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The tater tot trend in Chicago restaurants

The newest trend in Chicago restaurants: Tater tots.

Photograph: Martha Williams

This just in from your childhood: Tots have grown up, and they want you back. Nightwood was first to push the suckers into maturity with its crispy hash brown–style tots at brunch. Now, at Wave, Kristine Subido uses tots (pictured) to riff on Spain’s patatas bravas, flavoring them with fontina, caramelized onions and smoked paprika, and finishing them off with a classic romesco sauce. At David Burke’s Primehouse, Rick Gresh is getting ready to debut a lobster tater tot. But for now, he’s putting out bacon tots, using generous amounts of smoked Benton’s bacon (but not, he notes, so much that they taste like “you’re licking a smoke log”). And while the sweet potato tots at Haymarket Pub & Brewery aren’t made in-house, they’re dressed up with housemade sauces, many of which use beer. Which only further demonstrates that this stuff isn’t for kids. Except those over 21 years old.

Nightwood2119 S Halsted St, 312-526-3385
Wave644 N Lake Shore Dr, 312-255-4460
David Burke’s Primehouse616 N Rush St , 312-660-6000
Haymarket737 W Randolph St , 312-638-0700