The 5 Best Restaurants That Opened in Chicago in April
Three words: “wine-inspired cuisine”
To keep tabs on every Chicago restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past 30 (or so). Bon appétit.
This month, the key word for Chicago’s latest restaurant openings is expansion — as in brand-new concepts from well-known restaurateurs across the city. Think an all-day cafe concept from the Maple & Ash folks, English-pub-meets-swanky-cocktail bar from the AJ Hudson’s and Dandy Crown team and a beer mecca from the charcuterie connoisseurs at Lardon. There’s also a strong focus on wine this month with a namesake restaurant from Master Sommelier Alpana Singh, and a South Side wine and art destination bringing together the community in Bronzeville. Here are our picks for Chicago’s best restaurant openings in the last month.
You’re here because: You’re a wine aficionado who loves being the first to try Chicago’s newest restaurants.
You’re dining on: Personally crafted food and wine menus by Alpana Singh, Master Sommelier and former Check, Please! host. The focus here is wine-inspired cuisine which emphasizes the many nuanced flavors, ingredients and textures of the restaurant’s dishes. Popular menu items include braised octopus with salsa verde, pistachio pesto garganelli with lemon feta and braised short ribs with potato mouselline. Hot tip: there’s also a separate vegetarian menu. With more than 20 wines offered by the glass, you’ll be able to create your own pairings. The specialty cocktail list is fun too, with drinks like the Blood Orange Cosmo and the Coffee Talk with rum, coffee liqueur, cold brew, vanilla Giffard and dememara.
831 State St. (map)
You’re here because: You’re a fan of UNION’s sister concept, Lardon, but are in the mood for all things beer.
You’re dining on: A pint or two from one of 24 taps featuring Chicago and Midwest breweries. You’ll find something for all taste buds, from blonde ales to stouts. Not into beer? Don’t fret, there are plenty of whiskey and cocktail offerings, plus a short list of wines by the glass and bottle. All of that drinking is sure to strike up an appetite for shareables like the patatas bravas or lamb and pistachio meatballs with pomegranate and fennel. Heartier appetites will be satisfied with mains like the Union burger featuring an 8 oz. brisket patty or the pan roasted black cod served with shredded root vegetables.
2202 N. California Ave. (map)
You’re here because: You can’t choose between English pub or cocktail parlor vibes. The owners behind AJ Hudson’s Public House and The Dandy Crown have morphed both concepts into their latest venture on the North Side.
You’re dining on: The main floor Albion Manor serves English pub fare classics like the ploughman’s plate with meat and cheese, pickled eggs and pate, plus modern dishes including Stilton ravioli and London dry gin cured tuna. On weekends, head upstairs for after-dinner cocktails at The Parlour at The Albion for both classic and modern cocktails like the Afternoon in the Garden featuring tequila, chile vodka, passionfruit, elderflower and lime juice. The beverage menu also includes no- and low-ABV options, so there’s something for everyone.
1480 W. Webster Ave. (map)
You’re here because: You’re a bon vivant ready to explore all that the Bronzeville community has to offer in an art-forward, relaxed setting.
You’re dining on: Locally inspired dishes paired with a rotating wine list featuring Black-owned wineries. Owner Eric Wiliams (of the Silver Room) has carefully created this concept to be reminiscent of the South Side’s history and the space will host wine talks, art openings and other cultural events. Be sure to plan ahead, as Bronzeville Winery is currently reservation-only.
4420 S. Cottage Grove Ave. (map)
You’re here because: You’re in the mood for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up that just might stretch into the evening hours at this all-day cafe and market from the team behind Maple & Ash.
You’re dining on: Coffee and pastries (by day) and cocktails and wood-fired dishes (by night). Daytime standouts include a breakfast sandwich with Slagel Farms maple sausage, cheddar and chili aioli, and banana almond toast with dark chocolate tahini, hemp seed and coconut. Wood-fired dishes are the star in the late afternoon and evenings featuring a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, wood-oven focaccia and roasted plates like shrimp with white wine and garlic butter. Be sure to peruse the well-curated market before you go. With a full assortment of local and global retail goods including pastas, breads, sauces and wine, you’ll be sure to have a well-stocked pantry after returning home.
847 N. State St. (map)
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