New Chicago restaurants that opened this summer


2200 Clark Street North
The team of wife and husband Katrina Bravo and Jenner Tomaska ​​opened Esmé in mid-August. Bravo did marketing at Alinea Group and Tomaska ​​was chef at Next, Michelin starred. Esmé delves into the gastronomic background of the duo, with tasting menus rotating according to the seasons. They also aim to add a touch of art and philanthropy: Esmé plans to organize collaborative dinners with artists, with part of the profits going to their projects or causes. The art on the walls is also on consignment, says Tomaska. The wine list also features many minority and female producers. Esme’s 15- to 16-course tasting menu costs $ 185 on weeknights and $ 200 on weekends. Reservations can be made through Resy. The 16-seat bar will soon be open to visitors.

Gioia Ristorante e Pastificio
1133 W. Randolph St.
The West Loop Italian restaurant opened at the end of June and offers more than half a dozen types of homemade pasta daily. Chef and partner Federico Comacchio, originally from Italy, previously worked at 437 Rush and Coco Pazzo. The bar opens daily at 4:00 p.m., with dinner service starting an hour later.

2200 N. California Ave.
The meats served at this Logan Square salumeria are dried on site, sometimes waiting months to be ready to serve. “We make everything on site so you can enjoy it within our walls at our tables,” says owner Steve Lewis. “There is so much time and patience put into it.” Executive Chef Chris Thompson focuses on using the whole animal: the bones are turned into broth, the skin into chicharrones. Jams, pickles, mustards and other fixings are also made on site, while the cheese comes from creameries. The restaurant – named after the “creamy little pork treat” – opened in mid-July and is Meadowlark Hospitality’s first project, Lewis says. Look for two additional outlets, to come.

Fishbar lure
616 N. Rush St.
The upscale seafood restaurant arrives in Chicago via New York City, where the original Lure is located. The local outpost of the 21c Museum Hotel Chicago building was slated to open in spring 2020, but waited until restrictions were lifted to ensure Lure’s opening caused a stir.

The exchange
224 S. Michigan Ave.
The latest project from the folks behind DMK Burger Bar and Ada Street is located in Daniel Burnham’s Railway Exchange Building on Michigan Avenue (the one with the Motorola sign). Eventually, the Stock Exchange will have several restaurants, including a bar called Theo’s. A skylight-filled dining room called the Atrium will be the main draw, says chef Brian Huston. The Listening Room, a 40-seat dining room with a sound system for audiophiles and modeled on listening rooms in Japan, opened at the end of June.

738 N. Wells St.
The River North Pasta Bar opened in May with dishes inspired by the travels of chef and owner Bill Varley and his wife through Italy. Torchio means ‘press’ in Italian, and the name was inspired by a vintage hand cranked pasta press. True to its name, the pasta served at Torchio is homemade.


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