Want the scoop on Chicago's most talked-about local spots?
We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to deduce which local businesses have been on the tips of diners' tongues 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 have the momentum heading into the end of the year.
Lou Malnati's Pizzeria
Open since October, this pizza spot, a member of the famous chain, is trending, compared to other businesses categorized as "Pizza" on Yelp.
Citywide, pizza spots saw a median 1.9% increase in new reviews over the past month. Lou Malnati's Pizzeria only recently appeared on Yelp, but while many new businesses get reviews slowly, it has seen a surge.
Located at 410 N. Michigan Ave. in the Near North, the pizzeria offers deep-dish pizza, thin-crust pizza, pasta, salads and more.
The business is open from 10:30 a.m.–11 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and 10:30 a.m.–midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Albany Park's Bokeh, the cocktail bar is a hot topic, according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "Cocktail Bars" on Yelp saw a median 2.2% increase in new reviews over the past month, Bokeh appeared on Yelp relatively recently. Many new businesses struggle to gain reviews, but it has seen a surge of interest.
Open at 4716 N. Kedzie Ave. (between Leland and Lawrence avenues) since October, Bokeh offers beer, wine and small plates. On the menu, look for the deviled eggs, hot chicken with grilled polenta and house beef jerky.
The business is open from 4 p.m.–2 a.m. daily.
Cragin's Hangry's is also making waves. Open since 2018 at 5000 W. Fullerton (between Lavergne and Leclaire avenues), the chicken shop and traditional American spot, which offers salads and more, has seen a 45% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.3% for all businesses tagged "American (Traditional)" on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis, its review count increased by more than 260%.
For an overview of the business, we looked to the history section of its Yelp page. Here's what we found: "Hangry’s is located at 5000 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL. where Original Bemo’s Hot Dogs once stood. Hangry’s co-owners saw potential in Bemo’s, and as a result, set out to bring their vision to life and bring something new to the neighborhood."
There's more than one hot spot trending in Chicago's traditional American category: St. Clair Supper Club has seen a 34.4% increase in reviews.
Hangry's offers chicken Parmesan with marinara sauce, boneless wings, a pulled pork sandwich on a Bavarian pretzel bun and more. Over the past month, it's maintained a sound 4.5-star rating among Yelpers.
The eatery is open from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.–midnight on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on Sunday.
Spicy Fingers Seafood Kitchen
West Town's Spicy Fingers Seafood Kitchen is the city's buzziest seafood spot by the numbers.
The Cajun/Creole and Asian fusion spot, which offers seafood and more and opened at 1549 W. Chicago Ave. in August, increased its new review count by 34.4% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1.3% for the Yelp category "Seafood."
The restaurant offers seafood from crawfish, clams and mussels to king crab legs and lobster.
The business is open from 3–10 p.m. Monday-Thursday ;3–10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 3–9:30 p.m. on Sunday.
The Loop's Ocean Prime, an outpost of the notable chain, is currently on the upswing in the steakhouse category on Yelp.
While businesses categorized as "Steakhouses" on Yelp saw a median 0.8% increase in new reviews over the past month, this steakhouse and New American spot, which offers seafood and more, increased its new reviews by 13.3% — and kept its rating consistent at 4.5 stars. Review counts increased by more than 140% on a month-to-month basis.
What's the business known for? "Ocean Prime is an award-winning modern American restaurant and lounge from renowned restaurateur Cameron Mitchell. With stunning settings, a vibrant energy, an impressive menu of seafood and steaks and truly exceptional service, Ocean Prime is an ideal place to socialize, talk business, celebrate and indulge." That's courtesy of its Yelp page.
Open for business at 87 E. Wacker Drive (between Lower Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue) since March, the restaurant offers sea scallops, lobster tail, crab cakes, sea bass and more.
It's open from 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. on Friday; 4–11 p.m. on Saturday; and 4–9 p.m. on Sunday. (It's closed on Thursday.)