This month’s openings run the gamut from upscale seafood small plates inside the West Loop’s Emily Hotel to comforting baked goods and sandwiches across town. If that’s not your thing, consider a Loop food hall with an expansive outdoor patio, plus New Orleans po’boys from Virtue’s chef, Erick Williams. And don’t miss the newly opened permanent space for Mindy Segal’s baked goods, which garnered a cult-like following throughout the pandemic. Below, the best openings from the past 30 days.
You’re here because: You’re in search of a work-week lunch or breakfast spot to break up your routine.
You’re dining on: Both grab-and-go and made-to-order sandwiches and salads including the Strawberry Essence with kale, Parmesan, radish, pickled red onions, strawberries, crispy shallots and confit garlic. Interesting sandwiches include the Canal St. Cubano with pulled pork, gruyere, mashed avocado and pickled red onion and jalapeno. The market’s also open for breakfast for those wanting an espresso drink, pastry or breakfast sandwich on the run. Before cooler weather hits, be sure to check out the massive outdoor patio and green space, a rarity for this part of the Loop. And stay tuned for the Italian-inspired Canal Street Eatery, which just opened last week — it brings pizzas and handmade pastas, plus a cocktail bar, Afterbar, that welcomes happy hour-goers come September.
314 S. Canal St.. (map)
You’re here because: Seafood is your favorite food group.
You’re dining on: Mexican seafood fare from executive chef Matt Danko on the first floor of The Emily Hotel (formerly The Ace Hotel). Think aguachiles, ceviches, masa-focused dishes and more, with a French and Japanese twist: kanpachi aguachile with smoked beets and butterfly sorrel or a chayote salad with mint, basil, pepitas, green goddess dressing and citrus lace. Fora’s currently open for lunch and dinner, with breakfast service to come in the weeks ahead.
311 N. Morgan. (map)
You’re here because: You fell in love with Mindy Segal’s baked goods from her pop-ups in the former Hot Chocolate space throughout the pandemic.
You’re dining on: A rotating selection of baked goods, many of which feature non-traditional flavors. Take the vodka sauce bialy or garlic challah bagel, plus sweets like a hot fudge croissant and a cookie butter cheesecake pop tart. Arrive early to stake your claim before the crowd-pleasing goodies sell out.
1623 N. Milwaukee Ave. (map)
You’re here because: You’re a fan of chef Erick Williams and can’t wait to see what he’s up to for his third solo restaurant.
You’re dining on: New Orleans-style po’boys of course, plus fried chicken, bowls, snacks and salads, all around the corner from Chef Williams’ acclaimed Virtue Restaurant. The bright, casual dining room serves nine po’boy options, including alligator, barbecue shrimp, fried green tomatoes or catfish varieties served with traditional accoutrements. Other menu standouts include a muffuletta, a red beans-and-rice bowl with pork shank, boudin balls, peel-and-eat shrimp and housemade biscuits served with honey butter. The New Orlean influence extends to the cocktail menu, where you’ll find the classic hurricane (on the rocks or frozen), a sazerac and a Mardi Gras punch with coconut rum.
5212 S. Harper Ave. (map)
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