From the team behind Hubbard Inn comes Joy District (112 W. Hubbard, River North, 312-955-0339), a club/restaurant in the former Epic space. The first floor offers playful shared dishes, like fried Amish chicken lollipops and grilled Spanish octopus tacos. Soon to follow will be a second-floor lounge and bar with vodka-focused cocktails and a massive rooftop.
The highly anticipated SteakBar (1500 N. Wells St., Old Town, 773-966-0404)—from Brendan Sodikoff’s Hogsalt Hospitality and collaborator du jour Four Corners Tavern Group—opened its doors last Thursday (April 14), giving Chicagoans yet another steak(ish) option.
Shine up your dancing shoes: Ravenswood dance studio/bistro Artango Bar & Steakhouse (4747 North Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Square, 773-697-7479) re-opened April 15 in its new (larger) home in the former Trattoria Trullo space. The new menu, from consulting chef Dudley Nieto (Rojo Gusano) and sous chef Fred Ramos (Labriola), leans 1920s Buenos Aires, focusing on grilled steaks. With 100 more seats and considerably more square footage to work with, expect plenty more tango lessons, performances, and live music.
The Dearborn (145 N. Dearborn St., Loop), the massive restaurant inside Block 37 from the Lawless sisters (the Gage, Acanto) coming this summer, has found its pastry pro: Courtney Joseph. She’s done stints with Swift & Sons, Slurping Turtle, and Hoosier Mama, among others.
Patio season is upon us, and it’ll be much easier to enjoy it this year at Big Star (1531 N. Damen Ave., Wicker Park, 773-235-4039) as the hotspot is doing away with its cash-only policy. Good news for millennial types who never carry cash, bad news for the soon-to-be-neglected nearby ATMs.