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The Arch
Photograph: Jack Pontarelli

The 30 most exciting new restaurants in Chicago

Switch up your takeout routine while supporting local with these new Chicago restaurants.

By Morgan Olsen
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Looking to freshen up your takeout routine this winter? A flurry of new restaurants in Chicago offers plenty of options to choose from, including tacos and patisserie in Wicker Park, a virtual market in the Loop and a hot new patio in Pilsen. The best new restaurants in Chicago are packed with personality and creativity, offering new ways to dine in uncertain times. Take Cocoa Chili for example: Career coach Niquenya Collins is living out her dream of owning a restaurant with a new Afro-Caribbean-soul food concept. And then there's chef Bill Kim's delicious foray into Detroit-style pizza. Because all of these eateries and pop-up dining experiences are just finding their footing, it's best to call ahead for reservations and carryout options. Mask up and support local when you dine at the most exciting new restaurants in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Discover more of the best restaurants in Chicago

Best new restaurants in Chicago

Cocoa Chili
Cocoa Chili
Photograph: Zachary James Johnston

1. Cocoa Chili

Restaurants Soul and southern American East Garfield Park

For more than 25 years, business coach Niquenya Collins has helped others realize their dreams. Now, the entrepreneur is taking her own advice and doing what she loves most: cooking smile-inducing, belly-warming Afro-Caribbean-soul food for the masses. Operating out of food and drink incubator the Hatchery, Cocoa Chili serves dishes like Jamaican jerk chicken, Senegalese poulet yassa and Caribbean salmon with mango salsa. Hearty sides like fried plantains and roasted veggies round out the menu, but no order is complete without the namesake cocoa chili, which is spiked with Collins's signature spice blend.

The Arch
The Arch
Photograph: Jack Pontarelli

2. The Arch

Restaurants American Loop

A delicious partnership between hospitality group DMK and chef Brian Huston (Heaven on Seven, Blackbird), the Arch is a European-style virtual market that deals in soups, salads, pizzas and sandwiches. The kitchen is further bolstered by head baker Matt Pontarelli (Publican Quality Bread) and pastry chef Gabby Sanchez (Food Network's Chopped Sweets), who keep the menu stocked with take-and-bake goodies and hand-crafted pastries. Whether you're grabbing a croissant and coffee or a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, you can count on fresh ingredients that have been painstakingly sourced from nearby farms.

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Minahasa
Minahasa
Photograph: Courtesy Minahasa

3. Minahasa

Restaurants Food court Loop

Revival Food Hall's latest concept brings Indonesian fare to the Loop, courtesy of chef John Avila (Gibsons Italia) and his mother's age-old recipes. Sample gohu (spicy pickled green papaya), sambal chicken wings and mie bakso (beef meatball soup) before diving into bigger entrees, like the ayam tuturuga—which finds chicken braised in sour-spicy yellow curry with lemongrass and lime leaves.

Clover club cocktail at Scofflaw
Clover club cocktail at Scofflaw
Photo: Martha Williams

4. Chin Up, Buttercup

Bars Lounges Logan Square

Beloved Logan Square bar Scofflaw pivots to comfort food classics with this new delivery-only concept that serves dishes like Swedish meatballs, baked rigatoni, classic meatloaf and buttery mashed potatoes with beef gravy. Of course, the pros behind the bar are still mixing up tasty cocktails to go, like the Bitter Hoedown, with gin, vermouth, Campari, pineapple and lemon.

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Bill Kim's Pizza & Parm Shop
Bill Kim's Pizza & Parm Shop
Photograph: Courtesy Cornerstone Restaurant Group

5. Chef Bill Kim鈥檚 Pizza & Parm Shop

Restaurants Pan-Asian Wicker Park

This delivery-only ghost kitchen operating out of Urbanbelly in Wicker Park dishes out thick, square-cut Detroit-style pies from chef Bill Kim. Choose from toppings like pork and pineapple or beef and kimchi—or spring for a marinara-dipped parm sandwich. Then, cool off with a sweet treat from Pretty Cool Ice Cream.

Sfera Sicilian Street Food
Sfera Sicilian Street Food
Photograph: Kristen Mendiola

6. Sfera Sicilian Street Food

Restaurants Italian Avondale

The Midwest goes to Sicily at Daniela Vitale and Steven Jarczyk's fast-casual concept, Sfera Sicilian Street Food. The menu revolves around two delicious dishes: The arancini are stuffed and fried risotto balls, while the saccia is a folded semolina pizza that boasts a pasta-like center. And yes, they have a Chicago-style version of the latter that's loaded with Italian sausage, green peppers and mushrooms. For dessert, it's all about the hand-filled cannoli in seasonal flavors like pistachio and Door County cherry.

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Kapitan
Kapitan
Photograph: Courtesy Kapitan

7. Kapitan

Restaurants Lincoln Park

An ambassador for Peranakan cuisine in Chicago, Kapitan offers plenty to love (and discover) in Lincoln Park. The lengthy menu spans breakfast, lunch and dinner with Malaysian favorites from chef Khoon Lew. Start the day with lo mai gai, a dim sum dish that finds sticky rice stuffed inside steamed lotus leaves. For dinner, it's all about the sambal shrimp, which is cooked in a spicy house sauce and served with asparagus and okra. But as soon as you see the kuih—tiny, bite-sized sweets made fresh daily—you'll gladly save room for dessert.

Dear Margaret
Dear Margaret
Photograph: Neil Burger

8. Dear Margaret

Restaurants French Lake View

Determined to emulate the feeling of sitting down at your grandmother's table, Dear Margaret is a French-Canadian eatery that plays with Midwestern ingredients. Owner Lacey Irby and executive chef Ryan Brosseau achieve this by imbuing their menu with an abundance of comfort and care, resulting in produce-packed salads, hearty mains and classic, feel-good desserts. Who's Maraget? Brosseau's mémé, or grandmother, the renowned preservationist and family cook who inspires the restaurant's ethos.

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Pilsen Yards
Pilsen Yards
Photograph: Sammy Faze Photography

9. Pilsen Yards

Restaurants Mexican Lower West Side

Named after a bygone lumberyard in the area, Pilsen Yards replaces Monnie Burke's with a casual, music-fueled concept that specializes in tacos and other Mexican eats plus a long list of cocktails and beer. Guests can plan their visit around a jam-packed calendar of live DJs and art shows that promise to grace the space all year. Also noteworthy is the covered outdoor patio that's outfitted with heated cement floors and overhead heaters for maximum coziness. Psst! Look out for The Alderman, an intimate, in-house speakeasy cocktail lounge that's coming soon.

We're Winging It at Cebu
We're Winging It at Cebu
Photograph: Courtesy Cebu

10. We鈥檙e Winging It

Restaurants Filipino Wicker Park

The folks behind Filipino restaurant Cebu do a lot of things very well (including lumpia, pork tocino and gambas), but their tamarind chicken wings have become a fast favorite among loyal customers. This new-ish spinoff spotlights the beloved menu item and shows off a range of other Asian-inspired wing sauces, like soy-calamansi, sambal BBQ and mango-habanero. Each order includes a side of rice, but there's no harm in tossing in an order of seasoned fries.

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Lost Larson
Lost Larson
Photograph: Jessica Dawson

11. Lost Larson

Restaurants Bakeries Wicker Park

Bobby Schaffer's palace of patisserie is stocked with beautiful baked goods (like cardamom buns and almond croissants), from-scratch breads (think honey oat and sunflower rye) and photo-worthy confections (including lemon meringue and carrot cake). But perhaps its most iconic delicacy is something called princess cake, a traditional Swedish dessert that boasts defined layers of vanilla sponge, raspberry preserves and almond crunch; it's all blanked in mint-green marzipan. Order a slice with a cup of coffee for the perfect pairing—Schaffer's sister and Lost Larson general manager, Bree, makes a mean latte.

Taqueria Ching贸n
Taqueria Ching贸n
Photograph: Courtesy Taqueria Ching贸n

12. Taqueria Ching贸n

Restaurants Mexican Logan Square

A tasty homage to the streetside eateries of Mexico City, Taqueria Chingón brings pozole, ceviche and tortilla-wrapped meats to Bucktown. The venture is a partnership between Sotero Gallegos (La Sardine), Oliver Poilevey (Le Bouchon) and Marcos Ascencio (Bar Lupo)—three men with a shared passion for the classics. The tacos al pastor are a must, with tender bits of pork finding their match in creamy avocado salsa, sweet pineapple and flecks of cilantro. Vegetarians aren't left out of the fun: There's a veg-based version of the dish that subs in portobello mushrooms and celery root to create a spot-on rendition that's anything but boring. A bowl of chile-laced pozole warms the belly in the winter months, while the zesty octopus and shrimp ceviche is the perfect refresher come summer.

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Marvin's Food & Fuel
Marvin's Food & Fuel
Photograph: Eric Kleinberg

13. Marvin鈥檚 Food & Fuel

Restaurants American West Loop

There's something wonderfully nostalgic about TV dinners—the ones that come packaged in sectioned-off trays and are designed to be devoured in front of the tube. If you're craving that kind of comfort right now (who isn't?), Marvin's Food & Fuel has just the thing. The West Loop restaurant serves a handful of upgraded TV dinners that are ready to heat and eat wherever and whenever you please. The freshly prepared meals are elevated with adult taste buds in mind; roasted turkey breast is served with gravy, herb stuffing and baked apple crumble, while the meatloaf dinner is accompanied by whipped potatoes with parmesan and chocolate chip bread pudding. The menu changes with the season, so expect fresh new options often.

R锚ve burger
R锚ve burger
Photograph: Michael Muser

14. R锚ve

News Eating

After announcing that his fine-dining restaurant Ever would pivot to takeout, renowned chef Curtis Duffy is dropping more big (and previously unimaginable) news. He's just launched Rêve Burger, a virtual restaurant that's available for pickup and delivery exclusively through DoorDash and Caviar. The name has a dual meaning: Rêve is a French word that translates to "dream" in English; it's also "ever" spelled backward, a nod to his current West Loop restaurant. The star of the short but sweet menu is a double-patty stacker that's loaded up with American cheese, dill pickles and a swath of secret sauce—all flanked by caramelized brioche buns. Diners can opt to make it vegetarian by subbing in plant-based Beyond patties.

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Rye Deli & Drink
Rye Deli & Drink
Photograph: Neil Burger

15. Rye Deli & Drink

Restaurants Delis Greektown

Offering a modern take on old-school deli traditions and flavors, Rye Deli & Drink cranks out a menu of quality eats that are crafted by hand using sustainably sourced ingredients. Bagels are made in-house daily and come in flavors like blueberry, za'atar and blue masa with cinnamon; they're upgraded with labneh shmear to create the ideal morning handheld. When lunchtime rolls around, you better believe Rye offers its own take on matzo ball soup that uses local grains, seasonal vegetables and a heavy hand of dill. On the sandwich front, guests can choose from classics like pastrami, corned beef, smoked turkey and reuben. Even your bubbe will be impressed.

16. Uncooked

Restaurants Wicker Park

If you're into the idea of a plant-based diet but can't fathom giving up sweets, pasta and sushi, the menu at Uncooked might pique your interest. With locations in Fulton Market and Wicker Park, the vegan spot offers uncooked, plant-based eats that emulate dishes like ravioli, ramen, sesame noodles and cacio e pepe. There are juices and smoothies, too, but perhaps most intriguing are the cakes, which are free of gluten and sugar but taste deliciously decadent (chocolate almond butter is a fan-favorite). Even sweeter, Uncooked is a family operation that's helmed by Carole Jones, her son (Jeremy Jones) and his wife (Kaitlyn Jones)—a trio that's dedicated their lives to feeling good through food.

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Cat-Su sandwich
Cat-Su sandwich
Photograph: Charlie Metcalf

17. Cat-Su Sando

Restaurants Japanese Humboldt Park

Ex-Blackbird chefs Will Schlaeger and Shawn Clendening bonded over their mutual love of Japanese culture and cuisine, and they've created Cat-Su Sando to combine traditional recipes with some Western influence and ingredients. Formerly operated out of a Humboldt Park cloud kitchen, the duo have taken over the former home of Dante's Pizzeria at California Avenue and Augusta Boulevard. You can order the namesake Cat-Su—fried chicken thigh, fermented jalapeño, pickles and cabbage on milk bread—or sample a bowl of ramen and kushiyaki (grilled skewered meat). And if you need to wake up, the house made Milk Tea Royale made with almond milk and a blend of assam and li shan tea should do the trick.

Ruth's Panmade Pizza
Ruth's Panmade Pizza
Photograph: Ruth鈥檚 Panmade Pizza/Sarah Zelman

18. Ruth鈥檚 Panmade Pizza

The folks behind Roots Handmade Pizza are trying their hand at deep dish by transforming their Wells Street location into a pizzeria fit for a Supreme Court justice. Named for the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Ruth's will donate 10 percent of all proceeds to the Roger Baldwin Foundation of the ACLU of Illinois in an effort to support the Women’s and Reproductive Rights Project. The pies boast a butter-rubbed crust, pools of mozzarella and tons of toppings. The namesake RBG Supreme is loaded up with taco-seasoned ground beef, jalapeños, black olives, tortilla strips, cheddar cheese curds and chihuahua cheese.

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Sugargoat
Sugargoat
Photograph: Galdones Photography

19. Sugargoat

Restaurants Bakeries West Loop

Chef Stephanie Izard's culinary empire gets a little sweeter with the opening of Sugargoat, a bakery housed inside Little Goat Diner that features the creations of Izard and pastry chef Faith Taheny. Inspired by each chef's in-home baking experiments during quarantine and the flavors of their childhood (think fries dipped in milkshakes and pancakes topped with lots of maple syrup), Sugargoat serves a rotating menu of cakes, pies, cookies and cupcake, along with muffins, bagels, scones and croissants in the morning (plus Dark Matter coffee). Highlights of the menu include a savory avocado toast cake—combining a sourdough cake with tomato caramel and avocado buttercream—and a chocolate french fry pie, which uses a french fry crumble crust and chocolate malt filling.

Wake 'n Bake Chicago
Wake 'n Bake Chicago
Photograph: Neil Burger

20. Wake 鈥檔 Bacon

Restaurants Lake View

We could all use a little CBD in our coffee. At Lakeview brunch spot Wake 'n Bacon, you can get the cannabis-derived compound added to just about everything on the menu. With the help of chef Will Silas, husband-and-wife team Gabriel and Sarah Ayala pulled from their respective heritages to build the food lineup, spotlighting dishes from Taiwan, Argentina, El Salvador, the Philippines and beyond. The purple-hued ube pancakes are topped with bacon, fried eggs, breakfast potatoes, pickled peppers, cheddar and spicy maple syrup. Craving something sweet? The peach crumble crepes are stuffed with vanilla-lemon cream cheese and covered in stone fruit and granola.

Every dish can be upgraded with a dose of cannabidiol from Chicago-based company Half Day CBD. For the unfamiliar, CBD doesn't have psychoactive properties, so you're not going to get high from an order of flapjacks. Though there are still plenty of unknowns about the plant extract, most distributors claim that it can help ease anxiety, stress and insomnia. Did we mention that you can get it added to any drink on the menu, too? Wake 'n Bake is a one way ticket to Chill Town.

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Orkenoy
Orkenoy
Photograph: Mimi Lie

21. 脴rkenoy

Bars Breweries Humboldt Park

Scandinavian-inspired beer and cuisine are on the menu at this brewery and taproom inside the Kimball Art Center, just steps away from the 606. Founded by a pair of former Lagunitas Brewing employees, Ørkenoy serves approachable lagers and ales that incorporate ingredients like wild currant leaves and gooseberries. If you're feeling peckish, there's also a menu of smørrebrød open-faced sandwiches that are destined to take over your Instagram feed. Stop by Ørkenoy in the morning to grab a cup of joe from trendy Los Angeles coffee brand Dayglow, which is in a storefront directly next door.

Evette's
Evette's
Photograph: Max Kilibarda / Waypost Creative

22. Evette鈥檚

Restaurants Mexican Lincoln Park

Bridging the gap between Mediterranean flavors and traditional Mexican eats, Evette's is one of the only places in town where you'll find loaded pita nachos and halloumi tacos. The bright, no-reservations storefront is the brainchild of Mitchell AbouJamra (DMK Group) and Rafa Esparza (Finom), who named the restaurant after AbouJamra's grandmother (or teta in Lebanese). The menu explores Lebanon's many influences on Mexican cuisine through easy-to-love dishes like a plate of tender shaved steak served with dates, almonds and goat cheese. There's plenty to choose from for vegetarians, too, with the mushroom veggie melt and the halloumi wrap. Dessert is a no-brainer with a baklava shake on the menu.

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Bill鈥檚 Original Tavern Pizza
Bill鈥檚 Original Tavern Pizza
Photograph: Nick Murway

23. Bill鈥檚 Original Tavern Pizza

Named for RPM Restaurant partner Bill Rancic (a.k.a. Giuliana's husband), this carryout- and delivery-only pizzeria is operating out of RPM Seafood. Rancic and business partner Kelly Clancy both grew up on Chicago's South Side and have fond memories of digging into pies from iconic spots like Fox's and Aurelio's. Their new-school homage to tavern-style pizza is crafted with a crispy thin crust that's cut into squares. There are eight pies to choose from that range from classic (Italian sausage) to funky (buffalo chicken), or you can make your own creation with a laundry list of toppings. Rounding out the menu are a handful of indulgent appetizers, salads and sandwiches. For dessert, your choice of Italian lemon ice, chocolate chip cookies or hand-dipped cannoli.

Brite
Brite
Photograph: Anthony Barlich

24. Brite

Brite is a different kind of bakehouse that specializes in small-batch doughnuts and pastries that use locally sourced ingredients to channel familiar flavors. The croissants, for instance, are laced with everything from pumpkin Thai tea to cheddar and chive. Doughnuts are available in flavors like grape jelly with sesame butter glaze and cold brew cream with blueberry glaze. Dreamed up by pastry chef Erika Chan (The Publican, Acadia) and chef Sieger Bayer (The Publican, Tortello), Brite serves its sugary treats out of Metric on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests also have the option to pre-order online for curbside pickup Thursday through Sunday.

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Lil' Parachute
Lil' Parachute
Photograph: Courtesy Lil' Parachute

25. Lil鈥 Parachute

Restaurants Korean Avondale

Over the summer, Beverly Kim and John Clark decided to temporarily shutter their award-winning Avondale restaurants, Parachute and Wherewithall. After hustling for months to safely accommodate diners in the pandemic era, the couple and their staff needed a break. In September, Michelin-starred Parachute made its triumphant return as Lil' Parachute, a temporary takeout-only concept that showcases more traditional Korean fare in the form of a rotating prix fixe menu. The name change is inspired by the 1930s children's book The Little Engine That Could, which was written by Watty Piper with themes of optimism and hard work. With Lil' Parachute, Kim and Clark are refocusing their ongoing sustainability efforts by using mostly local ingredients. Diners can expect more traditional Korean recipes to be showcased on the rotating prix fixe menu, which is available via Tock.

El Oso at Promontory
El Oso at Promontory
Photograph: Marisa Klug-Morataya

26. El Oso

Restaurants American Hyde Park

Popular Hyde Park restaurant the Promontory got a makeover this year. Acclaimed chef Jonathan Zaragoza (Birrieria Zaragoza) moved in, bringing with him a menu of traditional Mexican eats cooked over a wood-burning stove. The extended pop-up is called El Oso, which translates to "the bear" in Spanish—a nod to Zaragoza's childhood nickname. The dishes on offer reflect the chef's extensive travels throughout Mexico as well as engrained culinary traditions he's picked up from his parents. The tetela de cangrejo stuffs triangular-shaped masa pockets with crab and queso crema, while the ceviche verde is rife with plump shrimp, spicy serrano and cooling avocado. The chivo tatemado—a bone-in roasted goat shank served with mole negro and homemade tortillas—is hard to overlook in the entree section. For dessert, hoja santa-flavored ice cream is served inside a concha from Loaf Lounge.

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Pizza Lobo
Pizza Lobo
Photograph: Wade McElroy

27. Pizza Lobo

Restaurants Pizza Logan Square

Dreamed up by Dan Snowden—the former executive chef of Bad Hunter—and Heisler Hospitality's Matt Eisler and Kevin Heisner, Pizza Lobo features grab-and-go 'za and a lengthy bar menu plus a 4,000-square-foot patio. The trio honed the concept for Pizza Lobo over the course of several years in the kitchen of Bad Hunter's sister bar, Lone Wolf, playing with different ideas revolving around a classic New York-style crust. Now, the stand-alone concept is taking on an identity of its own, thanks to a roster of top-notch pies garnished with everything from grapes and broccoli rabe to hot honey and 'nduja.

Big Kids
Big Kids
Photograph: Wade McElroy

28. Big Kids

Restaurants Sandwich shops Logan Square

Go time-traveling at this fun-loving restaurant in Logan Square, where stacked sandwiches and nostalgia are on the menu. Culinary greats Ryan Pfeiffer (Blackbird) and Mason Hereford (Turkey and the Wolf, Molly's Rise and Shine) are the muscle behind the operation, bringing a deep love of sandwiches and all things '90s to the table. Diners can expect playful, stoner-friendly eats, like the Veg Crunch Wrap at the carbo-loaded 'Sketti Pocket, as well as cocktails that are infused with Tang and Hawaiian Punch.

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Milly's Pizza in the Pan
Milly's Pizza in the Pan
Photograph: Jason Bennett

29. Milly鈥檚 Pizza In The Pan

Every pizza has a defining feature—whether it's the zingy red sauce, the buttery crust or the imaginative toppings. At Milly's, it's not hard to tell what sets owner Robert Maleski's pies apart. A halo of caramelized mozzarella wraps around each creation, lending a deeply satisfying crunch to each slice. Crafted in seriously small quantities, these pan pies are almost always sold out, but if you can get your hands on one, go for the Que Suerte, with pineapple, cherry tomatoes, jalapeño and brown sugar bacon.

30. Testaccio

Restaurants Italian Logan Square

While traveling through Rome several years ago, Aldo Zaninotto found himself utterly obsessed with Testaccio, a neighborhood south of the city center. Zaninotto, who owns Chicago's Osteria Langhe, couldn't get enough of the area's diverse restaurants, historical ties and fantastic art scene. After several more trips, he couldn't help but draw parallels between the Roman neighborhood and Chicago's own Logan Square. Now he's connecting the two with a restaurant in the former Quiote space that spotlights healthy fare cooked in a wood-burning oven. Guests can sample classic Italian dishes alongside modern interpretations—with a robust wine list to match (when in Rome, right?).

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