Wondering where Chicago's in-the-know crowd is eating and drinking? It's easy to spot lines out the door, but some underlying trends are harder to see.
We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to deduce which restaurants 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 are on a hot streak this winter.
Open since November 2019, this breakfast and brunch spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Breakfast & Brunch" on Yelp.
Citywide, breakfast and brunch spots saw a median 1.2% increase in new reviews over the past month. LizzyJ Cafe only recently appeared on Yelp, but while many new businesses struggle to gain reviews, it has seen strong initial popularity.
"LizzyJ Cafe is a boutique breakfast spot. We offer familiar recipe items with a new culinary twist. We do our best to offer the freshest ingredients, we prefer seasonal produce, responsibly raised proteins and seafood." — that's courtesy of its page on Yelp.
Located at 2205 W. Montrose Ave. (between Lincoln and Bell avenues) in North Center, LizzyJ Cafe serves up shrimp and grits, sweet potato waffle and fried chicken, and French toast. See what else is on the menu.
LizzyJ Cafe is open from 8 a.m.–3 p.m. on Tuesday-Sunday. (It's closed on Monday.)
L'Aventino Forno Romano
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Streeterville's L'Aventino Forno Romano, the pizza spot is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "Pizza" on Yelp saw a median 1.4% increase in new reviews over the past month, L'Aventino Forno Romano appeared on Yelp relatively recently. Many new businesses struggle to gain reviews, but it has seen a surge of interest.
"Named after the Aventine Hill, one of the Seven Hills on which ancient Rome was built, l'Aventino Forno Romano brings pinsa — a next-generation Roman-style pizza with an airy texture, moist and fragrant crumb and crispy exterior — to Streeterville," according to its Yelp page. "Operated by Chef Adam Weisell, who grew up in Rome, the rustic yet elevated pizzeria also offers an assortment of traditional antipasti and salads, as well as gelato, simple desserts and an all-Italian wine list."
There's more that's trending on Chicago's pizza scene: Lou Malnati's Pizzeria has seen a 54.2% increase in reviews.
Open at 355 E. Ohio St. (between Fairbanks and McClurg courts) since November 2019, L'Aventino Forno Romano pizza menu includes margherita, five cheese and mushroom. View the menu here.
L'Aventino Forno Romano is open from 5 p.m.–10 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and noon–10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. (It's closed on Monday.)
Fulton River District's Taste 222 is the city's buzziest New American spot by the numbers.
The cocktail bar and New American spot, which has been open at 222 N. Canal St. (between Jackson Boulevard and Adams Street) since May 2017, increased its new review count by 16.7% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1.4% for the Yelp category "American (New)." It outperformed the previous month by gaining six times more reviews than expected based on past performance.
"Taste 222 is a restaurant and event space focusing on unique experiences with an upscale vibe," according to its Yelp page. "We are a full-service restaurant with rich beverage and culinary offerings set in a beautiful space reminiscent of home. We provide 'Cheers'-like service... With a family-like atmosphere, Taste 222 provides great service and delicious, comforting food in a warm and sophisticated environment."
Taste 222 offers salt-roasted beets, ancho chili glazed salmon, bourbon-glazed ribs and lamb loin chops. View the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus here.
Taste 222 is open from 7:30 a.m.–10 p.m. on Monday-Thursday and 7:30 a.m.–11 p.m. on Friday. (It's closed on weekends.)