Some of the best new restaurants, bars, shops, and health and wellness centres to beat the winter blues and stay warm can be found in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs as the new year begins. To combat the weather, you may warm up with a bowl of ramen in Evanston, visit Fabio Viviani’s new business on the Gold Coast, or spoil your dog at Le Barkery, a bakery, spa, and store only for canines. What follows is an update on recent and forthcoming developments in Chicago and its environs.
Restaurants & Bars
Fabio Viviani’s newest project, Curfew, is located on the Gold Coast of Chicago, just off the Mag Mile (Siena Bar, Prime & Provisions, and around 30 other restaurants nationwide). Curfew is now serving lunch and supper, with an emphasis on large, communal plates in addition to the standard appetiser, entrée, and side portions. Dishes such as smoked steak tartare, shrimp and watermelon ceviche, Moroccan chilli wings with citrus dressing, taleggio, and truffle mustard all bear traces of Viviani’s humorous ingenuity. Mixologist Marko Milunovic has developed a menu of cocktails that both compliment Viviani’s cuisine (of course!) and can be enjoyed on their own after a long day.
Located at the Hotel Saint Clair, the restaurant and bar Curfew offers a “elevated dining experience with Spanish, American, and Italian flare, uninhibited by convention,” as described on the restaurant’s website. A staff committed to culinary and hospitality excellence oversees an atmosphere where bold ingredients merge perfectly with warm furnishings.
162 E. Ontario, Chicago
This second site of Chicago’s original matcha café, Matcha Cita, can be found in the River North neighbourhood. Studio Three’s CEO and co-founder, David Blitz, is thrilled to have Matcha Cita open a location in the neighbourhood of River North. Through the provision of matcha-based beverages, smoothies, freshly baked pastries, and more, Bianca [Pierson, founder] and her crew have amassed a dedicated clientele. It’s going to be a huge success in our area because of its well-designed distinctive cuisine, warm and inviting atmosphere, and matcha’s pre- and post-workout health advantages.
Matcha, a Japanese green tea that is whisked and enjoyed for its health benefits (it increases energy, reduces stress, and detoxifies the body), and because it tastes great and feels good. Fans attest that Matcha Cita, with its vintage, geometric, and very Instagrammable decor, is a refreshing alternative to coffee that doesn’t skimp on excitement.
648 N. Clark Street, Chicago
Margaritas & Tacos at Solita
Again, Solita Tacos & Margaritas demonstrates that Chicago is eager to welcome a fresh Mexican dining option. What makes Solita Tacos & Margaritas a little unusual is that their tacos are wood-grilled, bringing additional levels of taste to these beloved South-of-the-Border nibbles. They take the most famous Mexican drink, the Margarita, and turn it on its head with concoctions like the Spicy Pia, which has a heady mix of pineapple, fresh mint, tequila blanco, green chile liqueur, lime juice, agave nectar, and Jarritos pineapple soda.
Solita Tacos & Margaritas, with its outrageously tasty cuisine and drinks, captures the easygoing spirit of Baja California. “intended to imitate the industrial atmosphere of an ancient tequila distillery,” the area will have a terrace fire pit and huge dining room.
431 N. Wells Street Chicago
Delicious Ramen and Sushi from Hokkaido
You may believe there are already too many ramen restaurants and sushi bars in the Chicago region, but Hokkaido Ramen & Sushi is proof that there’s always room for one more. The popularity of the ramen bowls that dominate the menu at this new Evanston eatery is more evidence that ramen restaurants are here to stay.
Steaming bowls of ramen are the perfect meal on a chilly North Shore evening, and at Hokkaido Ramen & Sushi, you can have a variety of ramen bowls for around $15. Spicy Beef Ramen, which has braised beef brisket and big beef back rib, and Tonkatsu Shoyu Ramen, which features hefty slices of marinated pork, are also fan favourites. Some gluten-free and vegetarian choices are also available. The izakaya section of the menu is perfect if you’re only in the mood for a light bite, with options including deep-fried marinated chicken, octopus dumplings, edamame, and vegetable spring rolls.
812 Church Street, Evanston
The Lincoln Common sweetgreen is one of a rising number of such restaurants around the nation. Sweetgreen, a fast-casual salad restaurant, seems to be succeeding, as reported by the Wall Street Journal: “With a loyal following and a recent value of over $1 billion.” What then constitutes “doing things right?” A majority of the sweetgreen eateries have bright, open layouts, and they only use ingredients that come from environmentally responsible farms. Specials, some of which are only available at certain locations, complement an already appealing menu. The Buffalo Cauliflower side dish, the Garlic Chili Shrimp Bowl, and the Chicken and Brussels Bowl are always on the menu. For example, the organic cauliflower comes from Norman Miller Farm, a sustainable farm in the Midwest.
This new 2,769-square-foot space was formerly a boiler building built in the 1930s and has been restored to its original industrial aesthetic. Artwork honouring sweetgreen’s farmers and business partners decorates the restaurant’s double-height, tiled dining room interior.
2361 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago
Recently launched in Buena Park on Chicago’s North Side, Le Barkery is a bakery, spa, and store dedicated to the well-being of canine companions. Dogs are now barking at the entrances, showing they understand the situation. Dogs are so aggressive that they force their owners to come over here. I have a soft spot in my heart for canines. Bakery owner and classically trained pastry chef Danielle Papakanelou exclaims, “This is absolutely the greatest business in the world.”
Le Barkery provides organic dog treats, pet supplies, and a grooming station where pet parents may use all-natural soaps and shampoos on their canine companions. Leashes, collars, and seasonal clothing like jackets and Christmas dresses are just a few examples of the many pet accessories available. Le Barkery also caters to feline customers by stocking items like organic shampoo and toys for feline customers. This new establishment is just adjacent to Klein’s Bakery & Café, which is convenient for those who are always hungry. Humans in the area are known for their devotion to their canine companions; in fact, census data suggests that Buena Park has more dogs than any other area in the city, which is why Papakanelou decided to set up shop there.
4151 North Broadway, Chicago.
Psycho Bunny, which launched at the North Shore’s Old Orchard Shopping Center in the run-up to the holidays, claims to bring its brand of chic, boundary-pushing apparel to the area. Through a “unwavering devotion to excellence in all they produce,” unique logos, bright colours, and surprising details, Psycho Bunny aims to “reinvent traditional menswear designs.”
The unique, bold, and somewhat aggressive out-thereness of the clothing at Psycho Bunny, which is mainly aimed at males of any size, will appeal to anybody who is ready for something new. While the hues may seem muted, the spirit is anything but.
Skokie, Illinois; 4905 Old Orchard Mall
Achieving Optimal Health & Wellness
Eversee Optical Boutique
It is the mission of Eversee Boutique Eyecare to provide “the best quality, compassionate optometry care” so that their patients may fully appreciate the beauty of our planet. Utilizing cutting-edge medical technology is essential for sustaining and safeguarding your eye health. Eversee Boutique Eyecare provides state-of-the-art equipment and services performed by highly trained specialists.
Patients with visual impairments due to physical disability, concussion, or traumatic brain injury may build on the basis of complete eye care provided by Eversee Boutique Eyecare, which includes neuro optometry. Contact lenses, including disposable and toric options, are available at Eversee Boutique Eyecare to complement optometric treatment. Frames from Masunaga, Blackfin, and Carolyn Abram are just a few of the high-end brands available at Eversee Boutique Eyecare, where you’ll also get expert fitting services to guarantee that the glasses you leave with fit perfectly and enhance both your appearance and your vision.
Winnetka, Illinois; 910 Green Bay Road
Napolita Pizzeria & Wine Bar
A second Napolita Pizzeria & Wine Bar has opened in Northbrook, after the popularity of the first site in Wilmette. Napolita’s homemade pies have been eagerly anticipated since they are finally set to debut in the early spring. Northbrook Village President Kathryn Ciesla called it “the most anticipated business in Northbrook” at a recent board meeting.
Its new Stefano Ferrara brick pizza oven, imported from Italy in December, is getting Napolita Pizzeria & Wine Bar ready for a fiery debut in Northbrook. Paulie Gee’s in Brooklyn and Un Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco, two of the best pizzerias in the country, both employ these ovens. Speck e Spinaci (smoked prosciutto, spinach, and provolone) and a beautiful pie loaded with grilled vegetables are just two of the unique pizza creations available at Napolita Pizzeria & Wine Bar, which also features a full Italian menu of primi, insalata, pasta and risotto, secondi, and about twenty red and white Neapolitan pizzas. There is a well stocked wine cellar to accompany all this delectable fare; if you like grappa, you won’t want to miss their impressive selection of this spicy Italian liquor.
Northbrook, 1349 Shermer Road.
Bakery and Cafe EvaDean
The long-awaited opening of EvaDean’s Bakery & Café in Wilmette has been pushed back to later this year. The room formerly occupied by the children’s store Lad & Lassie will soon be occupied by its new owners, Jordana and Garrett VanBergen. The right half of EvaDean’s Bakery & Café will be dedicated to baking, while the left will serve breakfast, lunch, and brunch.
Both Garrett and Jordana hail from the Chicago suburb of Wilmette; Garrett is the executive chef at Farmhouse, a restaurant that bills itself as a “farm to tavern,” and Jordana is a pastry chef who has spent the past decade at Evanston’s Bennison’s Bakery. Jordana’s grandmother, Eva Dean, was also a baker and is credited with having a significant influence on her career choice. In the bakery, Jordana will be in charge of operations, while Garrett will manage the restaurant/café. The VanBergens would want to offer wine and drinks during breakfast and lunch, so they’re applying for a liquor licence, and they want to expand their business to include outside seating in Veteran’s Park on the building’s eastern side.
1115 Central Avenue, City: Wilmette Zip: 60091
The Lincoln Park location of Briny Swine, a self-described “Edisto Island Smokehouse and Oyster Bar,” opened at the beginning of 2019. Edisto Island, South Carolina, is a small, peaceful village between the North and South Edisto Rivers. The original Briny Swine is run by Brandon and Kathrine Rushing, and they’ve opened a location in Chicago so that their southern seafood and BBQ may reach a wider audience.
Although Katherine and her husband have always recognised Chicago for its cultural significance, it was their most recent visit there that solidified their resolve to relocate Briny Swine to the Windy City. We were moved by the individual character of each area, the high standard of the local eateries, and the warmth of its residents. Even though Edisto Island is far smaller than Chicago, there are some similarities. The people at both locations are warm and kind, and they enjoy nothing more than sharing a delicious meal with one another.
2577 N. Clark St., Chicago
There is currently no available positions.
Despite its slick black and silver decor and unique contemporary and sexy atmosphere, No Vacancy is debuting in River North as a “elevated dive bar,” or “a nearby watering hole where people can gather to enjoy each other’s company over wonderful beverages.”
Craft cocktails, beer, wine, and a wide variety of other drinks are all part of the broad beverage programme, and some dishes on the menu are getting rave reviews. Although it’s not a very original concept, Chef Zenas White has said that he would be serving guests traditional American cuisine prepared with seasonal ingredients. Diners assure us that the Pork Belly Pigs in a Blanket and the Braised Pork Shoulder Egg Rolls with red birria consommé for dipping live up to their billings. To term this establishment just a “dive bar,” though, feels like an understatement.
Chicago, Illinois; 509 N. Wells Street