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The Hot List

For September 2020

10 places everyone’s talking about and dining at
(in order of heat)

1Kostali

What:Powerhouse chef Carrie Nahabedian tackles hotel dining.
Why:Though you won’t find favorite Naha dishes, the Pan-Mediterranean restaurant has her signature elegance.
Where:Gwen Hotel, 521 N. Rush St., Near North Side Website
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Kostali Photo: Neil Burger

2Avondale Bowl

What:A ’50s eight-lane bowling alley transforms into a hipster bar.
Why:Sip local beers or ciders, or Tequila Sunrises, while throwing strikes.
Check out pics of this retro-themed bowling alley and bar.
Where:3118 N. Milwaukee Ave., Avondale Website
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Avondale Bowl Photo: Peter Ranvestel
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3In-On Thai

What:The beloved Thai restaurant returns, two years after its old block in Lake View East was torn down.
Why:The cult-favorite crispy fish with red curry can be yours again.
Where:4641 N. Broadway, Uptown
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In-On Thai Photo: Courtesy of In-On Thai

4JT’s Genuine Sandwich Shop

What:A celebration of classic Midwestern sandwiches
Why:Christopher Cunningham gives Maid-Rite “loose meat” and breaded pork tenderloin a chef’s touch.
Read more about this Irving Park spot.
Where:3970 N. Elston Ave., Irving Park Website
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JT’s Genuine Sandwich Shop Photo: Jyotish Bora
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5Tortazo

What:The first location of Rick Bayless’s fast-casual chain, with tortas, guac, and mezcal margaritas
Why:Work near Willis Tower? Grab a short rib torta for lunch, then head back at 5 for a spicy paloma.
Where:233 S. Wacker Dr., Loop Website
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Tortazo Photo: Courtesy of Tortazo

6L&M Fine Foods

What:A new specialty cheese and butcher shop in North Center
Why:After buying some housemade merguez sausage, refuel with a creative sandwich, like smoked five-spice tofu with sesame slaw, miso aïoli, and fried garlic chips.

Where:4363 N. Lincoln Ave. Website
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L&M Fine Foods Photo: Courtesy of L&M Fine Foods
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7Sam & Gertie’s

What:A vegan Jewish deli (yes, you read that right)
Why:Nut-, soy-, and wheat-based “chopped liver” and “smoked whitefish” salad even a bubbe could love
Where:1309 W. Wilson Ave., Uptown Website
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Sam & Gertie’s Photo: Courtesy of Sam & Gertie’s

8Pochos

What:Part Mexican American brunch spot, part community center
Why:The breakfast pambazo: a Butterdough croissant with potatoes, chorizo, an egg, crema, black beans, and avocado salsa
Where:2025 W. 35th St., McKinley Park Website
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Pochos Photo: Cuauhtli Photos

9Menya Goku

What:The team behind beloved ramen spots Wasabi and Takeya expands its reach.
Why:There’s a ramen for everyone, from spicy tantanmen to a vegan tonkotsu loaded with seitan.
Where:2207 W. Montrose Ave., North Center
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Menya Goku Photo: Menya Goku

10Fatso’s Last Stand

What:A new (and bigger) outpost of the hot dog purveyor lands in Lincoln Park.
Why:Now you can pair your char dog with a beer or boozy shake.
Where:1982 N. Clybourn Ave. Website
Fatso’s Last Stand Photo: Lindsay Nunnery
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