Cira. | Photo: Anthony M./Yelp

Food trends come and go. So how can you tell which tastes are trending at this very moment?

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to discover which eateries have been seeing especially high review volumes this month.

To find out who made the list, we looked at Chicago businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance.

Read on to see which spots are worth exploring, right now.


Photo: CIRA/Yelp

Open since February, this Mediterranean, Turkish, breakfast and brunch spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as “Breakfast & Brunch” on Yelp.

Citywide, breakfast and brunch spots saw a median 2.2 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, but Cira saw a 61.3 percent increase, with a slight downward trend from a 4.5-star rating a month ago to four stars today.

Located at 200 N. Green St. (between Jackson Boulevard and Adams Street) in West Town, Cira offers a Turkish-style breakfast plate with marinated goat cheese, cucumber salad, olives, sujuk and simit bread, as well as staples like avocado toast and biscuits and gravy.

The Happy Lobster

Photo: ALEX A./Yelp

Whether or not you’ve been hearing buzz about West Loop Gate’s The Happy Lobster, the food truck and seafood spot is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as “Seafood” on Yelp saw a median 2.9 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, The Happy Lobster bagged a 14.9 percent increase in new reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a healthy 4.5-star rating. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 6.0 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance.

Open at 131 N. Clinton St. (between Washington Boulevard and Randolph Street), The Happy Lobster offers soups and sandwiches made with fresh Maine lobster. Notable items include the Angry Lobster with hot giardiniera and spicy mayo, lobster grilled cheese on challah bread or the crab club.


Photo: Tim M./Yelp

Humboldt Park’s Lucy’s is also making waves. Open since April 2018 at 1043 N. California Ave. (between Thomas and Cortez streets), the traditional American spot has seen a 15.4 percent bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.7 percent for all businesses tagged “American (Traditional)” on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis Lucy’s’s review count increased by more than 200 percent.

There’s more than one hot spot trending in Chicago’s traditional American category: Lark has seen a 10.9 percent increase in reviews, and Veggie Grill has seen a 11.8 percent bump.

Lucy’s offers fried chicken, burgers, fries and milkshakes. Over the past month, it’s maintained a sound four-star rating among Yelpers.

Middle Brow Bungalow

Photo: Rocio C./Yelp

Palmer Square’s Middle Brow Bungalow is the city’s buzziest pizza spot by the numbers.

The beer bar, bakery and pizza spot, which opened at 2840 W. Armitage Ave. (between Francisco Avenue and Mozart Street) in January, increased its new review count by 18.9 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 2.1 percent for the Yelp category “Pizza.”

Middle Brow Bungalow offers brews, breads with jams and jellies and artisan pizzas like the sausage, margherita and vegan papas bravas.

Beatnik On The River

Photo: EDA X./Yelp

Open since March, this cocktail bar and New American spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as “American (New)” on Yelp.

Citywide, businesses tagged “American (New)” saw a median 2 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, but Beatnik On The River saw an 11.8 percent increase, maintaining a mixed 3.5-star rating throughout. It gained 6.0 times more reviews than expected based on past performance, significantly outperforming the previous month.

Located at 180 N. Upper Wacker Drive in the Loop, Beatnik On The River offers offers a new take on American fare with influences from Europe and Africa. Look for menu options like smoked baba ghanoush, shakshuka with a duck egg and curry meatballs.