New in Town: Rooftop Dining at Bar Avec, Pit & Tap Takes Over Nick’s Wilmette Location, and More

Now that Chicago and the North Shore have reopened, what better way to start your summer than to take in all that local businesses have to offer? If you’re just starting to dine out at restaurants again, be sure to add Bar Avec to the top of your list to eat under Chicago’s shimmering city skyline. Planning a fun weekend downtown? Stay at Pendry Chicago for a home base in the heart of the action. And, if you’re interested in adding a few plants to your home, make sure to check out The Sill’s first Chicago location in Lakeview.

Here are nine businesses that have recently opened or are opening soon that you’ll definitely want to check out this summer.


AKTIV Skincare

For almost 15 years, owner and CEO Allison Heinrich has helped empower clients to be comfortable in their own skin—quite literally. She and her team have developed a line of safe and tested skincare products that are “botanically based yet results driven with highly active ingredients.” AKTIV takes pride in their treatment system, where specialists really get to know patients to create a comprehensive treatment plan addressing each of the patient’s concerns. Now that AKTIV has opened a location in the North Shore, be sure to check it out to spice up your skincare routine.

404 Green Bay Road, Kenilworth, IL


Pit & Tap

In late 2020, the families behind Nick’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill completed the sale of their space to Wilmette resident and experienced restaurant consultant Michael Clarke. Clarke spent months looking for the perfect place to launch his own restaurant idea, and found great potential doing so right in Wilmette. Pit & Tap is set to open soon as a delicious Texas-style barbecue spot, and will be a great place to to “sit, eat some ribs and drink a beer” all summer long. 

1168 Wilmette Ave, Wilmette

Central Station Coffee & Tea

Katie Degen was a woman with a vision: ever since the Rock House coffee shop closed, Degen realized she and the rest of Wilmette had to drive to neighboring towns just to meet somewhere for a cup of coffee. So, she took it upon herself to open up a local coffee shop. Central Station Coffee & Tea is a new, trendy coffee spot with a “a European cafe meets modern New York City bistro” aesthetic. It serves traditional coffee, tea, pastries, and more. It’ll certainly be a popular hangout this summer. 

1150 Central Ave, Wilmette

Bar Avec

Bar Avec’s patio. Photo courtesy of Katie Yancu.

With its open-air rooftop seating, Bar Avec is a can’t-miss for Summer 2021. This restaurant takes inspiration from Spanish seaside diners, and includes menu items such as wild halibut la plancha, tuna crudo with fermented chili, and fried mushrooms. Not to mention, you get to enjoy these gourmet dishes with perfect views of the magnificent Chicago skyline. A night at Bar Avec is sure to be a tasteful, exquisite experience.

640 N Lasalle Drive 8th Floor, Chicago


The Neighborhood Hotel Lincoln Park

Master Bedroom at The Neighborhood Hotel Lincoln Park includes soft seating and a large dresser. 

While staying at The Neighborhood Hotel Lincoln Park, travelers will have Chicago’s highlights right at their fingertips. This apartment-style hotel houses fourteen large suites, each with amenities including stocked kitchens and washers and dryers. The building is located close in proximity to appealing Chicago attractions, including the Saturday Farmer’s Market and Chicago’s famous hot dog joint The Wiener’s Circle.

Planning a visit to Michigan soon? The Neighborhood Grand Beach is opening soon.

2616 N Clark St, Chicago

Pendry Chicago

The Pendry’s reception.

Located between the Riverwalk and Millennium Park, the Pendry Chicago is truly at the center of it all. This hotel is in the historical 1929 Art Deco Carbide & Carbon Building in Chicago’s Loop neighborhood, yet combines this history with a modern-day, contemporary design. Just steps away from some of the city’s best shopping, dining, and cultural attractions, travelers will experience nothing less than a stellar experience at Pendry Chicago. 

230 Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL


The Dog Stop

If you’re in search of someone to look after the new puppy you got during quarantine, look no further! Opening on June 26 in Deerfield, The Dog Stop will be the perfect place to drop off your pup if you need to leave home for errands, work, or just want to treat your dog to a fun day with other furry friends! This Deerfield location will feature “luxury boarding accommodations, an interactive and social daycare experience, a spa-like grooming retreat, retail store” and more. With separate and secure play areas for dogs of all ages, sizes and energy levels in The Dog Stop’s 24,000+ square foot facility, your dog is bound to have nothing short of the best day ever.

495 Lake Cook Rd, Deerfield


The Sill

Inside The Sill’s first Chicago store on Southport & Roscoe. Photo by Matt Allen.

The popular online houseplant store, The Sill, has opened its first Chicago storefront in the Southport Corridor. Helping demystify plant care, The Sill was founded by Eliza Blank in 2012 on the premise that plants make people happy. From low light to high maintenance plants, The Sill carries a wide range of houseplants that are perfect for city or suburb dwellers alike. Their knowledgable staff is there to help you find that perfect plant to care for, and troubleshoot any issues along the way. They also carry a range of plant accessories, including their aestically pleasing pots, potting mixes, fertilizers, and more.

1351 W. Roscoe Street, Chicago

Heroines & Heroes

Heroines & Heroes is a new hobby shop in Wilmette, and the story behind its name is perhaps as wonderful as the store itself. Owner Andrew Beckmann and his team were brainstorming names, when Beckmann’s daughter questioned, “‘Why don’t you put the girls first?’” That single statement stuck with him, and eventually guided their mission of the entire store. While the store certainly caters towards the “traditional comic book crowd,” it takes a more inclusive approach and also includes board games, books, and even artwork from local artists. There’s something for everyone, so be sure to check it out this summer!

1129 Central Avenue, Wilmette

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Alexa Weinberg is a summer intern for the editorial staff at Better. She is currently working toward a Cognitive Science and Psychology degree at the University of Michigan with a minor in Writing. At school, she works to promote her love of writing through various organizations, including Project WriteOn and WOLV-TV. In her free time she enjoys running, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

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