Winter Openings in Chicago Worth Celebrating

Winter may have been brutal, but it gave us some great new restaurants
IO Urban Roofscape
Lauren Knight

Among a number of new openings this winter, IO Urban Roofscape offers thoughtful cocktails and food in a chic setting.

Winter is just refusing to let go this year. Luckily there are a number of hot spots opening around town. Check out some of the newcomers to the Chicago scene and let them warm you up.

IO Urban Roofscape – If you’re looking to be transported from the frigid Chicago weather, IO Urban Roofscape is the place to go. With its slick décor, this restaurant and lounge located in the Godfrey Hotel feels like you stepped into Las Vegas. Don’t mistake it for a cookie cutter club, though; Chef Riley Huddleston has put a lot of care into his menu and beverage program. Enjoy lamb lollichops and perfectly seared scallops with one of the interesting and well-balanced chef-made cocktails. [related]

SideDoor – If you are a proud carnivore, but not into the stuffy steakhouse scene, SideDoor is worth a look. Taking advantage of mostly unused dining rooms in Lawry’s The Prime Rib, quirky modern touches mix with the traditional décor to create a more casual atmosphere than its parent restaurant. Chef Victor Newgren takes his meat serious, offering up prime cuts charcuterie style. The house-smoked pastrami sandwich is not to be missed, and the well-curated beverage program will not leave you thirsty.

G&O – Located on the corner of Grand & Ogden as its name nods to, G&O is a cozy place to keep warm while winter sticks around. A small menu delivers a number of interesting dishes, such as grilled dill pesto lamb or scotch eggs with chorizo. Truffles, including a Left Hand Milk Stout one, make a lovely end to a meal, and small batch draft beers are a highlight of the drink menu.

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Mercadito Counter – While not open quite yet, Mercadito Counter is definitely one to look forward to. Chef Patricio Sandoval is taking his creative culinary style and creating a Mexican deli. Look for traditional dishes with a fun, American twist, like the Mole Q Hot Dog and the Gordita Slider. Kegged cocktails will be a quirky addition to your meal. You will also be able to take home pre-prepared dishes like tamales and specialized meats, just like a deli.