New in Town: Sicilian-Style Pizza in a Back-Alley Hangout, Plus Mushroom-Infused CBD from a Northfield Native

Fall in Chicago is the time to soak up the last remaining days of warm sunshine and steel yourself for the cold months ahead. Now’s your chance to enjoy outdoor seating at one of Chicago’s newest restaurants or to start boosting your immunity at one of several new local wellness spots. From women and minority-owned food vendors, to CBD elixirs, here are some of Chicagoland’s newest businesses. 


Pizza Friendly Pizza


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This new pizza hangout in the Ukrainian Village opens to a Chicago dining scene that has been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic. A convenient walk-up window and hidden back-alley patio space allow patrons to easily carry out or sit-down for a slice of the rectangular, Sicilian-style pizza with focaccia-like crust. The restaurant also offers sandwiches, salads and crispy fries with spicy ketchup — and even vegan options.

1039 N Western Ave., Chicago, IL.
(773) 395-2483

Azul Mariscos


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Chicago’s Goose Island neighborhood has a flavorful new addition to their restaurant scene. Located right on the water, Azul Mariscos presents fresh takes on classic mariscos (seafood). World-renowned Mexican artist, Senoke, was commissioned to create a mural in the restaurant’s main lounge for a visually stunning dining experience. Executive chef Michael Hernandez, a native of Chicago’s South Side, has thoughtfully crafted the menu with highlights like Grilled Tequila Lime Glazed Salmon with housemade Fire Roasted Salsa and Fresh Avocado and a variety of ceviches. An innovative drink menu features creations like the Cantarito, a citrusy tequila-based drink served in jarritos (clay pots). The cocktail was created in tandem with Project FIRE, a trauma-recovery program for youth injured by gun violence in Chicago. As part of the Firebird Arts Community, Project FIRE participants will make the jarritos and cazuelas (large clay pots) for this signature cocktail, with proceeds directly benefiting the organization.  

1177 N Elston Ave., Chicago, IL
(773) 770-3766

Dr. Murphy’s Food Hall 


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Chicagoans love their food halls, which often bring the best of Chicago’s dining scene together in one place. Women and minority-owned businesses make up a majority of the impressive vendor list at Dr. Murphy’s. The 10,000 square foot space features a large outdoor patio, ideal for dining safely during the pandemic. Inaugural vendors include Brekkie & Bake Shop, Crockett Cookies, Classic Cobbler, Doc’s Bar, Jarabe, Kathmandu Momo Station, Lexington Betty, Lil’ Delta, Maharani Indian Cuisine, Ottobagatto, Passion House Coffee and Viet Nom Nom. 

1811 W Harrison St., Chicago, IL (Located within the Old Cook County Hospital Building)

For Your Health

Blended Health and Smoothie Bar 


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New to Glenview, Blended serves smoothies and açai bowls to meet every dietary restriction and healthy craving. The menu features keto-friendly, gluten-free and dairy-free smoothies as well as a coffee-infused creations for that morning pick-me-up. Just in time for fall, try the Apple Pie Oat Boat Smoothie, made with apples, apple spread, cinnamon, collagen, oats, apple juice and almond milk. Owned and operated by Glenview native April (Williamson) Doremus and general manager Sam Dexter, a personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist, Blended is a healthy community hangout for everyone. 

950 Harlem Ave., Glenview, IL
(847) 834-0266

Bright Bowls


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Another bright new smoothie addition to Chicago’s North Shore, Bright Bowls açai creations take edible art to a whole new level. All of their bowls are gluten and dairy-free, with the option to add adaptogens like ashwagandha for an added healthy boost. Their creations range from the classic açai and pitaya bowls to creative bowls like the “Legally Bronze,” which has everything from bee pollen to banana jam-packed in its superfood mix. Lindsay Meltzer, who grew up in Highland Park, fell in love with the simplicity of healthy eating when she was living in California. When she moved back to Highland Park, she brought a little bit of Cali back with her and is now serving that sunshine to her happy customers at Bright Bowls.  

777 Central Ave., Highland Park, IL
(847) 504-9019



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Started by Northfield native Billy Grady, Blossom is a functional wellness company with a mission to help you live your best life. They create organic CBD elixirs to optimize daily functions to support sleep, reduce stress and increase energy. Blossom’s signature elixir, Bliss Blend, is a mix of full-spectrum hemp oil and functional mushrooms. It’s meant to help boost immunity, mood and brain health. 

Online only. Orders can be placed at

WHAT’S NEW IN YOUR TOWN? Are you or someone you know opening a new business? We want to hear about it! Send us an email at

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Madison Muller is the Assistant Digital Editor at Better. A recent graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, she approaches our contemporary media environment with compassion and candor. She is interested in writing about the intersectionality of social justice issues in marginalized communities and environmentalism. Madison proudly supports Action Now, a community organization that empowers and uplifts residents on Chicago’s West Side.

She also encourages reading and supporting The Marshall Project, a non-profit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system. 

You can keep up with her reporting on Twitter and Instagram



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