The roster of restaurant openings due this fall in Chicago is about as diversified as it gets, from a casual fried chicken spot in Avondale to a downtown Italian behemoth. As summer winds down, long-awaited projects finally come to a head, as Matthias Merges bursts onto the Hyde Park scene, the team from the Gage and Henri open a new spot, and One Off Hospitality makes an Italian seafood splash in the Gold Coast. All this, along with recently announced surprises, such as Authentaco. Get hungry, because there’s a lot to look forward to this fall.
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Honey Butter Fried Chicken
Opening Date: Early September
Where: 3361 N Elston Ave
About: This long-awaited fried chicken shop from the chef/owners behind Sunday Dinner Club takes flight early to mid-September in Avondale. Christine Cikowski and Joshua Kulp have been cooking underground dinners together for the better part of a decade, and the time has finally come for the duo to debut their first brick-and-mortar, inspired by one of their most popular dinner club themes: fried chicken. Poultry arrives with indulgent dollops of honey butter, plus all the requisite comfort food sides and desserts.
Chop Shop and the 1st Ward
Opening Date: Mid-September
Where: 2033 W North Ave
About: This ambitious project brings a restaurant, a bar, a music venue and a butcher shop to Bucktown’s North Avenue corridor. Fill up on hearty seasonal cuisine (think: gnocchi, burgers, etc.) prepared by chef Joshua Marrelli before boogeying over to the 1st Ward for some live music. If you’re not dining in, Chop Shop’s butcher and deli department is sure to be stocked with enough meats to satiate your carnivorous cravings.
Opening Date: Mid-September
Where: 1141 N Ashland Ave
About: Authentaco has well-worn shoes to fill when it steps into one of the former La Pasadita spaces on Ashland Avenue, a building that originally housed a 5-cent hamburger shop in the 1930s. The concept isn’t much of a departure, what with authentic taqueria fare at the crux of the operation, but the space will be sleeker and notably more legit, with items such as huitlacoche and housemade tortillas.
Opening Date: Late September
Where: 730 W Grand Ave
About: The latest endeavor from the folks who brought you the Gage and Henri is a haute comfort-food haven manned by Next alum Rene de Leon. Named in honor of the Dawson Bros. Plant down the street, the restaurant echoes the feel of the fireplace company with its industrial atmosphere. Expect dishes such as fried steak dredged in buttermilk batter, elotes and tacos al pastor. Henri vet Clint Rogers is taking charge of the cocktail menu.
Opening Date: October
Where: 1462 E 53rd St
About: Matthias Merges took a bit of a plunge when he opened Yusho in Avondale a couple years ago, and with the imminent opening of A10 in Hyde Park, he’s taking another chance on a developing neighborhood. If the packed seats at Yusho and his subsequent bar Billy Sunday are any indication, Merges has nothing to fret about. Whereas Yusho treads in Japanese cuisine and Billy Sunday skews turn-of-the-century American, A10 focuses on European plates venturing from Northern Italy to Southern France to the Alps, and features everything from shellfish to handmade pasta courtesy of chef John Vermiglio. Cocktails are from Yusho and Billy Sunday’s Alex Bachman.
Opening Date: Mid-November
Where: 43 E Ohio St
About: Eataly has been one of the most anticipated openings in Chicago since word first broke that Mario Batali was bringing his Italian juggernaut to the Windy City. The downtown emporium will be larger than the New York City location at 63,000 square feet and will be stocked with a mix of imported Italian provisions and products made in-house from local ingredients. The hulking space (what used to be the ESPN Zone) will also sport eight restaurants, a microbrewery and a culinary school.
Opening Date: November 24
Where: 21 E Bellevue Place
About: Christmas comes early when Paul Kahan & co. open Nico in the Gold Coast’s Thompson Chicago Hotel. The latest endeavor from One Off Hospitality is in the hands of chef Erling Wu-Bower, an alum of the Publican and avec charged with curating a menu chock full of Italian seafood and pastas. Fresh off a stint with Lettuce Entertain You, Amanda Rockman displays her pastry prowess with desserts.
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