Summer is over. We’re OK with that, because there’s so much to look forward to as far as fall restaurant openings in Chicago go. We’re not even in the thick of the season, and several stunners have already debuted that are certain to grab your attention. So don’t spend this weekend worrying about every falling leaf and chilly breeze off the lake. Pull on your favorite sweater, grab a friend or loved one, and explore the best of what’s new.
Set the Mood
In Wicker Park, Bordel (1721 W. Division St., 773-227-8600) aims to seduce you and your significant other with its bordello vibe (crushed-velvet curtains, distressed wood floors, naughty wallpaper designs) and eclectic entertainment. Located upstairs from Black Bull, this cabaret-style venue incorporates live music with craft cocktails that are seasonal and sometimes served as punches–a very 19th Century touch. Just think about it: You’ll get to indulge in classic drinks while taking in performances of local jazz musicians, flamenco dancers, burlesque entertainers, and a rotating group of eccentric musical curators. This place has date night written all over it.
We were sold on Cemitas Puebla ever since a couple of summers ago, when a random guest brought bagsful of their famous al pastor tacos to a house party. Now that the family-owned biz has opened its first outpost in the West Loop (817 W. Fulton Market), we couldn’t be happier. Cemitas Puebla Fulton Market serves up the same menu as the Humboldt Park original–and there are rumors that there will also be margaritas on tap. Muy muy bueno!
Change it Up
Currency Exchange Cafe (305 E. Garfield Blvd., 773-855-9163) opened under everyone’s radar a few months ago on the South Side, but it’s just now getting a bit of recognition due to a few recent prominent events. Formerly a currency exchange, the restaurant has reclaimed some of its original signage to add to its charm. Cafe “CEX” is only open until 7pm, so it’s mainly a lunch spot, but a late lunch is an early dinner, right? Expect a bunch of home-style, vegetarian-focused dishes, plus a fried-chicken biscuit sandwich and crispy fried smelts. Mmmm, smelts.
Late-night pizza cravers now have a new option in the West Loop with the arrival of Parlor Pizza Bar (108 N. Green St., 312-600-6090). It’s owned by the same guys behind popular summer patio bar Cedar Hotel, so expect this to be the spot to hibernate this fall. Look for items such as classic wood-fire margherita pizzas, caprese sliders, and “crazy bread” made of beer bread topped with garlic, mozzarella, shallot, scallion cream, parmesan cheese, pepperoni and cheery tomatoes. More like crazy-good bread.
University of Chicago types must be thrilled to finally have oodles of noodles in their ‘hood with the arrival of Yusho Hyde Park (1301 E. 53rd St., 773-288-1010). An offshot of the Avondale/Logan Square original, you’ll find the exact same menu, including highly popular dishes like the Logan Poser ramen, twice fried chicken, and grilled oysters. Autumn’s here. Slurp and smile.