Crain’s Chicago Business | Ari Bendersky | March 15, 2019

Big-name chefs, independent restaurateurs and outside players are debuting spots in town over the next few months.

This is shaping up to be a stellar year for Chicago restaurants. Big-name chefs, independent restaurateurs, Japanese restaurants and more are coming for the food-obsessed to look forward to. Here we chronicle what to put on your radar.


Stephanie Izard’s Cabra will feature the chef’s take on Peruvian food. Earlier this year, she traveled to the South American country, whose cuisine has influences from Japan, China and elsewhere in the Latin world. Izard and her partners at Boka Restaurant Group will open Cabra, which means goat in Spanish, on the roof of the soon-to-open Hoxton Hotel.
Where: 200 N. Green St.
When: April 4

Filling out the Hoxton hotel, the Boka group once again teams up with chef Chris Pandel on a 200-seat, all-day Mediterranean-influenced spot on the hotel’s ground floor. The menu will feature sharable dishes, like tabbouleh comprising Italian farro verde, mojama (Spanish salt-cured tuna) and fior di mugello cheese from Italy served with a green harissa, and larger plates like hearth-roasted whole turbot with an herbaceous sauce.
Where: 200 N. Green St.
When: April 4

Chef Fabio Viviani and his DineAmic Group partners will open a second location of the popular Fulton Market BomboBar in Old Town. Where the original 100-square-foot spot has a small walk-up window that often garners long lines to get the popular fried Italian doughnuts, gelato and burgers, the new location will be 15 times larger, allowing Viviani to add more savory menu items. The space can accommodate 30 indoor seats and 20 spots on an outdoor patio.
Where: 1529 N. Wells St.
When: Early April

Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar
The second restaurant from the team behind Logan Square’s Giant, Chef’s Special will be a bar-first concept with quality Chinese-American fare to accompany the drinks. The cocktails will come in three categories: stirred, mixed and spritz. The food will feature noodle- and rice-based appetizers and larger plates like cold fried chicken with hot mustard and kung pao beef.
Where: 2165 N. Western Ave.
When: Summer

Chef Paul Virant returns to the city with a Japanese street-food restaurant. The 2,300-square-foot, 60-seat restaurant will focus on okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake made of flour, egg and dashi and topped with ingredients like seafood and pork belly. The bar will highlight sake, Japanese whiskey and highballs and a beer collaboration with Moody Tongue.
Where: 950 W. Lake St.
When: Summer

RPM on the Water
R.J., Jerrod and Molly Melman, along with Bill and Giuliana Rancic and chef Doug Psaltis, will take over a multilevel, river-facing space to open three restaurants. An unnamed waterfront-level cafe will debut first. The others, a private event space and the main RPM restaurant, will roll out throughout the year. Each level will feature outdoor terraces.
Where: 321 N. Clark St.
When: Late spring through fall

Unnamed Hogsalt restaurant
Restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff is planning a Midwest-inspired supper club in the same alley that houses his Green Street Smoked Meats and RM Champagne Salon. The 150-seat, 9,000-square-foot restaurant with a large bar area will evoke a “woodsy lodge feeling without it being a log cabin, without being Disneyland,” Sodikoff says.
Where: 112 N. Green St.
When: Midsummer