Best New Niche Bookstores

Best new niche bookstores Can’t decide what to read next? Skip the behemoth that sells everything and visit one of these genre-specific bookstores.  For comics lovers Howling Pages Most comic book shops offer 80 percent Marvel and DC, with a smattering of indie comics and graphic novels. Alain Park’s store, which opened last year, flips … Read more

Best Incorporation of Mexican Heritage Into Fashion Design

Ciprianamía  Nelissa Carrillo has designed Nike sneakers for Serena Williams, and she once had her own genderless streetwear brand. But it wasn’t until 2021 that she looked to her cultural roots for inspiration, employing fabrics and sewing techniques representative of her Mexican heritage. The new brand, Ciprianamía, launched quietly, but this year the Chicago native … Read more

Best New Spot for Vinyl Browsing

Miyagi Records The Japanese surname Miyagi translates to “shrine fortress,” and that’s how co-owners Nigel Ridgeway and Marco Jacobo see their new record shop, which began as an online-only store in 2019 but opened a brick-and-mortar location in April: a place to both honor and protect the music they love, some of it made not … Read more

Best R&B Opus

Tink’s Thanks 4 Nothing Tink is the prevailing mistress of Chicago R&B, a 28-year-old soprano whose Aaliyah-like head voice you could reasonably call angelic. Over the course of four albums and many online-only mixtapes, she has perfected a delicate balancing act: cherubic sweetness intermixed with saucy chutzpah. After she signed with megaproducer Timbaland’s Mosley Music … Read more

Best Fashion Boutique Expansion

Notre With its understated aesthetic and low-key sales approach, the West Loop boutique has been a go-to for Chicago guys and visiting music industry celebs (Adam Levine, Travis Scott) since 2019. Now it’s embarking on a new era by introducing womenswear. Plenty of it. “We had a lot of guys that would come in with … Read more

Best Cake Artist

Alexa Abaroa of DeEtta’s Bakery Give cake decorator Alexa Abaroa just two things — a short bio of someone you love and 14 days’ notice — and she’ll do more than make you a cake worthy of the Food Network. She’ll sculpt you an edible objet d’art that will evoke as much emotion as any Hallmark card. Her cakes, … Read more

Best Baseball-Themed Vessel for Drinking Booze

Wrigley’s Beer Bat Think ballpark concessions peaked with helmet ice cream? Hold my beer (bat). Introduced at Wrigley Field this season, the $30 baseball-bat-shaped plastic container holds 26 ounces of beer (or frozen margarita, if that’s your thing). Sure, it’s effectively an expensive souvenir cup (a 24-ounce draft beer in a regular cup is half … Read more

Best Singularly Obsessed Restaurant

Top This Mac N’ Cheese At their carryout and delivery spot, which opened in October, chefs Erick Williams and Damarr Brown of Virtue do one thing: mac and cheese. But they do it exceptionally well. Not only have they perfected the classic comfort food with their gooey version, they’ve made it their own by offering … Read more