Interested in exploring the newest food and drink establishments in the Loop? From a modern cafe to a colorful bar, read on for a rundown of the newest spots to open their doors in this part of Chicago.
224 N. Michigan Ave.
Free Rein is a New American spot headed by chef Aaron Lirette, who earned a Michelin star for his work at GreenRiver, and pastry chef Evan Sheridan, per The Chicago Tribune. This restaurant is housed in the St. Jane Chicago hotel.
The restaurant offers rotating and seasonal cuisine, including beef tartare; oysters on the half shell; a soft-shell crab BLT; saffron spaghetti with crab, tomato and sea urchin sauce; and a whole roasted chicken with marble potatoes, roasted garlic jus and frisée salad. Take a look at the menu here.
Free Rein is off to a strong start with 4.5 stars out of eight reviews on Yelp.
Yelper Tyan S., who reviewed it on July 7, wrote, “Had a fabulous evening at Free Rein. Decor, service, cocktails and food: all top notch. Great wine list with a range of price points. Loved the seafood selection, amazing.”
Free Rein is open from 6:30 a.m.–10 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 6:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 6:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. on Sunday.
205 W. Wacker Drive
A new quick-service cafe with a focus on seasonal, local ingredients, Fare is located at the Wells Street Market.
Notable menu options include the breakfast egg bowl with greens and miso sweet potatoes; beef bone broth with dried mushrooms, juniper and Sichuan peppercorns; and a green smoothie with kale, avocado, banana, pineapple and ginger. Or customize a healthful bowl with a base of greens or grains, side options like heirloom tomatoes and roasted summer squash and proteins such as sustainably sourced salmon, turkey meatballs and veggie patties. Check out the menu here.
Yelpers are excited about Fare, which currently holds 4.5 stars out of 16 reviews on the site.
Yelper Daniel C., who reviewed the eatery on July 7, wrote, “I got the Ancient Grains Bowl with chicken, carrots, corn and heirloom tomatoes. Each veggie was unbelievably flavorful and came with a unique seasoning/twist to it.”
Fare is open from 11 a.m.–7 p.m. on weekdays. (It’s closed on weekends.)
Dos Toros Taqueria
300 S. Wacker Drive
Another addition to the Wells Street Market, Dos Toros Taqueria is a New York-based chain that now has three outposts in Chicago.
The casual spot features customizable bowls, quesadillas, burritos and taco plates. Options include chicken, carnitas, carne asada and seasonal vegetables. Add in some chips and guacamole and grab a soda or beer to wash it all down. Dos Toros Taqueria also has gluten-free and vegan options. Take a look at the full menu here.
With a 3.5-star rating out of 23 reviews on Yelp, Dos Toros Taqueria is still finding its way, but it’s early days.
Yelper Mark B., who reviewed it on July 7, wrote, “We had lunch with a co-worker at Dos Toros Taqueria and we all enjoyed our meals. We arrived in the midst of the lunch rush but the line moved rather quickly.”
Jane V. noted, “They have a swift and very efficient assembly line that completes your order in no time at all. At this location, sit close to the windows if you can, the view of the Chicago River is spectacular!”
Dos Toros Taqueria is open from 11 a.m.–7 p.m. on weekdays. (It’s closed on weekends.)
221 N. Clark St.
Chelsea Room is a bar named after the New York City neighborhood that was a mecca of the art world in the 1970s-80s. In homage to that art scene, Chelsea Room offers vibrant colors, floor-to-ceiling artwork and leather seating. This space can be rented for private parties and can accommodate up to 75 people.
According to Eater Chicago, the bar’s drink menu includes 11 draft beers, wine and cocktails like the El Coco (chocolate whiskey, cinnamon simple syrup, Aztec chocolate bitters, marshmallow melt) and the Chelsea (rosemary-infused vodka, citrus and creme de violette, topped with champagne).
Chelsea Room has made a positive impression thus far with a current Yelp rating of 4.5 stars out of three reviews.
Yelper Tavi J. wrote, “What stood out to me most at Chelsea room was the decor! The bar area looks super sexy, the wall with Marilyn Monroe is definitely a picture spot, and the booth I was sitting in with all the photographs was cool to look at.”
Robea P. noted, “I really enjoyed the ambiance of this place. Very relaxed, nice music and the art is great!”
Chelsea Room is open from 6 p.m.–2 a.m. on Wednesday-Saturday. (It’s closed on Monday, Tuesday and Sunday.)
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