As thorough as our critics are, nobody knows the city’s restaurants, coffee shops, bars, stores, storefront theaters and music venues like Time Out readers.
With this in mind, back in October we launched the Love Chicago Awards to find out more about the local businesses that make your area of the city incredible. Now, after an intense voting period in which nearly 7,000 of you had your all-important say, it’s our great pleasure to reveal the restaurants you love above all others. There were a few close calls (and a few freakin’ landslides), but through it all one thing was clear: Chicagoans are truly passionate about their neighborhoods.
All of which just leaves us to say congratulations to all of this year’s winners, and a hearty thanks to everyone who voted. Now get out there and show your winners some love.
RECOMMENDED: Full list of Time Out Love Chicago Awards winners
Top local storefront theaters
Established in 1983 and run by the husband-and-wife team of Michael Menendian and JoAnn Montemurro, this non-Equity company is primarily known for its productions of mid- to late-20th-century chestnuts. Since 2002, Raven's made its home in a converted former grocery store on Clark Street in Edgewater; the complex's two spaces are also regularly rented to itinerant troupes.
Formerly known as Theatre Building Chicago, this four-theater rental house has been the incubator to countless storefront companies since the late 1970s. Newly renamed and under the new management of Lukaba Productions, its former annual tenant as producers of January’s Sketchfest, the venue continues to play host to productions by companies like Porchlight Music Theatre and TimeLine Theatre Company, sketch troupes and cabaret; a major renovation was completed in 2012.
Located since 1994 in a 60-seat shoebox at the end of a gangway behind a Bucktown restaurant (and a couple of steps through its kitchen), Trap Door has become a vital producer of contemporary and experimental European work, and regularly tours its productions to Europe.
The host of some of the city’s most dynamic and creative storefront troupes, Wicker Park’s Chopin is a resolutely funky venue that consistently draws young audiences. In addition to a rotating door for visiting European companies, many of them Polish, the Chopin is a regular host to innovative companies like the House Theatre of Chicago.