How to Have a Romantic Date at a Fast-Food Joint
Boka Restaurant Group stalwarts chef Lee Wolen and pastry chef Meg Galus further solidify their culinary dream-team status (the two also work together at Michelin-starred Boka) at the hospitality group's latest endeavor, a seasonally driven American restaurant adjacent to the newly minted Viceroy Hotel. Wolen's menu focuses on cheffy takes on approachable, familiar favorites, like squid ink alla chitarra with calamari, prawns, and tomato; smoked beet tartare with cumin yogurt, goat gouda, sunflower, and homemade flatbread; and roasted chicken and sausage with charred onions and baby gem lettuce. Galus' desserts include a playful chocolate bar dessert with nutty caramel, brownie, and milk chocolate chai ice cream, to butterscotch pudding with coffee Kahlua ice cream, pecan praline, and caramelized grains.
The year-round rooftop counterpart to Boka Restaurant Group's Somerset, this retro-chic stunner on the 18th floor of the Viceroy promises a cocktail lineup and bar bites every bit as impressive as its cityscape views. Somerset beverage director Lee Zaremba has crafted drinks like the Devereaux daiquiri (Flor de Caña rum, aguardiente, kiwi, and black lime over crushed ice) and the Not Your Mom's negroni (Creyente mezcal, Carpano Antica, Luxardo bitters, tobacco bitters, and flamed citrus), which are designed to pair well with Wolen's marinated striped jack crudo, tempura buffalo cauliflower, and Somerset cheeseburger, which is stacked with red onion marmalade, pickles, cheddar, and dijonnaise.
Equipped with an inviting jewel tones motif, a separate cellar-like tasting room, and a globally inspired menu, this cozy, 70-seat wine bar offers more than a few excuses for stopping by to linger a while. The wine list highlights vineyards all across Europe, and even delves into a selection of lesser known Australian blends. Eats range from Oysters Kilpatrick crowned with bacon, Worcestershire, and lemon to cheese and charcuterie boards and fresh burrata with sun-dried tomato pesto.
Inspired by 1950s American and European glamour, this globetrotting cocktail bar and resto from the Bonhomme Hospitality Group (Fulton Market Kitchen, Black Bull) is the stuff that design enthusiasts' dreams are made of -- and it's highly Instagrammable, to boot. The space is split into three sections: a lush and airy all-seasons patio, a demure dining space adorned with sparkling chandeliers and luxurious rugs, and a rustic-yet-refined bar area. Settle in with drinks like the Melange of Modern Culture (green chile vodka, mezcal, celery, lime, and walnut), and soak it up with fried quail, roasted Lebanese-style lamb, and charred broccolini with nuoc cham, sunflower hummus, pomegranate seeds, and puffed rice.
Just when you were getting tired of the same old post-work dining and drinking options in the Loop, this massive riverside concept from the ever-expanding Four Corners Tavern Group swoops in to save the day (and happy hour). The space boasts a patio large enough to accommodate 75 seated guests, and a straightforward menu with something for everyone (think: classic chicken noodle soup, kale salad, fennel-crusted short rib with house-cut pappardelle and pork ragout, and an angus beef burger).
While the MCA's wildly popular Takashi Murakami exhibit comes to a close, its vibrant new restaurant, which is helmed by lauded Lula Cafe chef Jason Hammel, heats up. The concept is named after lauded sculptor Marisol Escobar, who gave the museum its first piece of art in the late '60s, and features original art by painter Chris Ofili. Artfully plated chilled octopus with saffron chips, fried quail with cashew butter and smoked date honey, and steamed swordfish with cauliflower, cherry tomato, and uni hollandaise shine among the dinner offerings. The space will soon begin serving brunch and lunch as well.
Chicago's collective love affair with unique taco joints knows no bounds, and this chef-driven South Loop spot is no exception, but it has a whole lot more to offer than just tacos. Helmed by chef Daniel Espinoza, the concept features flattop table grills prime for tamales, fajitas, and pig trotter tostadas. Given its proximity to Soldier Field, the restaurant also plans to serve tacos to-go during Bears game days.
New from Heisler Hospitality (Bad Hunter, Pub Royale) and James Beard Award-winning bartender Jim Meehan of New York's PDT, this cocktail bar offers a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired aesthetic -- complete with a 28-foot, live edge bar counter -- and equally minimalist yet meticulously crafted cocktails. Twelve cocktails comprise the opening lineup, and they spotlight Midwestern spirits and wines alongside simple ingredients.
This popular fast-casual seafood concept has expanded to the Merchandise Mart with its second Chicago outpost (the city's first location resides in the Loop). Expect the same lauded lobster rolls you know and love, as well as other standouts like a quarter-pound wild caught Jonah crab roll, lobster and corn chowder, and more.