New In Town: Wagyu House Chicago by the X Pot, All-Day Brunch from Evette’s, Mexican in Soho House, and Artisan Gelato With a Circus Sideshow

Chicago’s summer restaurant scene is sizzling with the launch of innovative new dining experiences and new locations from tried-and-true favorites. From a new X Pot experience to gelato with a side of circus, to a permanent Mexican spot at Soho House and all-day brunch from the Evette’s team, there’s a lot to nosh on. Here’s what’s new in town around Chicago and the suburbs this month.

Restaurants & Bars



sifr in River North is described as a “new modern Middle Eastern Concept,” and it’s the latest from Chef Sujan Sarkar (Indienne, Rooh) and Chef Sahil Sethi, who told us, “My personal goal at sifr is to provide guests an amazing Middle Eastern dining experience with a modern twist. I have spent several years working in Abu Dhabi learning from talented chefs who specialize in Moroccan, Syrian and Jordanian cuisine. Traveling throughout the Middle East inspired me to bring this experience to sifr’s menu.”

On the menu are several items cooked over charcoal and wood fire, including amber-grilled melon tzatziki, tuna kibbeh nayeh, hummus with Syrian seven spice chicken, and some big proteins like WestHolme rib eye steak and a slow roasted lamb shank. The main dining area at sifr is light and bright, with soft pastels and murals by Yomar Augusto, whose work is inspired by the zero — or “sifr” in Arabic — symbolic of the power of the circle. The cocktails, on the other hand, are inspired by the numbers 1 through 9.

660 N. Orleans, Chicago

Evette’s All Day


Evette’s All Day in Lakeview joins other Evette’s restaurants in Lincoln Park and Fulton Market, and this new location ups the game with an all-day brunch menu, because who said brunch is just for Saturday and Sunday? Chef Mitchel Jamra told Block Club Chicago that, “I got a lot of authentic Mexican food in Arizona, where my dad lived; authentic Lebanese food in Flint, Michigan, with my grandparents; and Midwestern-style food and culture in Grand Rapids with my mom. It’s a real honor to bring those three worlds together. I want to dive deeper into mixing those flavors and preparations with Lebanese and Midwestern food cultures.”

Well, all that certainly sounds more interesting than scrambled eggs. On Evette’s All Day menu, you’ll find tacos of halloumi — a sheep’s and goat’s milk cheese from Cyprus — and Fry Bread Pita, based on the native American favorite from Arizona, with harissa feta, onion, avocado, smoky house mayo and date chimichurri. Evette’s All Day is a good place to wake up your palate, anytime of day.

2807 N. Sheffield, Chicago

Buffalo Wild Wings GO


Buffalo Wild Wings GO adds its 10th Chicagoland location and its first in Evanston. The “GO” in the name represents a new takeout- and delivery-focused model for Buffalo Wild Wings featuring a walk-up counter, digital menu boards, and limited seating. In line with the trend toward contactless service, Buffalo Wild Wings GO in Evanston enables guests to order ahead and then pick up their meals from individual takeout lockers.

The chicken wings dressed in Buffalo sauce as well as 25 other sauces are likely the main attraction, but there are a lot more than just wings on the menu. For those avoiding meat altogether, there are cauliflower variations, like the Asian Zing Cauliflower Wings. You can also satisfy your inner yearning for beef — don’t pretend you’re immune to such — with creations like the Bacon Smashed Hatch Chili Burger and the Southwestern Bean Burger. It’s a good sign of the times that even places known for their poultry-centric offerings are trying to expand their menus to appeal to many tastes: it’s just good business.

1160 Dodge Avenue, Evanston

Clumsy Cow BBQ


Clumsy Cow BBQ recognizes the largely mythical bovine, owned by a certain Mrs. O’Leary, who supposedly kicked over a lantern and set a large part of Chicago on fire. Picking up on both the cow and the fire themes, Clumsy Cow BBQ is turning out some fine barbecued beef, as well as chicken and pork.

New from the owners of Industry Ales, Clumsy Cow BBQ, Eater Chicago tells us, “takes barbecue stylings from different regions of the country, including Chicago, the land of sweet sauces and aquarium smokers, and blends them to create something new. Chef Alexander Willis has a menu of ribs, brisket, and a smoked mortadella sandwich served on a torpedo roll and drizzled with a smoked pistachio barbecue sauce made with jalapeños.” But it’s not all about meat. Recognizing the rising tide of vegans and vegetarians, Clumsy Cow BBQ offers a Southern Fried Lion’s Mane Mushroom sandwich and some sides that would traditionally have contained some pork — like BBQ Baked Beans — proudly marked with a V.

234 S. Wabash, Chicago

Wagyu House Chicago by the X Pot


Wagyu House Chicago by the X Pot is a new and “elevated immersive dining experience” within The X Pot, a restaurant that has made a name for itself as the place in the South Loop for DIY cooking in table-mounted hot pots. Now, those hot pots are joined on the table by gas-fired barbecue pits that enable diners to cook their dinners. Or, if they don’t trust their own grilling skills, they can ask one of the servers to do the cooking for them.

With the opening of Wagyu House Chicago, The X Pot is now offering one of the most tremendous high-value dining experiences we’ve seen in Chicago. For $108 — or $88 if you’re a member — you will be served an unlimited selection of Wagyu beef cuts, including skirt, blade, and brisket, all set on the table sliced and ready to go over the fire. If you have fish and seafood on your mind, there’s a menu of lobster, shrimp, nigiri, handrolls and choice sushi items, also in an all-you-can-eat format. For larger groups, you can rent a room that keeps diners entertained with 360-degree animated imagery of, for instance, life under the sea. It’s a trip, and a huge value!

1147 S. Delano Court East, Chicago

Birrieria Zaragoza


Since 2007, Birrieria Zaragoza has operated on south Pulaski in the Archer Heights neighborhood. This homey, and frequently quite crowded, family restaurant makes one thing: slow-cooked and beautifully spiced goat meat, which you can have in a taco or on a plate. Steve Dolinsky, Andrew Zimmern, and other culinary luminaries have praised this place, which more than any other restaurant we know of has demonstrated to all of us just how delectable goat meat can be.

Years ago, family patriarch John Juan Zaragoza told us that at first, he was “giving away goat to friends, to test it. Others started hearing about it. After a while, we had a basement full of people, waiting for birria. One day, the police come into the house. They thought I was dealing drugs. I said, ‘Come on in guys. I’ll show you what I sell.’ I gave them two birria tacos each. ‘This is really good stuff,’ they said between bites. ‘You should open your own place.’” So, the Zaragozas did just that, and now they’ve opened a second location in Uptown.

4800 N. Broadway, Chicago

Tuk Tuk Thai Isan Street Food


Tuk Tuk Thai Isan Street Food opened in June to offer Chicagoans a taste of the kind of street treats you might encounter in Bangkok and northeastern Thailand. A Tuk Tuk is a small, motorized three-wheeled vehicle, a kind of “auto rickshaw” that carries locals and tourists through Thai and other Southeast Asian cities — and they make a noise that sounds a little like “tuk tuk.”

Summer seems like the right time of year for the foods of perennially warm countries, and Tuk Tuk Thai Isan Street Food serves up many of the favorites. There are charcoal grilled marinated chicken wings (kai yang), green papaya salad (tum Thai) and stir-fried crisp pork belly with basil (ka prow moo krob). There’s also a good selection of curries and soups. Though there is no bar, Tuk Tuk Thai Isan Street Food offers some traditional Thai beverages, including Butterfly Tea Lime Juice, fresh coconut water and, of course, Thai iced coffee. This is a promising new place: all twenty of the reviews on Roadtrippers give it five stars.

2852 N. Clark Street, Chicago



Čálli in Soho House is in the space that formerly has featured pop-ups but is now the permanent location for a new restaurant from Jonathan Zaragoza. Though he started cooking at his family’s restaurant, Birrieria Zaragoza (see above), Jonathan has worked locally and internationally at several other restaurants before settling into this new location.

The menu at Čálli pulls inspiration from all over Mexico: garnachas, small fried tortillas are topped with carnitas and fermented tomatillo; tostadas raspadas are tortillas cooked only partially, and then the uncooked portion is scraped off and fried; and for Sunday brunch, he’ll be making his family’s famous birria. As Zaragoza told Nick Kindelsperger of the Chicago Tribune, the menu at his Čálli is “based on things that I like to eat when I’m traveling around Mexico. So, it’ll feature some raw seafood preparations, inspired by the country’s thousands of miles of coastline. But there will also be a mole presence, from places like Oaxaca and Puebla.”

113-125 Green Street, Chicago


Sideshow Gelato


Sideshow Gelato is an eccentric storefront concept that delivers a one-two punch of entertainment and eating in a big top atmosphere. The entertainment side of the equation seems to be the one getting the most attention: contortionists, magicians, jugglers, and other circus-style performers entertain the guests. Also onsite is a free museum of oddities — hey look, it’s the Fiji Mermaid — and a film series that features the Marx Brothers and other similar cinematic zanies.

The eating part of the Sideshow Gelato experience is not to be underestimated. There’s a broad range of artisanal Italian-style confections, prepared by owner Mr. J., who trained under an Italian gelato master. Mr. J. whips up a range of artisanal gelati, and he never uses mixes or powdered bases but rather locally sourced and, whenever possible, seasonal ingredients. There are over half-a-dozen vegan flavors of gelato that are 100% plant based; these vegan versions use an oat milk gelato base, and even the sugar is processed without using animal products.

4819 N. Western, Chicago


Maison du Prince


Maison du Prince opened in the late spring to present a fresh take on home décor, floral arrangements, and objets d’art to downtown Evanston. According to the Evanston RoundTable, “A self-proclaimed maximalist, floral and event designer Ramsey Prince” opened Maison du Prince to offer “elevated home accessories, high-impact artwork, statement jewelry and fanciful botanical arrangements.”

Maison du Prince is a wild place with a dramatic vibe: matte black walls show to advantage many spectacular and stylish artifacts, like a sparkly golden light fixture made by Prince himself from manzanita branches; a rustic box bursting with exotic cacti; shelves of cocktail shakers and related accoutrements; and jewelry, lots of sparkly jewelry. Prince sources and curates the high-personality merchandise in his stores while also managing an event planning and floral business, creating distinctive looks for private parties, weddings, and corporate events. Maison du Prince seems like a good place to shop for home furnishings, personal wear, and one-of-a-kind gifts you won’t find anywhere else.

1239 Chicago Avenue, Evanston

Lana Jewelry


Lana Jewelry, a powerful online shopping presence, has opened its first brick-and-mortar location in Winnetka’s Hubbard Woods neighborhood. North Shore native Lana Bramlette explained to Patch how it all began: “I couldn’t find the perfect gold hoop earring, and I made a nameplate necklace of my then-boyfriend, now-husband’s name, and I walked around with a ‘Rob’ necklace, and everybody was questioning what was on my neck,” Bramlette said. “Long story short, everybody wanted one; you couldn’t go out and get a custom fine jewelry nameplate anywhere unless you knew a neighborhood jeweler.”

Although Lana Jewelry has high-quality merch for women and men, it’s largely targeting the former with earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, anklets, and extenders. For all customers and potential customers, Lana’s Jewelry offers a “digital stylist” service that connects with styling professionals via phone, email, Zoom, and other platforms to help you achieve “the perfect look.”

912 Green Bay Road, Winnetka

More From Better:

David Hammond is Dining and Drinking Editor at Newcity and contributes to the Chicago Tribune and other publications. In 2004, he co-founded, the 15,000 member food chat site; for several years he wrote weekly “Food Detective” columns in the Chicago Sun-Times; he writes weekly food columns for Wednesday Journal. He has written extensively about the culinary traditions of Mexico and Southeast Asia and contributed several chapters to “Street Food Around the World.”

David is a supporter of S.A.C.R.E.D., Saving Agave for Culture, Recreation, Education and Development, an organization founded by Chicagoan Lou Bank and dedicated to increasing awareness of agave distillates and ensuring that the benefits of that awareness flow to the villages of Oaxaca, Mexico. Currently, S.A.C.R.E.D is funding the development of agave farms, a library and water preservation systems for the community of Santa Catarina Minas, Oaxaca. 

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