The Saigon Sisters crew gets into the Thai game with Bang Chop (605 W. Lake St., West Loop, 312-285-2800), where there's a curated menu of southeast Asian stir-fries, soups, and salads for a steal.

Slurp away at Oyster Bah (1962 N. Halsted St., Lincoln Park, 773-248-3000), a bivalve spot from the Shaw’s team and Lettuce Entertain You with a name that is, indeed, actually spelled like that. If oysters from both coasts aren’t your bag, there are “stuffies” (stuffed, baked clams with chorizo) and a double cheeseburger, as well as an intimate basement space called the Crab Cellar with lots of the aforementioned crustacean and fish and chips.

Coconutz (13 W. Division St., Gold Coast, 312-266-0944), another new spot defying the rules of orthography, brings tropical libations to the liquor-soaked Division Street masses. On the weekends, they’ll feature a DJ and dancing from midnight until 3 a.m.

As is his way, Brendan Sodikoff went for the sneak-attack opening and unveiled Sawada Coffee (112 N. Green St., West Loop) with little notice. Inside the Green Street Smoked Meats space, he’s partnered with latte-art champion Hiroshi Sawada for lattes, cappuccinos, and boozy steamers.


Next in the kitchen at Intro (2300 N. Lincoln Park West, Lincoln Park, 773-868-0002) will be Jessica Largey, the 2015 James Beard winner for rising star chef who’s been doing work in the kitchen at Manresa in Los Gatos, California, for the past several years. She’ll be doing a lot of work with vegetables when she steps in starting in February.

Did your parents name you after the hero of Star Wars? Then Luke, they’ve got free lobster at Luke’s Lobster (134 N. LaSalle St., Loop, 312-982-2977) for you on Friday. Show your government-issued ID bearing the Jedi’s name, and they’ll hand you a free lobster roll in honor of the new movie’s release.