We have passed the midpoint of summer, so it seems increasingly important to take advantage of every ray of sunshine Chicago can get. Don’t waste a day microwaving something for dinner - grab a seat at one of these great spots and enjoy some of the best this season has to offer.
Oak Street Beach Food + Drink is an annual pop-up that serves all the sun seekers and those brave enough to dip their feet into those icy Lake Michigan waters. With exclusively outdoor seating, you can make the most of the warm weather while enjoying a variety of dishes - from fish tacos to the classic Chicago dog, it’s a great way to recharge on a beach outing.
Just south down the lakefront is another summer pop-up restaurant, Caffe Oliva at Ohio Street Beach, whichoffers a more refined atmosphere than the rowdy scene at Oak Street Beach. Enjoy decadent flatbread pizzas, lamb burgers, and Mediterranean salads. Special lobster nights are held on Sundays, but require advance reservations.
Elle on the River opened just this summer, offering River North the perfect spot to kick back and relax. Chef Tim Graham’s Mediterranean-style tacos provide fresh, bold flavors. Give the crispy chickpea taco a try; the cool flavors are all the tastier with a little crunch. Elle’s signature punches are an excellent way to cool down from the summer heat as you take in the riverside views of the Loop.
Parsons Chicken & Fish is open year-round, but its fun, picnic-y patio is worth hitting while the weather is good. Sit at one of their wooden tables and order one of their boozy slushies, the perfect complement to a hot summer day. The chicken is served either fried or grilled, and their fish comes out golden and crispy. Their housemade hot sauces accent the dishes well. Splurge on an order of hush puppies; they’re worth it.
Feel like getting above the crowd? Sophisticated cocktail bar Celeste has a newly-opened rooftop space for those looking for something more than a burger and beer. Enjoy one of their specially crafted punches among the sculpted foliage and stunning terrariums of The Garden. Small bites like baby octopus in romesco sauce and crispy wontons topped with salmon are light, delicious, and as charming as the rooftop itself.