Open now: If you’re already planning for post-New Year’s dieting, keep mEAT (3339 N. Halsted St., Lake View, 773-871-2682) in mind. Their menu of protein skewers and family-style sides denotes everything that’s paleo-friendly.

Open now: The Brixton (5420 N. Clark St., Andersonville, 773-961-7358), a casual spot helmed by Kevin McMullen (EL Ideas), is open, offering octopus, sweetbreads, and a sizeable by-the-glass wine list alongside roasted peanuts and burgers.

Open now: As if the megastore needed another draw, the fine-dining arm of Eataly (43 E. Ohio St., River North, 312-521-8700) known as Baffo opened last night. Good news, though—you may actually be able to get a table here, as this is the only one of Eataly’s 23 eateries that takes reservations. Note that it has a separate entrance from the street, at 44 E. Grand Ave., as well as from the second floor of Eataly.

Thursday, December 19: Take the Boiler Room crew and swap out the pizza for burgers, and you’ve got the newest destined-to-be-slammed joint for the PBR set, Parts and Labor (2700 N. Milwaukee Ave., Logan Square, 773-360-7840). For $10, you score a two-patty burger with two sides—and this is a place where shots and beer count as “sides.”


Six courses, all olives. Tesori’s  (65 E. Adams St., The Loop, 312-786-9911) current One Ingredient Dinner series, for groups of 10 or more, showcases the fruit in fontina-stuffed hors d’oeuvres, olive-pistachio-crusted rack of lamb, and an olive-oil and Meyer lemon polenta cake. The $65 per person menu (with wine pairings for an additional $20) is available through the end of January—call the restaurant to reserve.

From now through the new year, groups of four or more can hit up Urbanbelly (1400 W. Randolph St., West Town, 773-583-0500) for a special holiday deal: Share two appetizers, two orders of dumplings, two noodle dishes, and a choice of fried rice for $25 a person. Even better: That $25 includes a glass of wine and maple-glazed mini doughnuts for dessert. The full menu is available here.

Have your history and eat it, too. Sixteen (401 N. Wabash Ave., River North, 312-588-8030) will be launching its winter menu inspired by “The Story of Chicago,” tracing the city’s development starting with the Columbian Expedition—with snacks served on a Ferris wheel.