Category Archives: Food

Get These Trending Chicago Restaurants On Your Radar Today

Brightwok. | Photo: Mimi L./Yelp 

Curious where Chicago’s insiders are eating and drinking? It’s easy to spot lines out the door, but some underlying trends are harder to see.

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to discover which local businesses have been most discussed this month.

To find out who made the list, we looked at Chicago businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increase their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance.

Read on to see which spots are sizzling hot, right now.

Brightwok Kitchen

Photo: KRiS L./Yelp

Open since July 2018, this Asian fusion, gluten-free and vegetarian spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as “Asian Fusion” on Yelp.

Citywide, Asian fusion spots saw a median 2.3 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, but Brightwok Kitchen saw a 27.8 percent increase, maintaining a solid 4.5-star rating throughout. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis Brightwok Kitchen’s review count increased by more than 500 percent.

Located at 631 N. State St. in the Near North, Brightwok Kitchen offers signature and customizable bowls with a variety of proteins and sauces for gluten-free folks, vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers. Favorite items include the sweet umami mushroom bowl with a fried egg on top, as well as sides like sweet potato fritters and sweet and sour pickles. (See the menu here.)

Firewater Saloon

Photo: CAROL H./Yelp

Mount Greenwood’s Firewater Saloon is the city’s buzziest traditional American spot by the numbers.

The bar and traditional American spot, which opened at 3908 W. 111th St. (between Pulaski Road and Harding Avenue) in March 2018, increased its new review count by 22.2 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1.9 percent for the Yelp category “American (Traditional).” It outperformed the previous month by gaining 4.0 times more reviews than expected based on past performance.

It’s not the only trending outlier in the traditional American category: No Bones Beach Club has seen a 26.4 percent increase in reviews.

Firewater Saloon offers salads, burgers, house specialties and more. Try the Firewater wings, the Drifter burger with mushrooms and Swiss cheese and the Gunslinger, a sandwich with cheddar cheese and honey mustard-braised short rib. (View the full menu here.)

The Darling

Photo: ALEX A./Yelp

West Town’s The Darling is currently on the upswing in the cocktail bar category on Yelp.

While businesses categorized as “Cocktail Bars” on Yelp saw a median 3 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, this cocktail bar increased its by 32.3 percent—and kept its rating consistent at 3.5 stars.

Open for business at 905 W. Randolph St. (between Sangamon and Peoria streets) since November 2018, the business offers small and large plates, bar snacks and drinks inspired by popular movies and stories. Try “The Secret Garden” cocktail, which is made with a botanical vodka, lime juice, raspberry liquor, grapefruit soda and garnished with an edible hibiscus flower.

Breakfast House

Photo: BREAKFAST HOUSE/Yelp

Open since August 2018, this breakfast and brunch spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as “Breakfast & Brunch” on Yelp.

Citywide, businesses tagged “Breakfast & Brunch” saw a median 1.8 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, but Breakfast House saw a 26.1 percent increase, maintaining a healthy 4.5-star rating throughout. It gained 0.9 times more reviews than expected based on past performance, significantly outperforming the previous month.

Located at 3001 N. Ashland Ave. (between Wellington Avenue and Nelson Street) in Lakeview, Breakfast House offers items like challah French toast, chicken and waffles and huevos rancheros. For lunch, try options like the organic quinoa and beet salad or the smoked barbecue pulled pork sandwich on brioche.

Virtue Restaurant

PHOTO: VIRTUE RESTAURANT/YELP

Is Hyde Park’s Virtue Restaurant on your radar? According to Yelp review data, the Southern and New American spot is seeing plenty of action.

While businesses categorized as “American (New)” on Yelp increased their media new review count by 2.2 percent over the past month, Virtue Restaurant nabbed a 24.7 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a convincing 4.5-star rating.

Located at 1462 E. 53rd St. (between Harper and Blackstone avenues), Virtue Restaurant opened in November 2018. It offers a range of appetizers, mains and side dishes, alongside wine, beer, ciders and cocktails. Notable menu options include biscuits with house-made butter, gumbo, mac and cheese and beef short ribs.

This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we’re doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.

Get These Trending Chicago Restaurants On Your Radar Today

Brightwok. | Photo: Mimi L./Yelp 

Curious where Chicago’s insiders are eating and drinking? It’s easy to spot lines out the door, but some underlying trends are harder to see.

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to discover which local businesses have been most discussed this month.

To find out who made the list, we looked at Chicago businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increase their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance.

Read on to see which spots are sizzling hot, right now.

Brightwok Kitchen

Photo: KRiS L./Yelp

Open since July 2018, this Asian fusion, gluten-free and vegetarian spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as “Asian Fusion” on Yelp.

Citywide, Asian fusion spots saw a median 2.3 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, but Brightwok Kitchen saw a 27.8 percent increase, maintaining a solid 4.5-star rating throughout. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis Brightwok Kitchen’s review count increased by more than 500 percent.

Located at 631 N. State St. in the Near North, Brightwok Kitchen offers signature and customizable bowls with a variety of proteins and sauces for gluten-free folks, vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers. Favorite items include the sweet umami mushroom bowl with a fried egg on top, as well as sides like sweet potato fritters and sweet and sour pickles. (See the menu here.)

Firewater Saloon

Photo: CAROL H./Yelp

Mount Greenwood’s Firewater Saloon is the city’s buzziest traditional American spot by the numbers.

The bar and traditional American spot, which opened at 3908 W. 111th St. (between Pulaski Road and Harding Avenue) in March 2018, increased its new review count by 22.2 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1.9 percent for the Yelp category “American (Traditional).” It outperformed the previous month by gaining 4.0 times more reviews than expected based on past performance.

It’s not the only trending outlier in the traditional American category: No Bones Beach Club has seen a 26.4 percent increase in reviews.

Firewater Saloon offers salads, burgers, house specialties and more. Try the Firewater wings, the Drifter burger with mushrooms and Swiss cheese and the Gunslinger, a sandwich with cheddar cheese and honey mustard-braised short rib. (View the full menu here.)

The Darling

Photo: ALEX A./Yelp

West Town’s The Darling is currently on the upswing in the cocktail bar category on Yelp.

While businesses categorized as “Cocktail Bars” on Yelp saw a median 3 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, this cocktail bar increased its by 32.3 percent—and kept its rating consistent at 3.5 stars.

Open for business at 905 W. Randolph St. (between Sangamon and Peoria streets) since November 2018, the business offers small and large plates, bar snacks and drinks inspired by popular movies and stories. Try “The Secret Garden” cocktail, which is made with a botanical vodka, lime juice, raspberry liquor, grapefruit soda and garnished with an edible hibiscus flower.

Breakfast House

Photo: BREAKFAST HOUSE/Yelp

Open since August 2018, this breakfast and brunch spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as “Breakfast & Brunch” on Yelp.

Citywide, businesses tagged “Breakfast & Brunch” saw a median 1.8 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, but Breakfast House saw a 26.1 percent increase, maintaining a healthy 4.5-star rating throughout. It gained 0.9 times more reviews than expected based on past performance, significantly outperforming the previous month.

Located at 3001 N. Ashland Ave. (between Wellington Avenue and Nelson Street) in Lakeview, Breakfast House offers items like challah French toast, chicken and waffles and huevos rancheros. For lunch, try options like the organic quinoa and beet salad or the smoked barbecue pulled pork sandwich on brioche.

Virtue Restaurant

PHOTO: VIRTUE RESTAURANT/YELP

Is Hyde Park’s Virtue Restaurant on your radar? According to Yelp review data, the Southern and New American spot is seeing plenty of action.

While businesses categorized as “American (New)” on Yelp increased their media new review count by 2.2 percent over the past month, Virtue Restaurant nabbed a 24.7 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a convincing 4.5-star rating.

Located at 1462 E. 53rd St. (between Harper and Blackstone avenues), Virtue Restaurant opened in November 2018. It offers a range of appetizers, mains and side dishes, alongside wine, beer, ciders and cocktails. Notable menu options include biscuits with house-made butter, gumbo, mac and cheese and beef short ribs.

This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we’re doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.

Kale Placed 3rd On ‘Dirty Dozen’ Produce Pesticide List

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that kale is one of the top crops affected by pesticides. The leafy green vegetable has been placed at the number three spot on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list.

“Studies link pesticides to a host of human health problems including brain and nervous system toxicity, also hormone disruption, even cancer have been linked to pesticides,” said Samara Geller of Environmental Working Group.

The data for the list comes from the USDA, which thoroughly washes and peels fruits and vegetables before testing. Geller says the pesticide problem cannot be rinsed off.

“Washing the fruit will potentially help, but it’s not going to get rid of the problem. We can’t wash our problems away that way, because pesticides are taken in through the flesh of the product,” she said.

The data was news to some kale lovers who spoke to KPIX 5 at Fort Mason.

“Then you have to figure out how to get the toxin out of you which is – we don’t know how our bodies are going to react to those toxins – what it’s doing to us inside. Is it triggering a cancer gene to turn on ,where all of a sudden we now have cancer?” said Martin Burger.

Among the pesticides found in kale in the USDA study is Dacthal.

“The EPA classified Dacthal as a possible human carcinogen–but it’s also been banned in Europe since 2009,” said Geller.

Some agricultural groups have countered that dactyl is legal according to the EPA, but Geller says the problem is that those legal levels are set on data from adults.

“The problem with the tolerances set by the EPA is that they are often set far too high to be protective of children’s health. So legal doesn’t necessarily mean safe. So often times, there is a gap between what is considered safe and what is considered legal,” said Geller.

EWG suggests that the data shouldn’t necessarily deter people from eating the fruits and vegetables on their list. In those cases, they emphasize the importance of going organic.

Walnut Creek’s Top 5 Japanese Spots

By Hoodline

In search of a new favorite Japanese spot?

Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top Japanese spots around Walnut Creek, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of the best spots to achieve your dreams.

1. Ramen Hiroshi

Topping the list is Ramen Hiroshi. Located at 1633 Bonanza St., the spot to score ramen and more is the highest rated Japanese restaurant in Walnut Creek, boasting four stars out of 918 reviews on Yelp.

2. Toyo Sushi

Next up is Toyo Sushi, situated at 2865 Ygnacio Valley Road With four stars out of 373 reviews on Yelp, the sushi bar and Japanese spot has proven to be a local favorite.

3. KoJa Kitchen

Parkmead’s KoJa Kitchen, located at 1550 Olympic Blvd., is another top choice, with Yelpers giving the Korean and Japanese spot four stars out of 331 reviews.

4. Kana Sushi

Kana Sushi, a sushi bar, is another go-to, with four stars out of 299 Yelp reviews. Head over to 1280 D Newell Ave. to see for yourself.

5. House of Sake

Last but not least, there’s House of Sake, which has earned four stars out of 240 reviews on Yelp. You can find the Japanese spot at 313 N. Civic Drive

The 3 Newest Eateries Near San Francisco’s Union Square

By Hoodline

Interested in exploring the freshest fare near Union Square? From a cashier-less convenience store to an upscale and fashionable lunchtime eatery, read on for a rundown of the newest spots to debut in this corner of downtown San Francisco.

Amazon Go
98 Post St.

The new Amazon Go shop at Post and Kearny is the megaretailer’s second in San Francisco. Like the original outlet six blocks away at California and Battery streets, it’s an experimental, cashier-less convenience store focused on takeaway food.

Inside, expect to see an assortment of grab-and-go eats “made by chefs and favorite local kitchens and bakeries,” according to its website. The Union Square-adjacent location features an assortment of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack items, along with drinks and a few other convenience-store essentials.

If you plan to shop at the store, you’ll need to download the Amazon Go app, which is different from Amazon’s regular online shopping app, to enter the premises.

Once you have your desired goods for purchase, simply walk out the door, and the Amazon app will charge your account. A few orange-shirted employees are on hand to help customers locate desired products and answer any questions.

Amazon Go’s current Yelp rating of 4.5 stars out of nine reviews indicates positive attention from users.

Yelper Chenny O., who reviewed Amazon Go on March 3, wrote, “This is my second time in the Amazon Go store and it’s pretty cool.”

Tina O. noted, “I love the concept, it’s an introvert’s dream! No human interaction is required! Though you do need the Amazon Go app installed and linked to an Amazon account with credit information.”

Amazon Go is open from 7 a.m.–8 p.m. on weekdays. (It’s closed on weekends.)

Out The Dough
28 Trinity Place

Out the Dough, which dishes up raw, unbaked cookie dough by the scoop, recently debuted its first San Francisco location in the former home of juice shop Living Greens. (Its flagship store is in Concord; the SF outpost has been in the works since last October.)

All the dough at Out the Dough is made with pasteurized eggs and heat-treated flour and oats, making it safe for everyone (including kids and pregnant people) to eat unbaked.

Customers can order their flavors by the single, double or triple scoop, just like a cup of ice cream. Flavor options at the San Francisco location include peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, Grandma’s Chocolate Chip, the Jimmies Classic (with rainbow sprinkles) and more. There are rotating seasonal scoops, too, like the Leprechaun’s Kiss, with dark chocolate, mint and chocolate chips. (Check out the full menu here.)

Yelp users are excited about Out the Dough, which currently holds 4.5 stars out of 10 reviews on the site.

Yelper Ellie J., who reviewed Out the Dough on Dec. 12, wrote, “SO DELICIOUS. I got the small and had enough to eat half and save the other half for the following day. Ordered the Original, with toasted marshmallow fluff on top.”

Kaitlyn C. noted, “First time having ready-made cookie dough! Did not disappoint. Five stars all around! Staff lady at the counter was friendly and patiently explained the flavors to us.”

Out the Dough is open from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. on weekdays. (It’s closed on weekends.)

Freds San Francisco
77 O’Farrell St.

Shoppers seeking a high-end lunch experience can now head to New American restaurant Freds San Francisco, located within Union Square department store Barneys New York.

Founded in 1996 at Barneys flagship Madison Avenue store, the upscale eatery has since expanded to downtown New York, Beverly Hills and Chicago, and is known for its posh lunch service and celebrity clientele.

Executive chef Barney Brown is at the kitchen’s helm, serving a menu composed of salads, pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, burgers and other midday favorites. Look for dishes like chicken paillard with a tomato, arugula, and red onion salad; Freds chopped chicken salad; or a Niman Ranch Angus cheeseburger topped with house-made relish, onion marmalade and Sriracha mayo.

For libations, look for wine by the glass and a selection of craft cocktails.

With a three-star rating out of 31 reviews on Yelp, Freds San Francisco is still finding its way, but it’s early days.

Yelper Karlos G., who reviewed Freds San Francisco on March 3, wrote, “We love Freds, it is such a great place for lunch and cocktails. I recommend it if you’re up for something different and more ‘private’ than your usual dine-in establishment in bustling Union Square.”

Freds San Francisco is open from 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon–6 p.m. on Sunday.

BurgerIM Makes Debut, With Customizable Burgers And More

Burger fans, take heed: there’s a new spot in town to get your fix. Called BurgerIM, the fresh arrival is located at 9332 Elk Grove Blvd., Suite 100.

At this national chain, customers may grab orders of two or three mini-burgers and customize each to their liking with a slathering of sauced-up condiment and topping styles— Select Wagyu beef, turkey or lamb sliders as your base, or go the vegetarian route with its selection of veggie and falafel patties. And as a side, this spot offers up helpings of onion rings and sweet potato fries.

(View the menu here.)

With a three-star rating out of 42 reviews on Yelp so far, BurgerIM has gotten a mixed response from its clientele.

“I like this place. I think the food is great. I’ve had burgers, fries and wings my entire life and these are better than most,” wrote Yelper James L. “As for the service. The people are fine, and if it takes a little long to make the food then I understand that it’s new and the kinks need to be worked out.”

Interested? Stop by to welcome the new business to the neighborhood. BurgerIM is open from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.–7 p.m. on Sunday.

This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we’re doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.

4 Ways To Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day, With Breakfast, Green Beer And More

Photo: Patrick Fore/Unsplash

Hungry for something new?

If you love to eat and drink, St. Patrick’s Day weekend offers a great chance to explore the world of Chicago food and beverage. From a river dyeing watch party to a kegs and eggs breakfast buffet, here’s what to do to celebrate.

Hoodline offers data-driven analysis of local happenings and trends across cities. Links included in this article may earn Hoodline a commission on clicks and transactions.

Green is the New Red: St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans at Virgin Hotels

Head to the Virgin Hotel and snag a front seat as the Chicago River is dyed green this Saturday. At its “Green is the New Red” party, enjoy green booze, a breakfast buffet and live music from the Avondale Ramblers. Also, don’t miss the chance to win prizes like a one-night hotel stay, dinner at the Common Club and more. Open to adults 21 and over.

When: Saturday, March 16, 8 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
Where: Virgin Hotels Chicago, 203 N. Wabash Ave.
Price: Free
Click here for more details, and to get your tickets

Kegs and Eggs at The Boundary

Next up, if you’re an early bird, begin your Irish celebration with beer kegs and breakfast eggs at The Boundary in Wicker Park. At this St. Patrick’s Day Party, enjoy green beer and feast on sausage, scrambled eggs (made with cheddar cheese and smoked bacon) and potatoes.

When: Saturday, March 16, 8-11 a.m.
Where: The Boundary Tavern and Grille, 1932 W. Division St.
Price: $40
Click here for more details, and to get your tickets

Kegs and Eggs at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery

Bring your appetite to Rock Bottom Brewery where you can fill up on green beer, mimosas and a breakfast buffet. Live music performances will keep the party going.

When: Saturday, March 16, 9-11 a.m.
Where: Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, 1 W. Grand Ave.
Price: $30
Click here for more details, and to get your tickets

Legendary Leprechaun Weekend

Last but not least, there’s Legendary Leprechaun weekend this Friday. Grab some friends and head to Safehouse for drinks. Enjoy specials on drinks like Irish car bombs and the Nutty Irishman.

When: Friday, March 15, 11 a.m.
Where: Safehouse, 60 E. Ontario St.
Click here for more details, and to get your tickets

IHOP Giving Away Free Pancakes All Day

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The only thing better than a short stack with melted butter and syrup is a free short stack with melted butter and syrup!

From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, pancakes are free at the International House of Pancakes.

It’s IHOP’s 14th Annual Free Pancake Day.

This year’s theme is ‘Flip it Forward.’

Only one free short stack per customer.

IHOP is encouraging customers to donate to the to various charities for children.

Last year, they raised $4 million.

FDA Lifts Import Alert Stopping Genetically Engineered Salmon From Entering US

(CNN) — Americans are one step closer to seeing genetically modified salmon at their grocery stores.

The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it is lifting an import alert that stopped genetically engineered salmon from entering the US.

The salmon, called “Frankenfish” by some, won FDA approval in 2015 — the first approval of a genetically engineered animal intended for food. The FDA, after years of review, had deemed food from the AquaAdvantage Salmon safe to eat in 2015 and said there is no biological difference between these salmon and nongenetically engineered salmon.

But Congress blocked the FDA in 2016 from allowing the fish to be sold in the US until it finalized labeling guidelines to inform consumers the product was genetically engineered. The FDA then went ahead and implemented the import alert.

Congress also passed a law that year directing the US Department of Agriculture to set a national mandatory standard for disclosing bioengineered foods. In December, the USDA issued the standard, requiring manufacturers, importers and certain retailers to disclose whether a product was bioengineered using either text, a symbol, a electronic or digital link, and/or a text message.

On Friday, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said because of the 2016 law and the USDA’s standard, his agency “no longer has the authority to issue labeling guidance.”

“However, the FDA believes this Congressional mandate has been satisfied by the USDA’s issuance of final regulations implementing that law in late 2018 because the law and regulations require that human food containing GE salmon bear labeling indicating that it is bioengineered,” Gottlieb said in a statement.

The FDA will now allow AquaAdvantage Salmon eggs, produced by AquaBounty, to be imported to the company’s land-based facility in Indiana and raised into salmon for food. The AquaAdvantage Salmon grows year-round and grows faster than farm-raised Atlantic salmon.

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