NEW: Out of Nowhere
“I was an aerospace engineering major,” says Matt Eversman (Saigon Sisters), 28, chef of the next new resto on Randolph Street, OON Chicago. After day one of advanced calculus, he switched gears and eventually took his love of doodling and design where he could put it to better use—the kitchen. When OON opens in August, Eversman plans to ace the subject of contemporary American dishes with Southeast Asian influences, such as hoisin-glazed quail with ginger and coconut fried rice, sake-steamed maitake mushrooms, and aromatic fried Thai basil leaves. Sounds like a great use of air and space to us. By the way, OON does indeed stand for Out of Nowhere. 802 W. Randolph St., oonrestaurant.com
COMING SOON: Two
The chairs come from a library in Indiana, and the wine rack is from an old hotel in Michigan (think repurposed mail slots); the beers range from North Dakota to Ohio. Two, a butcher-focused bistro that smokes its own bacon and makes everything from scratch, plans to shine a spotlight on the heartland when it opens in late July. “This is a way to showcase phenomenal dishes from the rural Midwest that can compete with world cuisine,” says owner Yamandú Pérez (of Hinsdale’s celebrated Zak’s Place). Expect small plates, of course—because we Midwesterners are so good at sharing. 1132 W. Grand Ave., 312-624-8363.
COMING SOON: Senza
“We are trying to give people who can’t eat gluten the opportunity to eat something that they haven’t had in a while or can’t eat at all,” says Noah Sandoval, the chef of Senza. Sandoval—a veteran of Schwa and Spring—will do pastries and doughnuts in the morning and fine dining at night (think mallard duck breast with confit leg agnolotti, smoked maitakes, parsnip purée, and foie gras emulsion): all gluten-free. When the creative Lake View spot opens in late July, it should draw every celiac sufferer in Chicago and maybe even folks who have never Googled “gluten.” 2873 N. Broadway, 773-770-3527.
City Farms Market & Grill’s salmon eggs Benedict
BUDGET: City Farms Market & Grill
We’re happy that restaurants using local ingredients and promising fresh, organic, housemade this and that are no longer rarities. When they rise above mere virtue, so much the better. This spiffy storefront’s offerings—three meals a day Tuesday through Friday, brunch on weekends—impress by being tasty and satisfying, not just irreproachably sourced (though they are certainly that, too).
Eggs, pancakes, and corned beef hash make up most of the breakfast and brunch choices. Salmon eggs Benedict ($12.99) dazzles and comes with well-wrought fried potatoes flecked with vegetables. Keep an eye out for bacon sausage (who knew this was possible?) with maple bacon aïoli, caramelized onion relish, bacon-roasted apples ($8.99), and on weekends an egg ($9.99). Those up for sweet overkill should order the French toast. There’s an apple crumble pie version and a wilder Black Forest concoction made with chocolate cherry bread (both $9.99).
At dinnertime, chicken pot pie ($10.99) is a particular winner. Drinkwise, smoothies ($3 to $4.50) involving the expected fruits and berries, but also kale or spinach if you like, are the most fun. There’s even a mobile unit: City Farms’ food truck, Beyond Borders (@beyondborders4 on Twitter), offers terrific sandwiches and salads. 1467 W. Irving Park Rd., 773-883-2767.
Photography: Anna Knott