Chicago might be a big city, but it doesn’t seem to bear the same transient qualities for restaurant professionals as some other metropolises that come to mind. Whether it’s the Midwest friendliness, unbeatable summers or the voraciously growing food and drink scene, the Second City is establishing itself as home base for a growing number of chefs and bartenders. It’s more evident than ever this fall, when we’ll see one local project after another under the willingly clipped wings of the city’s most prized talent. What’s more? Chicago at its best is beckoning an array of big names who are touching down in the Windy City for their very first venture. With offerings ranging from Irish-American tipples to tempura and fried chicken sandwiches to French onion dumplings, here’s what we’ve got to look forward to this fall:

Duck Duck Goat

Stephanie Izard has never been discreet about her love for goat — just take one look at Randolph Street, where Girl & the Goat and Little Goat Diner have been attracting guests since 2010 and 2012, respectively. That lineage continues with Duck Duck Goat, which will be opening its doors later this fall just two blocks north of its bustling counterparts. It’s here that Izard will be trying her hand at Chinese fare, a cuisine the chef has admired ever since childhood, when she and her mother took cracks at tempura and mu shu pancakes. Expect classics like hand-pulled noodles and dumplings, and forget about chopstick-accompanied delivery — a walk-up window will be ushering out to-go orders. 857 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607


Houston native Sarah Grueneberg knows a lot about climbing to the top, whether it was her finalist spot on Top Chef or her three-year move from line cook to executive chef at Spiaggia. It’s only natural, then, that her first restaurant, whose name translates to Green Mountain, is named for a landform that could evoke such a challenge (it’s also the German translation of her surname). Studio K’s homey finishes of butcher-block bar tops and painted cutting boards will greet diners, but it’s likely the modern interpretations of Italian dishes they’ll remember most, such as kale polpette with mozzarella and eggplant. 1020 W. Madison St., Chicago, IL 60607

Julia Momose, formerly of Chicago’s acclaimed cocktail spot the Aviary, is now head bartender at Green River. (Photo courtesy of Green River/Instagram.)

Green River

The New York and Chicago dining scenes collide at this forthcoming Streeterville spot, which will reflect the work of dynamic talent both near and far: Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon of NYC’s the Dead Rabbit; Julia Momose, formerly of the Aviary; chef Aaron Lirette, formerly of Acadia; and the team at Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events. The drinks menu will be categorized into eight sections, with each one representing those made with a certain raw material (think corn, juniper and barley). In keeping with the Dead Rabbit’s mission to honor Irish-American heritage, the team conducted extensive research in order to ink a story for each drink about a Chicagoan sharing such roots. 259 E. Erie St., Chicago, IL 60611;

Farm Bar

This farm-to-bar concept from executive chef Eric Mansavage maintains the same dedication to sourcing almost entirely from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin (dubbed the “four state footprint”) as its sister locations, Farmhouse Chicago and Farmhouse Evanston. A menu will feature Wisconsin cheese curds, burgers and salads, and what it doesn’t procure locally, the team plans to grow in the backyard garden. The Midwest region steers the drinks selection, as well, which is offered via 28 taps in total — four of which are for wine. 1300 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago, IL 60657


Heavy research and development, including focus groups with Northwestern students and an all-staff fried chicken cook-off, went into this Evanston opening from the same group behind DMK Burger Bar and DMK Fish Bar. The result is Arlen’s, a counter-service concept from James Beard–nominated chef Michael Kornick that specializes in fried chicken sandwiches on homemade biscuits, which are meant to be paired with complimentary sweet tea. And we’re not talking about just any fried chicken. Post cook-off, the team voted unanimously in favor of Britt Arlen’s poultry — a win that clearly landed him more than just a first-place title. 815 Noyes St., Evanston, IL 60201

Chef Mike Sheerin puts his own creative spin on traditional Asian dumplings. (Photo courtesy of Packed: Dumplings Reimagined.)

Packed: Dumplings Reimagined

After working at some of the country’s most lauded fine-dining venues, including Lutèce, Jean-Georges, WD-50 and Blackbird, chef Mike Sheerin is rolling up his sleeves to roll out something entirely different for his diners: dumplings. Rest assured, though, that Sheerin is still calling upon responsibly sourced ingredients and local farmers in order to produce a handful of creative spins on the Asian appetizer — think pastrami with pickled green tomato and violet mustard, French onion with sourdough and Gruyère and black sesame–wrapped broccoli with cheddar and popcorn ranch. 1321 E. 57th St., Chicago, IL 60637

Swift & Sons

Chris Pandel’s meat-heavy menu of dry-aged cote de boeuf, porterhouse and A5 Japanese wagyu makes the location of this steakhouse — the Meatpacking District — highly appropriate. Nineteenth century meatpacking mogul Gustavus Franklin Swift inspired the restaurant’s name and was also an influence on design firm Avroko, which took a close look at Swift’s industry and generation for the space’s design. The result, a cold storage facility turned restaurant with exposed concrete columns, is meant to provide a glimpse of what Swift’s headquarters might look like in the retro-future. We’re sure it’s something that even Google Maps, housed within the same building, couldn’t have dreamed up. 1000 W. Fulton St., Chicago, IL 60607

The Lunatic, the Lover & the Poet

Choices seem abundant at this to-be West Loop wine bar. That’s because three floors will offer varying environments to check out more than 200 wines by the bottle and 24 wines on tap, which can supply either three-, five- or 17-ounce pours. James Geier of 555 Design, the team responsible for the interiors of Nico Osteria, Balena and Perennial Virant, will be heading up the artistic elements of the cavernous space. And though each level might offer a different experience (to think, your pub-style seating is just stairs away), you can count on a “whimsical meets intellectual” vibe throughout, a priority for owner and sommelier Tom Powers. 736 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60661

El Che Bar

Travels through Buenos Aires motivated chef John Manion to debut this Argentine restaurant, a meat-focused departure from his surf-centric menu just a few blocks away at La Sirena Clandestina. As such, every dish touches the fire of a custom open grill, from flanken-style short ribs with chimichurri or yerba mate béarnaise to Rushing Waters trout. The Southern hemisphere gets equal play behind the bar, where beverage director Anthony Mitchell will be pouring Latin spirits and brews. 845 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago, IL 60607;