You know it was a good month when the Totally Badass New Restaurant and Bars That Opened in Chicago This Month Report (working title) sports the following most commonly used words: ramen (7), beer (5), and bacon (4). You know it's an even better month when two of those three are used in the same sentence at least once, as they are in this May edition of the TBNR&BTOICTMR.
Chicago's 9 best restaurant and bar openings this May
Kaiser Tiger (click here for address and info)
The Good News: The visionaries behind Paddy Long’s recently set up shop in the old Tasting Room space, and've begun slinging copious amounts of beer and meaty monstrosities to the thirsty carnivores of Chicago. The Better News: We can give you a virtual tour of West Loop's latest.
Elle on the River (click here for address and info)
Elle -- Travelle’s equally elegant outdoor sister -- opened on the waterfront earlier this month, and with her, breathtaking views and breathtaking specialty tacos. Also not to be missed: her house-made sodas, self-serve spiked punches, and cake-meets-mousse-meets-custard “Ellies” that come in German Chocolate Cake, Orange Creamsicle, and Strawberry Shortcake flavors.
High Five Ramen (click here for address and info)
Ramen is in, as evidenced by Brendan Sodikoff’s newly unveiled subterranean ramen shop beneath Green Street Smoked Meats. The cozy, dimly-lit space is the latest in the restaurant mega-mogul’s slew of culinary projects around the city, and promises a concise menu featuring both traditional and modern ramen offerings, eye-popping “canzillas” of Asahi beer, and boozy slushies to temper the heat of the noodles.
Slippery Slope (click here for address and info)
A cavernous watering hole that’s bathed in a crimson glow, Slippery Slope is stocked with two skee-ball machines, and pulsing with danceable beats. The same guys who brought us Scofflaw are bringing this dance hall to life, and their influence is evident in the ingenious bottled cocktail offerings and chili and onion-smothered tamales.
Moxee American Kitchen & Mad Mouse Brewery (click here for address and info)
For all things Southern and sudsy, head to this new nanobrewery on Maxwell St. The space is large enough to comfortably seat 120 hungry folks, and currently offers two in-house beer collaborations with Saugatuck Brewing (a pale ale and a Kolsch), along with hearty fare like shrimp and grits, crawfish étouffée, three kinds of po’ boy sammies, and “filthy rich and dense” Texas sheet cake.
Osteria Langhe (click here for address and info)
We’re still a little bummed about Brand BBQ’s unexpected closing (twice), but the fact that Osteria Langhe -- a new concept focused solely around the Piemonte region of Italy -- moved in is more than consolation. It seamlessly blends slow food (literally, there's a snail confit) with fine wines, and manages to transport you to the Northern Italian countryside with its authentic flavors and a captivating panoramic photo, which serves as the restaurant’s visual focal point.
Parachute (click here for address and info)
Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark (formerly of Bonsoirée) reclaim their place in Chicago’s restaurant scene with Parachute, a 40-seat Korean-American resto with eclectic furnishings and rustic menu offerings. Start with the baked potato bing bread with bacon, scallion, and sour cream butter, and don’t miss the raw Hawaiian kanpachi, dolsot bibimbap, or the turmeric chicken with taro root, coffee butter, white asparagus, and Chinese celery.
Ramen-San (click here for address and info)
The former Paris Club lounge has transformed into the LEYE’s minimalist new full-service ramen concept, which is open daily until 1am (2am on Saturdays) and prime for late-night slurping. The menu showcases seven styles of ramen (with a selection of broths, seasonings, noodles, and other add-ins), six appetizers, and assorted buns, son, and chicken wings. Plus: Singapore Slings and Japanese beer!
Randolph Tavern (click here for address and info)
Pub-esque digs with vintage signs and wood accents? Check. Pulled pork, scrimshaw mussels, and bacon popcorn? Check times three. After months of mystery leading up to its opening, this massive tavern delivers on all the goods. Go for comfort food and good times, and thanks to an airy spaced-out floor plan, you don’t have to worry about bumping elbows with anyone/sharing your bacon popcorn.
Kailley Lindman is a contributing writer for Thrillist Chicago, as well as a food blogger, bacon enthusiast, and devout user of the Oxford comma. Follow her at @KailleysKitchen.
1. Kaiser Tiger1415 W Randolph St, Chicago
2. Elle on the River330 N Wabash Ave, Chicago
3. High Five Ramen112 N Green St, Chicago
4. Slippery Slope2357 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
5. Moxee American Kitchen & Mad Mouse Brewery724 W Maxwell St, Chicago
6. Osteria Langhe2824 W Armitage Ave, Chicago
7. Parachute3500 N Elston Ave, Chicago
8. Ramen-San59 W Hubbard St, Chicago
9. Randolph Tavern188 W Randolph St, Chicago
This absolutely insane temple of beer is adorned with a 200-seat beer garden, killer skyline views, 24 primo drafts, flights of sausage, and the heart-stopping brown sugar-rubbed bacon bomb.
This first-come, first-served seasonal pop-up on the river features fruity punch bowls (the Elle a Noir features Grey Goose, cherry noir, strawberry, basil and peach), and will pose as your Summer taco shack. Order three, six, or a dozen Calabrian mahi mahi tacos stuffed with lemon, quinoa, and slaw wrapped in housemade chickpea flatbreads while listening to a soundtrack you've selected out on this al fresco patio.
Brought to you by Brendan Sodikoff, this West Loop resto is a cozy, dimly-lit space offering a concise menu featuring both traditional and modern ramen offerings, eye-popping “canzillas” of Asahi beer, and boozy slushies to temper the heat of the noodles.
Skee-ball, tamales, and and an expansive, crimson-lit dance floor await at this two-story club made to replace what Bonny's once was. The beer is cheap, the wine is boxed, and we promise this will probably be one of the only times you'll hear "Mother-In-Law" (a tamale-chili combo) and not be filled with dread.
Microbrewery. Oyster bar. On-site barbecue. What doesn't this wood paneled restaurant have? The menu has a Southern slant, meaning barbecue, gumbo, crab cakes, and po' boys.
This Logan Square spot seamlessly blends slow food (literally, there's snail confit) with fine wines, all while transporting you to the Northern Italian countryside. Expect rich and hearty dishes like prosciutto-wrapped rabbit loin and hand-pinched ravioli tossed with Parmesan, thyme, and butter (the house speciality). You'll want to grab a table in the Giardino Segreto ("secret garden" in Italian), but heads up: you'll need a reservation to dine on this lovely patio, so be sure to plan ahead.
This 40-seater in Avondale scored a Bib Gourmand Michelin rating with its Korean-American fare and cocktails. The minimal seating creates a long list of reservation hopefuls and, more importantly, an unbeatable intimate ambiance. You can order dishes like baked potato bing bread with bacon, Hawaiian kanpachi, and dolsot bibimbap on their own, or you can opt for an adventure with the 4-course tasting menu.
This River North minimalist full-service ramen concept showcases seven styles of ramen (with a selection of broths, seasonings, noodles, and other add-ins), six appetizers, and assorted buns, and chicken wings. Plus: Singapore Slings and Japanese beer!
This pub and grill in the Randolph Tower -- yes, the same one that was in Public Enemy -- is where you need to come to get your bacon fix; bacon-fat popcorn when you have the munchies, bacon-infused rye cocktails for when your mouth is dry, or a bacon and fried-oyster sandwich when you're seriously hungry. Head to the bar to throw back a Loop Manhattan, with rye, sweet vermouth, and chocolate bitters, or head to the dining room, and eat up some taco plates like the smoked pork and slaw.