The Loop's hippest new lunch spot officially opens today. We feel like we've been waiting forever, and we couldn't be more excited. The Revival Food Hall (125 S Clark) features 15 food vendors (like Black Dog Gelato, Aloha Poke Co., The Fat Shallot, Antique Taco and others) and Curbside Splendor, an indie books and records publisher.
We stopped by to check out some of the new booths and to see what things you should try. One thing to note about the Revival: Dishes aren't exactly cheap, but they are delicious. You'll also want to go when you have a chance to sit and grab a drink, as almost all of the vendors serve some sort of alcoholic beverage and have "dine in" options for a slightly less casual feel.
So, what to check out?
The reuben at the Fat Shallot ($12): This is the first brick-and-mortar location for the popular food truck, and we're thrilled we don't have to hunt it down every time we need a sandwich. The Reuben comes warm with corned beef, Swiss cheese, slaw and Russian dressing on marble rye and is a hearty bite. But we like all the sandwiches at the Fat Shallot, so you won't be disappointed. The Fat Shallot booth also wins for the cheapest alcohol (we think) you can find at the Revival Food Hall, with a tall boy of Old Style clocking in at $3.50.
Daily Catch at Brown Bag Seafood Co. ($9.99): This fast-casual seafood spot has a few Loop locations, and we're happy with the addition at the Revival. You get to pick your base between grain, veggie and half-and-half, then pick your protein. We went with the veggie box with green beans, Brussels sprouts, carrots and kale topped with the grilled daily catch. We also splurged a bit and grabbed the truffle-parm tots as a side (a solid addition). If you're looking for something on the lighter side, the boxes at Brown Bag Seafood Co. are the way to go.
Little Aloha at Aloha Poke Co. ($7.50): If you're looking for cheaper eats, Aloha Poke is the one to seek out. It's the poke spot you've been hearing about making a splash across the city, starting with a booth in the French Market (that has to have two lines because it's so popular). All pokes come in three sizes, but the little one is enough to satiate us through lunch (your mileage may vary). But the real winner here is behind the poke counter in the form of a boozy slushy—the Hawaiian Punch punch is spiked with rum and comes in a kiddie cup, perfect for a sneak drink in the middle of the day.
Mushroom Square at Union Squared ($9): This pizzeria comes from the group behind Union Pizzeria in Evanston, with hearty squares of Detroit-style pizza and a thick crust packed with air bubbles. You can grab a whole pie or a quarter of any you choose—we're keen on the mushroom, with leeks, walnut pesto and mushrooms. The crispy crust with melty cheese tops the whole thing off.
Curbside Splendor: Sure, you're here to eat (and maybe to drink—after all, the place is open for dinner), but why not get a bit of culture in while you're at it? Tucked behind the Revival Café-Bar is a corner called Curbside Splendor, from the local indie publisher offering a variety of Chicago-themed books. Stop by before or after you grab your meal, and you'll easily find your next book or record while learning a little more about the city.
Photographs by Jaclyn Rivas