Photo: 80 Proof/Yelp

Want the inside word on Chicago’s buzziest local spots?

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We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to discover which restaurants have been in the limelight 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 extra hot this summer.

80 Proof

Photo: 80 Proof/Yelp

Open since June 2018, this bar and New American spot is trending, compared to other businesses categorized as “American (New)” on Yelp.

Citywide, New American spots saw a median 2.3% increase in new reviews over the past month, but 80 Proof saw a 13% increase, maintaining a sound four-star rating throughout. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis, 80 Proof’s review count increased by more than 250%.

It’s not the only trending outlier in the New American category: Hampton Socialhas seen a 21.1% increase in reviews, and Parson’s Chicken & Fish and Bellwether Meeting House & Eatery have seen 22.2% and 3.4% increases, respectively.

Located at 1500 N. Wells St. (between Burton Place and North Avenue) in Old Town, 80 Proof offers truffle fries, tacos and sandwiches. Complement your meal with a Loose Goose, featuring Grey Goose, blackberries, lemon, agave and sparkling water.

Iron Age Korean Steakhouse

  PHOTO: jessica M./YELP  

Whether or not you’ve been hearing buzz about Wicker Park’s Iron Age Korean Steakhouse, the bar and Korean spot, which offers barbecue and more, is a hot topic, according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as “Barbeque” on Yelp saw a median 2% increase in new reviews over the past month, Iron Age Korean Steakhouse bagged a 10.6% increase in new reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a solid four-star rating.

There’s more that’s trending on Chicago’s barbecue scene: Smoke Daddy has seen a 9.1%  increase in reviews.

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Open at 1265 N. Milwaukee Ave. (between Ashland Avenue and Paulina Street) since January 2019, Iron Age Korean Steakhouse offers barbecue chicken, pork and beef options.

Crazy Bird

   PHOTO: tim M./YELP    

West Town’s Crazy Bird is also making waves. Open since October 2014 at 1160 W. Grand Ave., the traditional American spot, which offers chicken wings and more, has seen a 23.8% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 2% for all businesses tagged “American (Traditional)” on Yelp.

There’s more than one hot spot trending in Chicago’s traditional American category: No Bones Beach Club has seen a 17.3% increase in reviews, and Odyssey Lake Michigan has seen a 5.8 % bump.

Grab a salad or sandwich, in addition to wings. Over the past month, Crazy Bird’s Yelp ratings improved from four stars to 4.5 stars.

The Chicago House of Za Vegan Pizzeria

Photo: Antonisha J./Yelp

North Center’s The Chicago House of Za Vegan Pizzeria is the city’s buzziest pizza spot by the numbers.

The vegan spot, which offers pizza and more and opened at 1939 W. Byron (between Lincoln and Damen avenues) in December 2018, increased its new review count by 20.3% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 2.2% for the Yelp category “Pizza.” It outperformed the previous month by gaining 1.7 times more reviews than expected, based on past performance.

It’s not the only trending outlier in the pizza category: Parlor Pizza Bar has seen a 22.2% increase in reviews.

The Chicago House of Za Vegan Pizzeria offers faux meat and vegetable toppings on its pizza.


Photo: Kristen M./Yelp

Open since April 2019, this well-established Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and vegetarian spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as “Mediterranean” on Yelp.

Citywide, businesses tagged “Mediterranean” saw a median 2.2% increase in new reviews over the past month, but Galit saw a 25.9% increase, maintaining a solid four-star rating throughout.

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Located at 2429 N. Lincoln Ave. (between Montana Street and Fullerton Avenue) in Wrightwood Neighbors, Galit offers hummus, falafel and roasted vegetables. Themenu offers a variety of cocktails, too, including The Flowering Fox, made with mezcal, vodka, hibiscus, honey, rose and sumac.