Taste of Chicago may or may not happen in 2023, but the city’s chefs are preparing a raft of delicious menus set to debut this spring. That means Chicagoans don’t have to brave 90-degree temperatures and stroll around Grant Park to experience some of the best new flavors in town. Eater Chicago’s most anticipated spring 2023 restaurant opening is packed with variety.
Read on below to find the restaurant openings that will create the most buzz around town.
Address: 214 W. Erie Street, River North
Key Players: Doug Psaltis, Hsing Chen, Chef Christian Eckmann, Eat Well Hospitality
The owners of Andros Taverna and its partners have kept this River North project under wraps since 2020, when they bought the Flair Building, a 140-year-old gallery space that hosted parties and shows. Crews have kept the facade but cleared the space to make way for a Spanish steakhouse in the style of the type of restaurants visitors would find in San Sebastián in the Basque Country. This isn’t your typical River North beef stew with creamed spinach and roasted mushrooms. The beef is from a farm in Pennsylvania – they started raising cattle two years ago so the steak could be ready for the opening in March 2023. There are several private dining options and a promise to bring back some of the eating energy that the pandemic took away Downtown Chicago. Doug Psaltis, who headed Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ RPM wing, has experience sourcing fancy beef, so look for specials that diners can’t find anywhere else. Hsing Chen, the talented pastry chef who is also a partner in this project, says the selection of seafood will also be top notch.
Address: 1031 N. Rush Street, Gold Coast
Key players: Jim Banks, Fred Barbara
Tavern on Rush closed last year, ending a chapter of Chicago nightlife. The building’s owner decided to take over the operation and the remodeled space is called Bellevue. The two-story space will be open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and late-night drinks. Ownership is excited about a new courtyard that will offer views of Rush Street.
Address: 2375 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Logan Square
Key players: Joe Frillman, Leigh Omilinsky
Daisies closed its original space the weekend of March 4 as it prepared to move toward Fullerton and Milwaukee, inside a space that most prominently housed the German-American restaurant Radler. Pasta pro Joe Frillman has a dynamic all-day concept featuring pastries from former Boka dessert master Leigh Omilinsky. She is also a partner in the operation. Daisies is an Italian restaurant brought together with parts from the Midwest, an operation that allows Frillman and company to have fun. Maybe for Father’s Day he’ll blast Guns ‘n’ Roses and serve baby back ribs and tell dad jokes. It’s this type of attitude that has endeared Frillman to the community, and with a bigger space, look for bigger and better menu options.
Federale’s Logan Square
Address: 2471 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Logan Square
Key players: Four corners
Federales is a taco bar in the West Loop with a large patio that has earned a reputation as a place for 20 people to party. This is a concept from Four Corners, and they consulted with Au Cheval’s Brendan Sodikoff originally on the menu seven years ago. They’ve found a similar footprint in Logan Square, where they want a retractable roof and perhaps the infamous patio bell. This is the goal of customers who slam a shot glass made of ice and then throw the container at the bell. It’s become a tradition, and Federales’ arrival in Logan Square has worried some locals who feel it represents a turning point in how the neighborhood will be received. Because when there’s a Federales, what other bars can follow? Look for a spring opening.
Address: 954-960 W. 31st Street, Bridgeport
Key players: Won Kim, Maria’s Community Bar, Marz Community Brewing
Vandt Kim probably doesn’t get enough credit for what he does behind the scenes to encourage other chefs. Kim, a Chicago native, was the opening chef at Kimski and ushered in an era of Polish and Korean mashups, which made sense with his employers, Marszewski of Marz Community Brewing. Now seven years after opening, Kim is looking for a reset. Feeling more confident in his craft, the graffiti artist and DJ is preparing a menu that leans more Korean. Now people can argue for authenticity, but Kim doesn’t want to hear it. Look for kalbi, rice cakes and chap chae in early April.
Address: St. Regis Chicago, 363 E. Wacker Drive, Lake Shore East
Key players: Hisanobu Osaka, salad entertains you companies
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises plans two restaurants inside the new luxury St. Regis Chicago, a $1 billion near Navy Pier. The first restaurant is a Japanese place called Miru, designed to handle the daily responsibilities of hotel guests. But instead of sending it in, LEYE has enlisted chef Hisanobu Osaka to create a restaurant that’s part izakaya, part sushi place, and one that serves a modern American breakfast. Maybe they will bring traditional Japanese breakfast offerings in the future. Look for a spring debut.
Address: 3310 N. Elston Avenue, Avondale
Key player: Barry Sorkin
Smoque Steak is the second concept from Smoque, one of Chicago’s best barbecue restaurants – regardless of the north or south side. Now they want to open a neighborhood steakhouse using sous vide and other techniques to make even lesser-known cuts of meat taste like butter. Smoque Steak owner Barry Sorkin says a spring debut is the plan.
Address: 3118 N. Rockwell Street, Avondale
Key players: Margaret Pak, Vinod Kalathil
Signs have gone up in Avondale for Thattu, the South Indian restaurant that’s creating buzz. Chef Margaret Pak draws on the recipes of her mother-in-law, who lives in Kerala, India. They have traveled a few times, exploring the country and looking for inspiration. They will initially open for lunch and build up to dinner. This is an independent venture that Pak and her husband Vinod Kalathil have been saving for years. They are known for beef curry and appam, a cake on toast. They would like to open at the end of March and are introducing a no tipping policy. Their prices will have the cost of service baked in. There is a ton of ambition in this restaurant so look for more coverage soon.