private and private dining areas, and a sweeping main dining room with an open kitchen focal point, as well as vibrant murals painted by a local artist and eye-catching design details like birdcages suspended above the entry and abacus partitions between booths. The menu is similarly intricate, and spans from hand-pulled lamian, dim sum, and bao packed with duck, crab, and more.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Il Porcellino 59 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

Lettuce Entertain You continues its restaurant opening streak with il Porcellino, a home-y Italian trattoria that occupies the former Paris Club Bistro & Bar space. The rustic menu, a collaborative effort between chef/partner Doug Psaltis and chef de cuisine Aaron Martinez (recent chef-in-residence at the group’s Intro) keeps the emphasis on house-made pastas like rigatoni alla vodka and ricotta tortellini, focaccia pizzas, antipasti like fried Brussels sprouts and endive and parmesan, and bomboloni with whipped mascarpone, while an Italian-driven wine program, “multiple choice” Negroni, and a short-but-sweet craft cocktail selection complete the experience.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Oriole 661 W. Walnut St., Chicago, IL 60661 (West Loop)

Helmed by award-winning chefs Noah Sandoval and Genie Kwon, this intimate fine dining spot is as much about the food as the experience. Guests are invited to partake in the extended format tasting menu, which involves some 16 courses packed with unusual ingredients, surprising flavor profile, and interactive components. Unlike most restaurants, a menu isn’t provided at the beginning of the meal, making Oriole a prime destination for adventurous eaters (and dare we say, foodies). Sample dishes include rye capellini with yeast butter, black truffle, and tangerine lace, and chicory custard with whiskey, cinnamon, and Tahitian vanilla.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Green Street Local 130 S Green St, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

Watching the big game and stuffing your face full of above-average bar fare need not be mutually exclusive. This sleek sports lounge is equipped with a multitude of TV screens (including a massive projection screen for special events), comfy booth seating, and equally comfy eats ranging from pizzas and a brick of baked pasta aptly named "Carbelicious" to calamari fried in a Captain Crunch cereal batter and an out-of-this-world skillet cookie.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Mezcaleria Las Flores 3149 W Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL (Logan Square)

Connected to Johnny’s Grill, Mezcaleria Las Flores is Logan Square’s departure to Oaxaca via cocktail. Offering over 60 labels of mezcal, Jay Schroeder, a Rick Bayless alum, has created a bar program devoted almost entirely to agave. Besides testing your palate’s smoke tolerance with mezcal, you can enjoy other agave spirits like bacanora and raicilla. The cocktails -- all agave-based and served in ceramic mugs and other drinking vessels imported from Mexico -- range from crisp to smoky to adventurous. It’s a serious cocktail lounge without the pretention, blaring old-school hip hop and serving burgers from the grill next door.

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10. Doodle's Doughnuts 1419 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60610 (Old Town)

Thanks to the arrival of Doodle’s, the Old Town area is no suffers a grave donut deficiency. Score a variety of donuts here, including the shop’s namesake, a Bismark filled with your choice of chocolate or vanilla pastry cream, topped with a "canvas" of white icing, and served with a mini piping bag full of colored icing intended for doodling on the donut. In addition, you can also sip local Metropolis Coffee and indulge in three kinds of Slagel Family Farm thick-cut bacon: smoked, candied, and honey Sriracha glazed.

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