With new restaurants and businesses constantly popping up around Chicago, blink and you could miss one. From a Rick Bayless restaurant at Willis Tower to yet another food hall — this time in the South Loop — to a cool new hotel that doubles as a museum, here are just a few of the hottest new spots to open recently.
609 South Blvd., Evanston
On Feb. 1, this art studio opened to provide art classes and camps for kids and adults to make masterpieces with recycled goods. “Over 75 percent of the materials available to our students will come from contributions of waste and excess from individuals, local businesses, and organizations,” says Co-Founder and Creative Director Valerie Kahan. “We are actively creating partnerships with every business and organization in Evanston and beyond to create a funnel of their usable waste and excess to our repurposing art studio at the Outpost before it makes its way to landfills.”
Food & Drink
Revival Food Hall, 125 S. Clark St., Chicago
With three other locations in Ravenswood, Lakeview, and Wicker Park, CITY PRESS opened in Revival Food Hall in early January. Offering “convenient, nutrient-dense dining options,” Chicagoans will find cold pressed juice, “mylks,” healing elixirs, açaí bowls, morning oats, and more delicious and healthy fare.
1529 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago
This popular Nashville Hot Chicken spot opened its fourth Chicago-area location in late November. At this West Town location, you can order favorites like the Nashville Fried Chicken Sandwich, Spicy Butter Fried Chicken Sandwich, and Chicken & Waffles, in addition to new Mac and Cheese. Additional menu items are planned for the future, as is a full-service bar with local beers.
333 S. Wabash, Chicago
Chicago’s newest food hall opened Feb. 3 in the South Loop. Named after Sophia Hayden, who designed the Woman’s Building at Chicago’s World’s Fair in 1893, the venue is home to restaurants like full-service spots Ada St. and Sophia Wine Bar, as well as casual options like Brown Bag Seafood Co., Julia Coffee & Brioche, and Victory Italian.
1426 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
This Japanese ramen restaurant opened its second Chicago location (and second location in the United States) this past December in Wicker Park. You’ll find five styles of broth — Original, Shoyu, Miso, Spicy Garlic, and Spicy Jalapeño — all of which are made from scratch every day and cooked for at least 20 hours. “The dining scene in this city is unmatched,” says Kinka Family Founder and Chief Executive Officer James Hyunsoo Kim, “and the entire Kinton Ramen team has worked diligently to create a menu and experience for guests that highlights delicious food, energetic and upbeat style with friendly service.”
694 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
This cocktail tavern opened in River West at the end of December, just in time for cozying up with a cocktail, beer, or wine on cold winter nights. The vintage brick building features a fireplace lounge on the first floor and a private party space with full bar on the second floor.
233 S. Wicker Drive, Chicago
Rick Bayless opened his newest restaurant inside Catalog at Willis Tower in January. Using fresh, seasonal ingredients directly from Mexico or local farms, Tortazo’s menu features items like Chicken Chilaquiles, Tortilla Soup, and Taqueria Salad. “Tortazo encompasses the food and culture of Mexico that I have spent over 30 years exploring, creating, and falling in love with,” Bayless says. “We are thrilled to debut our first location in Chicago’s landmark Willis Tower for locals and visitors to enjoy.”
105 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook
You’ll feel good about eating at this restaurant (the second in Chicagoland for Dr. Andrew Weil), which opened in November. The menu changes regularly in order to use in-season ingredients and uses the principles of the anti-inflammatory food pyramid. Options can include the Ancient Grains Bowl, Inside Out Quinoa Burger, Spaghetti Squash Casserole, and Flourless Chocolate Cake. You can also order freshly pressed juices, organic teas, local beer and wine, and more drinks.
55 E. Ontario St., Chicago
Part hotel, part museum, the 21c Museum Hotel opened Feb. 4 with 297 guest rooms, 10,000-square-feet of meeting and event space, and 10,000-square-feet of exhibition space that will house rotating art exhibitions and installations. “We are thrilled to see the doors of this hotel open in such an established arts community as Chicago,” says President & CEO of 21c Museum Hotels Craig Greenberg. “The hotel is ideally located just blocks from renowned arts institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Design Museum of Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, and is anticipated to serve as a connector between locals, visitors and the city’s vibrant art community, while also bringing the 21c experience to new audiences.”
More From Better Chicago:
- 5 Ways to Be a More Responsible Modern Traveler
- 29 of the Best Things to Do in Chicago This February
- 8 of the Best Sushi Restaurants in Chicago — 2020 Edition
Anna Carlson writes the weekly Weekend 101 column and monthly Recommended Events. A graduate of the University of Missouri, her work has been published in Chicago Parent, Inside Columbia Magazine, and Central California Parent Magazine. She is a proud supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.