Food trends come and go. So how can you tell which tastes are trending today?
We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to uncover which local businesses have been in the spotlight 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 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 extra hot, right now.
Whispers At Oak Street Beach
Open since August, this lounge and Mediterranean and New American spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "American (New)" on Yelp.
Citywide, New American spots saw a median 1.4% increase in new reviews over the past month, but Whispers At Oak Street Beach saw a notable 200% increase, maintaining a mixed 3.5-star rating throughout.
Located at 1001 N. Lake Shore Drive in the Gold Coast, Whispers At Oak Street Beach offers flatbread pizza, kabobs, burgers and more.
Whispers At Oak Street Beach is open from 11 a.m.–11 p.m. daily.
Giglio's State Street Tavern
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Giglio's State Street Tavern, the sports bar and Italian spot, which offers sandwiches and more, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "Italian" on Yelp saw a median 1.4% increase in new reviews over the past month, Giglio's State Street Tavern bagged a 92.3% increase in new reviews within that time frame, maintaining a superior four-star rating. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 6.0 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance.
There's more that's trending on Chicago's Italian scene: Tortello has seen a 44.9% increase in reviews.
Open at 825 S. State St. (between Polk and Ninth streets), Giglio's State Street Tavern offers veal, pork, chicken, pasta, pizza and more.
Giglio's State Street Tavern is open from 4 p.m.–11 p.m. on Monday-Wednesday, 1 p.m.–11 p.m. on Thursday, noon–midnight on Friday, noon–1 a.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.–11 p.m. on Sunday.
Pinched on the River
Streeterville's Pinched on the River is also making waves. Open since August at 443 E. Illinois St., the bar and Mediterranean spot has seen a notable 125% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.5% for all businesses tagged "Bars" on Yelp.
Pinched on the River offers pita rolls, salad bowls and rice bowls with a choice of chicken shawarma, beef, marinated chicken or falafel. Over the past month, it's seen its Yelp rating tick down from five stars to 4.5 stars.
Pinched on the River is open from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on Sunday.
Pilot Project Brewing
Palmer Square's Pilot Project Brewing is the city's buzziest coffee and tea spot by the numbers.
The brewery, which offers coffee, tea and more and opened at 2140 N. Milwaukee Ave. (between Francis Place and Maplewood Avenue) in August, increased its new review count by a remarkable 188.9% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 3.4% for the Yelp category "Coffee & Tea."
It's not the only trending outlier in the coffee and tea category: Dunkin' has seen a 130% increase in reviews.
Pilot Project Brewing offers kambucha, tea, espresso, waffles, cheese boards and more.
Pilot Project Brewing is open from 7 a.m.–10 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.–midnight on Friday, 8 a.m.–midnight on Saturday and 8 a.m.–9 p.m. on Sunday.
West Town's Molly’s Cupcakes is currently on the upswing in the dessert category on Yelp.
While businesses categorized as "Desserts" on Yelp saw a median 1.8% increase in new reviews over the past month, this bakery, which offers desserts, cupcakes and more, increased its new reviews by 100% — and kept its rating consistent at five stars. Review counts increased by more than 180% on a month-to-month basis.
Open for business at 179 Morgan St. (between Lake and Randolph streets) since July, Molly’s Cupcakes offers cupcake flavors from chocolate and banana to carrot and red velvet..
Molly’s Cupcakes is open from 8 a.m.–10 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.–midnight on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.–8 p.m. on Sunday.