Want the intel on Chicago’s most happening local spots?

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to uncover which restaurants have been on the tips of diners’ tongues this month.

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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 have the momentum heading into back-to-school season.

The Whale Chicago

Photo: The Whale Chicago/Yelp

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

Citywide, New American spots saw a median 2.4% increase in new reviews over the past month, but The Whale Chicago saw a massive 206.2% increase, maintaining a solid 4.5-star rating throughout.

It’s not the only trending outlier in the New American category: Flora Fauna has seen a 50% increase in reviews, and The Smith and VU Rooftop Bar have seen 31.3 and 25.9% increases, respectively.

Located at 2427 N. Milwaukee Ave. (between Richmond Street and Fullerton Avenue) in Logan Square, The Whale Chicago offers tempura rock shrimp, lobster tacos and chicken wings.

The Whale Chicago is open from 5 p.m.–2 a.m. on Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.–2 a.m. on Friday, 10 a.m.–3 a.m. on Saturday and 9:30 a.m.–2 a.m. on Sunday.


Photo: Grant A./Yelp

Whether or not you’ve been hearing buzz about the Near North’s Wahlburgers, the traditional American spot, which offers burgers and more, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as “American (Traditional)” on Yelp saw a median 1.9% increase in new reviews over the past month, Wahlburgers bagged a 25.4% increase in new reviews within that time frame, maintaining a 2.5-star rating.

Open at 2 E. Ontario St. (between Wabash Avenue and State Street) since April, Wahlburgers offers sandwiches, chili and salads.

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Wahlburgers is open from 11 a.m.–11 p.m. on Monday-Thursday and Sunday and 11 a.m.–midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Fatpour Tap Works

Photo: Fatpour Tap Works/Yelp

Fatpour Tap Works is also making waves. Open since December 2018 at 2206 S. Indiana Ave. (between 23rd Street and Cermak Road), the bar and breakfast and brunch spot, which offers pizza and more, has seen an 18.3% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 2% for all businesses tagged “Breakfast & Brunch” on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis, Fatpour Tap Works’s review count increased by more than 190%.

Fatpour Tap Works offers tacos, salads and sandwiches. Over the past month, it’s seen its Yelp rating tick down from four stars to 3.5 stars.

Fatpour Tap Works is open from 11 a.m.–2 a.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m.–3 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.–2 a.m. on Sunday.

Pizzeria Aroma

Photo: Jimmy J./Yelp

Lakewood – Balmoral’s Pizzeria Aroma is the city’s buzziest Italian spot by the numbers.

The popular Italian spot, which offers pizza and more and opened at 5350 N. Broadway since September 2005, increased its new review count by 8.3% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1.5% for the Yelp category “Italian.” It outperformed the previous month by gaining 22.0 times more reviews than expected based on past performance.

Pizzeria Aroma offers pasta, ribs and calzones.

Pizzeria Aroma is open from 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.–11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon–10:30 p.m. on Sunday.


Photo: Tim M./Yelp

Logan Square’s Landbirds is currently on the upswing in the Asian fusion category on Yelp.

While businesses categorized as “Asian Fusion” on Yelp saw a median 2.2% increase in new reviews over the past month, this Asian fusion spot, which offers chicken wings and more, increased its new reviews by 14.6% — and kept its rating consistent at 4.5 stars.

Open for business at 2532 N. California Ave. (between Logan Boulevard and Altgeld Street) since November 2018, Landbirds offers Korean fried chicken, rice and more.

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Landbirds is open from noon–9 p.m. on Tuesday-Saturday and noon–7 p.m. on Sunday. (It’s closed on Monday.)