Summer still has a few openings up its sleeve (c'mon, Jeni's Ice Cream).
But fall promises to be mighty exciting, so we're looking ahead: to Paul Kahan's seafood restaurant and Brendan Sodikoff's barbecue joint; to cocktail havens and Bavarian beer halls; to a new brewery, a new distillery and more.
Honey Butter Fried Chicken, opening in mid-September, is no one-trick pony. In addition to fried chicken, "our goal is to have the best, freshest and prettiest vegetable sides," says co-owner Christine Cikowski of dishes like summer beans with spicy tomato relish, and roasted sweet potato with cilantro-lime vinaigrette.
"Very Texas-style, rough and rustic, with picnic tables, string lights, a big bar and rusted walls," is how Brendan Sodikoff describes Green Street Smoked Meats, the barbecue restaurant he's opening in October (Green St. just south of Randolph St.). An adjacent, unnamed ramen bar will seat 15 to 20 people and serve a bare-bones menu of miso ramen, vegetarian ramen, "one giant can of beer, a couple of whiskeys and water--that's it," says Sodikoff... Matthias Merges plans to open A10 in Hyde Park on October 9th. The menu is inspired by his travels to Northern Italy and Southern France; Yusho and Billy Sunday vet John Vermiglio will run the kitchen. Also coming to Hyde Park: The Promontory, a restaurant and concert space from chef Jared Wentworth and the owners of Longman & Eagle.
Paul Kahan and One Off Hospitality's seafood-centric restaurant, Nico, has a November 25th opening date and a Publican and Avec veteran, Erling Wu-Bower, in the kitchen. It's housed in the Thompson Hotel (opening October 1st), which will feature a Kahan-designed room-service program available later in the fall... Evanston will get sweeter (and more caffeinated) when a joint project from Dollop Coffee Company and Hoosier Mama Pie Company opens in October.
Business is booming in Logan Square: You'll find aged beers and rustic Bavarian cuisine made with local meats at beer hall The Radler. D.A.S. will share The Radler's kitchen space and push Bavarian boundaries with a creative (and unpublished) tasting menu with beer pairings... Griddled burgers will be the stars at Parts & Labor, located a mile up Milwaukee Ave. from its sister restaurant, The Boiler Room.
Tête Charcuterie--the meaty brainchild of two chefs with impressive resumes (Courtright's and Jean-Georges and Corton in NYC)--will open on Randolph St. in November... Chef Rene De Leon, formerly of Next, will run the kitchen at The Dawson, a creative, casual American restaurant from owner Billy Lawless of The Gage and Henri.
The Barrelhouse Flat team has joined forces with Heisler Hospitality for Lone Wolf, a Randolph Row watering hole promising creative cocktails and an early fall opening... Graduates of The Violet Hour are behind Logan Square's Analogue, which will house a traditional cocktail list, a petite menu (small plates, sandwiches and three entrees), a dance floor and what the founders call: "less precious interpretations of the cocktail."
The owner of The Boiler Room is also developing Prindiville, a speakeasy-style drinking boîte in Logan Square... The fall's largest booze-centric opening is the Mercadito Group's Tippling Hall, a sprawling River North restaurant with globally inspired comfort food from Ryan Poli and cocktails from the Tippling Brothers.
Lovers of all things Italian will reach nirvana at Eataly, the Italian gastro-superstore set to open in Streeterville in mid-November... River Valley, a well-known Wisconsin mushroom farm and producer, will open River Valley Kitchen & Market in Ravenswood (in the former City Provisions space) in mid-November... Bill Kim is developing hoisin sauce (launching early fall) to accompany his line of Belly sauces.
In late-September, Seattle-based liqueur company BroVo Spirits will launch four amaros made with local bartenders (including Mike Ryan of Sable and Stephen Cole of The Barrelhouse Flat), coinciding with Craft Spirits Week... Rare Botanical Bitters Co., a collaboration between Adam Seger (Hum Spirits) and Rodrick Markus (Rare Tea Cellar), is finalizing licensing and will launch two bitters (infused with truffles and jamón) this fall... Koval Distillery is working on its first gin, which is primed for a December launch.
Former Goose Island brewer Jared Rouben will launch Moody Tongue Brewing Co. in Pilsen this fall. Rouben's focus is culinary beers brewed with ingredients like tea, coffee and brandied fruit... Chicago Distilling Company hopes to debut its spirits--distilled in Logan Square from organic, Illinois-grown grains--in October.