Fall Preview 2013: 9 Major Restaurant And Bar Openings In Chicago

For enthusiastic eaters and drinkers, there has never been a better time to live in or visit Chicago. And the scene keeps getting more impressive. Scheduled to open this fall or winter, here are some of the places that we're looking forward to trying:


Matthias Merges (Yusho, Billy Sunday) is focusing a good deal attention on Hyde Park, the culturally vibrant neighborhood that, unfortunately, is a restaurant and nightlife desert. Named for the motorway that runs from northern Italy into southern France, A10 is based on culinary experiences Merges and chef John Vermiglio have had over the years in that part of Europe. Expect a wood-fired oven, breads, handmade pastas, charcuterie, and an emphasis on canned, potted and pickled products. And like his other establishments, the price point will make it accessible to most. Opens mid-October. 1301 East 53rd St.


Henry Prendergast (Violet Hour) and Robert F. Haynes III, also of the Violet Hour (and the man responsible for Letherbee's R. Franklin's Original Recipe Malört), recently announced that they will open Analogue in October. Far from the preciousness of their former employer, Analogue takes inspiration from the "punk rock, queer, dark, dirty, discos and dive bars of '70s and '80s Chicago." The three-pronged bar program will feature a changing menu of current bartender obsessions, shots based on classic cocktails and purls — strong bitter mixtures served over ice with a few ounces of beer poured over. Prendergast claims these will "knock you on your ass." Opening in October. 2523 North Milwaukee Avenue


The prolific, and slightly mysterious, Brendan Sodikoff (Gilt Bar, Au Cheval, Bavette's, Dillman's, Doughnut Vault, Maude's Liquor Bar, etc, etc, etc.) recently purchased the legendary Maxim's at auction. He promises to lovingly restore the long-closed space to the glamorous standards of its Mad Men-era heyday. The food, Sodikoff says, will be a "classic vintage Maxim's menu with today's [higher] food standards." Set to open early in 2014. 24 East Goethe Street, hogsalt.com


The latest feather in the hat of chef Paul Kahan and Donnie Madia, Nico will open this December in the hotly anticipated Thompson Chicago. This will be Kahan's first hotel restaurant and also his first Italian offering, with chef Erling Wu-Bower (Publican, PQM, avec) at its helm. No, Chicago is not at a loss with Italian cuisine these days, but Nico will concentrate on fresh fish and seafood, something that, with a couple of notable exceptions, isn't seen much in this town's Italian restaurants. The atmosphere aims to be rustic and elegant. Thompson Chicago, 1015 North Rush Street, thompsonhotels.com/hotels/chicago/

River Valley Kitchens and Market

Fans of this Chicago's farmers market stall will now have a place to go in the winter for a wide variety of fresh mushrooms, as well as pickles, sauces, pastas, veggie burgers and other top-of-the-line vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free foods. The combination café and shop will offer a wider variety of sustainable fresh and packaged goods and a bigger menu of snacks and meals, including the wonderful mushroom tamales that RVK is known for. River Valley Kitchens and Market will be opening in November in the former City Provisions space. 1818 West Wilson Street, rivervalleykitchens.com

RPM Steak

The younger sister to the 18-month-old RPM Italian, RPM steak will open this winter. It promises to offer amazing cocktail and aperitifs by esteemed mixologist Paul McGee (Three Dots and a Dash, Paris Club) in a stylish and modern environment. The menu, by Doug Psaltis (Bub City, Paris Club, Hub 51), will focus on top-of-the-line aged meats, as well as an extensive raw bar with an always-changing selection of oysters and tartares. 60 West Kinzie Street, leye.com

Tippling Hall

The Tippling Brothers and chef Ryan Poli (Tavernita, Little Market Brasserie) will be opening this sprawling classic beer hall in October or November. It will feature a turn-of-the-century inspired bar, communal tables and benches, and a constantly changing menu of global comfort food. Bucking the trend toward exclusive speakeasies and gastropubs, Tippling Hall aims to be stripped down, welcoming and grand. 646 North Franklin Street, tipplinghall.com

Yusho Hyde Park

The second Matthias Merges offering will be about a block away from the soon-t0-open A10. Yusho Hyde Park is an expansion of the popular Logan Square restaurant featuring dishes inspired by yakitori, Japanese street food. It aims to be a racier version of the original, with a lovely patio and take-out component, as well. 1466 East 53rd Street, yusho-chicago.com

Thalia Hall

Pilson is now home to this multi-faceted food, drink (and rock) venue brought to you by Bruce Finkelman (of Beauty Bar, Bite, Empty Bottle, Longman & Eagle). Within the hall will be a restaurant — Dusek's Board & Beercorner — that promises a neighborhood beer tavern vibe, but with elevated food like Vietnamese clay pot fish. A punch-specific bar (serving by the glass, carafe and bowl) is planned for the basement. 1807 S Allport Street

Read more fall restaurant previews on Food Republic: