The 6 Best Restaurants That Opened in Chicago This September
Including a contender for the title of best Mexican restaurant in the city
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 thirty (or so). Bon appétit.
You’re here because: Michelin-starred chef Carloz Gaytan makes his return to Chicago with an expansive River North homage to his hometown of Huitzuco in Guerrero, Mexico.
You’re dining on: French-Mexican dishes like Ceviche Verde featuring cobia, cured fresh cactus, cucumber, cactus sorbet, serrano pepper, mint and cactus aguachile; or Braised Short Rib with parsnips puree, onion, mint, cilantro and orange zest. Relax inside the large dining space where you’ll find taupe and chocolate tones representing Earth, land and sea, along with materials from Mexico like corn husks, woven fabrics and terra cotta.
720 N. State St.
You’re here because: You’re a fan of the team behind DryHop Brewers and Corridor Brewing who have pivoted toward a new neighborhood pizza and cocktail hangout.
You’re dining on: Craft cocktails and “neo-Neapolitan” pizzas fired from an imported oven. Owner Greg Shuff traveled to Naples, Italy to learn how to sling pizza from the pros, meaning these are some serious pies. Enjoy the Standard Bearer with housemade mozzarella, pickled jalapenos, soppressata, basil and a honey drizzle paired with the Pineapple on Everything, a pineapple rum cocktail with Campari and lime. The dark and comfy digs provide the ideal space for date-night or happy hour.
3159 N. Broadway St.
You’re here because: You’re looking to feed your taco and tequila craving at a friendly and casual spot.
You’re dining on: This neighborhood cantina features a menu full of tacos, tortas and gorditas, paired with interesting takes on classic cocktails. Sip on a Barbaro Paloma with tequila, elderflower, grapefruit, serrano, poblano salt, lime and soda or the Aguita De Melon: gin, mezcal, cantaloupe, mint, lemon, Peychaud’s Bitters. Ten taco options provide something for everyone, including a mushroom variety with mixed mushrooms, chile pasilla paste and epazote corn pesto or the pancita with pork belly, pico de gallo, cilantro and onion. Hungry for more? Larger appetites with be satisfied with a Milaneza de Pollo torta or the Chorizo Y Papa gordita with chorizo, queso fresco and black beans.
2525 W. North Ave.
You’re here because: You’re a Loop office worker in need of a non-sad desk lunch, dinner or happy hour from the team behind Le Sud and Koi.
You’re dining on: Chef Pat Sheerin is back with a menu of American-inspired fare in a warm space accompanied by nightly live music. Lunchtime options include a Corned Short Rib, sandwich with quick slaw and pastrami’d 1000 Island on classic marble rye, or a handful of salads like the Baby Kale with snap peas, avocado, horseradish and anchovy vinaigrette.
For dinner, enjoy a cocktail made with local herbs and fruits like the Running Out of Thyme (bourbon, lemon bitters, Bogart bitters, honey and thyme). Pair it with Konbu Cured Hamachi, with roasted beets, dill and horseradish vinaigrette or the Mezze Rigatoni with sungold tomato sauce, pecorino, fried chickpeas and rosemary. End on a sweet note with Coffee Crème brûlée topped with blueberry streusel.
77 W. Wacker Drive.
Old Pueblo Cantina
You’re here because: You’re curious to try the authentic Sonoran flavors of Arizona and Mexico in the heart of Lincoln Park.
You’re dining on: Old Pueblo Cantina’s neighborhood feel is warm and welcoming, and the perfect spot to enjoy dishes from the folks behind Coda Di Volpe and Gemini. Start with a Sonoran cheese crisp with chorizo, escabeche and lime crema, Chicken Tinga Flautas or Shrimp Ceviche with red mango. Main dishes include Pollo Asado prepared on a mesquite charcoal grill and Blackened Red Snapper with cilantro yogurt, jicama slaw and pineapple salsa, plus classics like tacos and chimichangas. Nine margarita varieties are available by the glass or pitcher, along with plenty of mezcal and tequila, and beer and wine.
1200 W. Webster Ave.
Wok N’ Bao
You’re here because: You love Asian cuisine and don’t want to choose between wok-fired bowls and flavorful bao.
You’re dining on: This West Loop counter-service spot keeps things simple with a menu of gua bao (hand buns) filled with proteins like tofu, salt and pepper shrimp, and pork belly, plus made-to-order bowls with your choice of base, protein and sauce. Don’t skip out on the M.S.G. (Maple Sherry Gochujang) Wings, made famous by chef David Wang at the now-closed Oak + Char.
36 N. Clinton St.
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