As Omar Little once said, "I got the shotgun. You got the briefcase. And Chicago's got seven epic new openings from April that include everything from a poutinerie to a dim sum parlor. It's all in the game though, right?" Right. Speaking of which, here's a look at those seven epic new openers. Oh, indeed.
Harding Tavern (click here for address and info)
This vintage theater-turned-modern pub is home to drool-on-everything grub like wasabi wings, chicken pitas drizzled in Moroccan aioli, and burgers with patties flavored with whole cloves of roasted garlic. Match your meal with The Final Chapter, which's both what you never read in high school (CliffNotes FTW!) and also a house cocktail made with bourbon, Luxardo, lemon juice, and Chartreuse.
The Roost (click here for address and info)
This mobile fried chicken unit finally found a cozy little brick-and-mortar place on Irving Park Rd to lay its deliciously batter-fried head. The same chicken and buttery biscuits you know and love are now available at the 30-seat, BYOB storefront during lunch and dinner hours, as well as a small selection of sides and sweet peach cobbler.
Leadbelly (click here for address and info)
The folks that brought you last month’s majestic deep dish pizza-stuffed double-decker burger have seen so much success in the past year, that they decided to open a second location. Expect the same great burgers, friendly service, and ridiculously binge-worthy pork belly fried with crispy onions and Carolina mustard sauce.
Porkchop (click here for address and info)
Restaurant row’s stop for 150+ varieties of whiskey and Southern food has staked its claim on Southern(ish) Chicago territory. The second location brandishes the same wallpaper, cartoon pig paintings (phew), rustic wood tables, and menu as its Randolph St counterpart, but in Hyde Park, it’s open from 7am to midnight (or later), and comes equipped with a stage for live musical acts.
Yum Cha Dim Sum Parlor (click here for address and info)
Great dim sum restaurants seem to be few and far between in the Loop, but Yum Cha has arrived to remedy the situation. Choose from more than 40 traditional and reimagined dumplings, small plates, rice dishes, noodles, and perhaps best of all (wait, no, most definitely best of all), boozy tea cocktails.
The Big Cheese Poutinerie (click here for address and info)
This diet-unfriendly chain’s mission is “to bring poutine to the masses using the freshest ingredients”, and at its new Lakeview location, it succeeds in doing just that. Gorge yourself with a dozen-ish different poutine renditions, like the Bombay Bomber with buttered chicken, caramelized onions, green peas, and fresh parsley, or the American-to-its-core Hamburger Poutine with ground beef, cheddar, tomatoes, and special sauce -- just not all at the same time; the rest of the masses need their fill, too.
Packing House (click here for address and info)
The former Market space has been re-concepted into a lively, three-story restaurant showcasing Chef Amanda Barnes’ Mediterranean-inspired cuisine (think: escolar crudo with chilis, coriander, olive oil, lemon, and thyme). Those who prefer to dine al fresco (so: everyone) can enjoy the spacious, covered rooftop porch, and those who prefer their meal with a boozy accompaniment (again: everyone) can select from Packing House’s lengthy list of alcoholic refreshments, including the Modern Gentleman with Gentleman Jack, Chambord, lemon and orange juices, simple syrup, and egg white.
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. The Harding Tavern2732 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
2. The Roost Carolina Kitchen1467 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago
3. Yum Cha Dim Sum Parlor333 E Randolph St, Chicago
4. The Big Cheese Poutinerie3401 N Clark St, Chicago
5. Porkchop1516 E Harper Ct, Chicago
6. Packing House1113 W Randolph St, Chicago
Amidst the Logan Square boom and located in the old Harding Theater, this American pub fare joint is serving up seriously unique 'tails and scorching, juicy burgs.
If you're craving crispy fried chicken and mouth-watering chicken sammies, head to Lakeview. Head to The Roost, a food truck with a permanent BYOB storefront on Irving Park Road, for Carolina-style recipes like crispy, spicy fried chicken on a flaky buttermilk biscuit topped with dill pickles, coleslaw, chipotle buttermilk ranch, and cheddar or blue cheese. Heat things up even more by ordering the Nashville Hot, Habanero BBQ, or Buffalo variations. Creamy mac and cheese and sweet peach cobbler round out the feast.
Only sometimes offering cart service, but always offering delicious treats, Yum Cha's dim sum includes tons of varieties of dumplings, tasty small plates, and unique, boozy tea cocktails.
This is the first American location of this popular Canadian chain, and it brings all the cheesy poutine goodness of the Northern locations, featuring more than a dozen different varieties on the menu.
This Hyde Park BBQ spot is doling out a superior craft suds menu as well as succulent ribs, and juicy chicken and waffles.
Chef Amanda Barnes is bringing down the house with top-notch cuisine in this W Randolph eatery. The concept is high end, and focuses predominately on American food with a "Mediterranean influence", with the limelight shining on its charcuterie and cheese plates, crudo, and pizza.