Flora Fauna. | Photo: Hanlu D./Yelp

Want the scoop on Chicago’s buzziest local spots?

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We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to uncover which eateries have been getting an outsized notice 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 a 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 sizzling hot, right now.


Photo: Lips/Yelp

Open since August, this bar and traditional American and cabaret spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as “American (Traditional)” on Yelp.

Citywide, traditional American spots saw a median 1.3% increase in new reviews over the past month, but Lips saw a remarkable 257.1% increase, with a slight downward trend from a 4.5-star rating a month ago to four stars today.

It’s not the only trending outlier in the traditional American category: Claremont Diner has seen a 25.6% increase in reviews, and Wahlburgers and Pancake Cafe have seen 12.6 and 12% increases, respectively.

Located at 2229 S. Michigan Ave. (between Cermak Road and 23rd Street), Lips offers drag shows and dining, with menu items like lobster ravioli and crab cakes.

Lips is open from 7–11 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, 6 p.m.–midnight on Friday, 6 p.m.–2 a.m. on Saturday and noon–11 p.m. on Sunday. (It’s closed on Monday and Tuesday.)

Flora Fauna

Photo: Roberto R./Yelp

Whether or not you’ve been hearing buzz about the Near North’s Flora Fauna, the cocktail bar and New American and Filipino spot is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as “American (New)” on Yelp saw a median 1.4% increase in new reviews over the past month, Flora Fauna bagged a 29.4% increase in new reviews within that time frame, maintaining a solid four-star rating.

There’s more that’s trending on Chicago’s New American scene: The Smith has seen a 19.4% increase in reviews, and The Hampton Social and Kubo Chicago have seen 12.8 and 10.7% increases, respectively.

Open at 11 W. Illinois since June, Flora Fauna offers braised jackfruit, seared octopus and lamb tartare.

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Flora Fauna is open from 4 p.m.–midnight on Monday-Thursday and 4 p.m.–1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. (It’s closed on Sunday.)

Figo Wine Bar

Photo: Dustin M./Yelp

Lakeview’s Figo Wine Bar is also making waves. Open since September 2018 at 3207 N. Sheffield Ave. (between School Street and Belmont Avenue), the wine bar and Italian spot, which offers tapas and more, has seen a 20.5% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.3% for all businesses tagged “Italian” on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis Figo Wine Bar’s review count increased by more than 170%.

There’s more than one hot spot trending in Chicago’s Italian category: Aurelio’s Pizza has seen a 15.7% increase in reviews.

Figo Wine Bar offers pesto gnocchi, dates and flatbread. Over the past month, it’s seen its Yelp rating tick down from 4.5 stars to four stars.

Figo Wine Bar is open from 5–11 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.–12:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and 4–10 p.m. on Sunday.

Fatpour Tap Works

Photo: Fatpour Tap Works/Yelp

Fatpour Tap Works is the city’s buzziest breakfast and brunch spot by the numbers.

The bar and breakfast and brunch spot, which offers pizza and more and opened at 2206 S. Indiana Ave. (between 23rd Street and Cermak Road) in December 2018, increased its new review count by 11.8% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1.5% for the Yelp category “Breakfast & Brunch.”

Fatpour Tap Works offers french toast, bacon meatballs and orange chicken.

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.

JoJo’s Milk Bar

Photo: Brenette A./Yelp

The Near North’s popular JoJo’s Milk Bar is currently on the upswing in the bar category on Yelp.

While businesses categorized as “Bars” on Yelp saw a median 1.3% increase in new reviews over the past month, this diner and bar, which offers desserts and more, increased its new reviews by 13.8% — with its Yelp rating improving from three stars to 3.5 stars.

Open for business at 23 W. Hubbard St. since February, JoJo’s Milk Bar offers fries, cookies and milkshakes.

JoJo’s Milk Bar is open from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.–midnight on Thursday, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. on Friday, 10 a.m.–2 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.–10 p.m. on Sunday.

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