Chicago Concepts To Dine at During the Restaurant Show

Summer Evening Chicago RiverWEB
Chicago River photo courtesy of Illinois Office of Tourism.

Bad news, good news. Bad news: If you didn’t make a reservation already, you’re likely not going to find a table this weekend at Chicago classics such as the Girl & the Goat, The Purple Pig or Frontera Grill. Good news: The FER editors have pulled together a list of restaurants that, as of a couple days ago, still had some tables open after the National Restaurant Association Show winds down at 5 p.m. (Confirm before you hop in an Uber.) Enjoy.

Bloom Plant-Based Kitchen
Bloom focuses on bringing “flavorful, healthy and affordable vegetarian food to the everyday family.” The plant-based, gluten-free menu includes braised jackfruit, sunflower risotto and kelp noodles.
1559 N. Milwaukee Ave., bloompb.com
Distance from McCormick Place: 6.6 miles

Esquire by Cooper’s Hawk
Opened in March, this Gold Coast restaurant features a Visiting Chef Series, where notable chefs present quarterly menus. The space spotlights a 50-foot glass enclosed wine tower holding over 1,600 bottles of wine from around the world.
58 E. Oak St., esquire.coopershawk.com
Distance: 4.3 miles

Forbidden Root
This concept offers “botanic-inspired brews, elevated cuisine.” Order a strawberry basil German-style wheat ale or a raspberry cream IPA. The dinner menu includes spicy fried chicken sandwiches, burgers and even a duck-and-dumplings dish.
1746 W. Chicago Ave., forbiddenroot.com
Distance: 6.2 miles

Gordon Ramsay Burger
Named after the multi-Michelin starred chef, this casual, full-service restaurant serves gourmet burgers, fries and from-scratch sauces. It’s new too, having opened in 2021. And while it accepts reservations, it also welcomes walk-ins.
2 E. Ontario St., gordonramsayrestaurants.com
Distance: 3.3 miles

IL Culaccino
This upscale casual-dining concept mixes traditional and modern Italian cuisines. Take a seat in the restaurant, at the bar or on the outdoor patio. House favorites include linguini with clam sauce and bone-in Berkshire pork chops.
2134 S. Indiana Ave., ilculaccino.com
Distance: 0.3 miles

La Cantina
As seen on “Chicago Today,” La Cantina serves authentic Mexican dishes, from traditional enchiladas to nacho platters. It also has a few vegan options. Sip homemade sangria on the outdoor sidewalk, weather permitting. La Cantina doesn’t take reservations.
1911 S. Michigan Ave., lacantinagrill.com
Distance: 0.6 miles

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