With new restaurants opening seemingly every day, how are you supposed to keep track of them all? We’ve rounded up some of the most notable Chicago openings of the past few months so you can better focus your dining energies.
We know what you’re thinking—another bakery? The latest addition to the sweet scene is New York’s Magnolia Bakery, whose cupcakes were made famous by Sex and the City. Magnolia Bakery doesn’t just serve sugary mini-cakes though. You’ll find classic cakes, banana pudding, pies, cheesecake, cookies, and more. Head in for breakfast and start your day with coffee cake or a selection of seasonal muffins.
For a fast-casual meal with friends, Vapiano in Lincoln Park is an easy option. The first Chicago outpost of a European chain, Vapiano offers Italian-inspired dishes like pasta, pizza, sandwiches, and salads. Food is made fresh to order, and the pay-before-you-eat system means no awkward check splitting moments. Pair your meal with wine, beer, or a cocktail.
The Southern Mac & Cheese
If you’ve tried the creative combos of macaroni and cheese served from the Southern Mac & Cheese Truck, then you know what a treat it is to finally get the meal from a brick and mortar store. Each day you can choose one of 12 mac and cheese options, like bacon, blue cheese, and mushroom; sun-dried tomato with smoked Gouda and caramelized onions; or hot dogs and American cheese. Get a side salad to add a little green to your meal and finish with desserts made by Bake.
If you’ve read The Divine Comedy, you can probably spot references to Dante’s iconic work in books, movies, music, and more. But a restaurant? This new pizza spot serves up 20-inch pies, and each of the specialty pizzas are named after characters from The Divine Comedy. For example, The Beatrice is topped with garlic sauce and mushrooms. Get individual slices of cheese, sausage, and pepperoni, or skip pizza and get wings, grinders, or salads.
Tony Hu’s latest Chinatown eatery serves up spicy Hunan dishes. Hu’s restaurants mostly focus on regional areas of China, so for the Hunan region, look for chili pig ear, stir fried pork with dried bean curd, duck cooked in beer sauce, and much more. Most dishes can be modified to be non-spicy, so sensitive types don’t have to worry about finding something to eat.