Want the inside word on Chicago’s most talked-about local spots?
Using data from Yelp , here are eateries 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 increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance.
Read on to see which spots have the momentum heading into the end of the year.
House of Blues Restaurant & Bar
Open since July, this New American spot, which offers burgers, barbecue and more, is trending compared to other businesses categorized as “barbeque” on Yelp.
Citywide, barbecue spots saw review counts increase by a median of 1.5 percent over the past month, but House of Blues Restaurant & Bar saw a 27.3 percent increase, with a slight upward trend from a three-star rating a month ago to 3.5 stars today. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis review counts increased by more than 600 percent.
Located at 329 N. Dearborn St. in Near North, House of Blues Restaurant & Bar offers live weekly music and fare options such as jambalaya, baby back ribs, blackened salmon and fried chicken. Flatbreads, salads, appetizers and a variety of other meats are also on offer. Check out its website for more information.
DrinkHaus Supper Club
Whether or not you’ve been hearing buzz about Greektown’s DrinkHaus Supper Club, the cocktail bar and Cajun/Creole restaurant is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as “cocktail bars” on Yelp increased their review counts by a median of 3.2 percent over the past month, DrinkHaus Supper Club bagged a 41.2 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, with a slight downward trend from a 3.5-star rating a month ago to its current three stars.
Open since September at 820 W. Jackson Blvd. (between Green and Halsted streets), DrinkHaus Supper Club offers a number of libations to pair with lunch and dinner fare. Look for notable menu options such as a fried or blackened catfish dinner, shrimp po’boys, Cajun chicken Alfredo and Creole fried lobster tail. Here’s the menu.
Sizzling Pot King
Greektown’s Sizzling Pot King is the city’s buzziest seafood spot by the numbers.
The Chinese restaurant, which opened last year at 769 W. Jackson Blvd., increased its review count by 38.2 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median review increase of 2.8 percent for the Yelp category “seafood.” It outperformed the previous month by gaining 1.9 times more reviews than expected based on past performance.
Sizzling Pot King offers Hunan cuisine and dry pot specialties. The menu is customizable and can range in heat levels from mild to wild. Seafood lovers will want to try the grilled-cooked clams or shrimp, squid balls, fish cake or Sichuan-style crawfish.
The Loop’s Free Rein is currently on the upswing in the New American category on Yelp.
While businesses categorized as “American (New)” on Yelp increased review counts by a median of 2.7 percent over the past month, this New American spot increased its count by 34.3 percent — with its Yelp rating declining slightly from 4.5 stars to four stars.
Open for business since July at 224 N. Michigan Ave. (between Wacker Place and Lake Street), the restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner fare including everything from fruit smoothies and buttermilk pancakes to poached trout and roast duck.
Hamilton-Burlington SPCA’s protection department brought in 44 felines on Wednesday.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Al’s Italian Beef, a longtime Chicago eatery, is being celebrated by the city and its fans for being a “cherished institution” known for its dipped (and dry) beef sandwiches. The eatery opened as a small neighborhood beef stand in the city’s Little Italy neighborhood in 1938 and the sandwich itself was said to be the idea of Al Ferrari and Chris Pacelli, Sr.
This week, Al’s Italian Beef will be honored with an 80th anniversary resolution by Chicago’s City Council with celebrations set for later this week.
On Wednesday October 17, there will be a private event with friends, family and longtime fans of the Chicago-famous beef sandwich. In the works is an Italian Beef Museum to showcase the history of Al’s that’ll include photographs, interviews and best wishes from fans in Chicago and around the world.
According to the eatery’s website “the family sold the delicious sandwiches at a neighborhood food stand and delivered them to local businesses until they opened their current location on West Taylor Street in Chicago. It was at this storefront where they added other items to the menu, including Italian sausage, Chicago hot dogs and homemade hand-cut French fries. Taylor Street remains as one of Chicago’s truly iconic food destinations.”
It will officially be declared “Al’s Beef Day” throughout the Chicago-area on Thursday October 18. That’s when from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. all locations will be selling their regular sized Italian beef sandwiches for 80 cents.
Looking to find out about the newest restaurant additions to downtown? From a Vietnamese spot to a sandwich shop, read on to see the newest businesses to open their doors in the heart of San Mateo.
Gao Viet Kitchen
313 S. San Mateo Drive
Gao Viet Kitchen recently made its debut a few blocks from San Mateo Central Park.
On the menu, offerings include steamed rice cakes with shrimp flakes, fried pork fat and shallots; mini savory pancakes topped with shrimp and served with lettuce and fresh herbs; lobster rice porridge; and whole live Maine lobster banh canh noodle soup with pork and quail egg.
Gao Viet Kitchen has proven popular thus far, with a four-star rating out of 66 reviews on Yelp.
“This place is pretty good,” Yelper Young K. wrote. “The street food and lettuce wraps were excellent. The clay pot was very good and they have some quality pork belly. They have a nice bar upstairs. It’s good for family and date nights, and the coconut ice cream was quite good.”
Yelper Maria S. added, “The place looks a little small, but they have an upstairs area with more seating. The decor is bright and colorful. The menu is definitely meant for sharing so make sure to bring a friend or two when you go.”
Swing on by to take a peek for yourself: Gao Viet Kitchen is open from 5-11 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday-Sunday. (It’s closed on Tuesday.)
106 S. B St.
This location of Uji Time started as a pop-up shop, but following a successful launch, the business announced its plans to stay put on its Facebook page. The ice cream shop also has locations in Berkeley and San Francisco.
Visitors can expect offerings like matcha, sesame and tofu ice cream served in waffle cones, cups or taiyaki cones. (For those who are unfamiliar, taiyaki are fish-shaped pastries stuffed with either red bean paste or Nutella).
Uji Time has kicked off to a solid start thus far, with a four-star rating out of 144 reviews on Yelp.
“A fun place to go for soft serve with a Japanese flair to it,” Yelper Joshua M. wrote. “The taiyaki cone and Asian flavors make it a unique and fun place to go with family and friends.”
Yelper Sara S. added, “Uji Time is definitely a must-try if you like Japanese sweets and matcha. The matcha ice cream is to die for — so smooth and creamy.”
Swing on by to take a peek for yourself. Uji Time is open from 1-9 p.m. from Monday-Thursday and Sunday, and 1-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
206 S. B St.
Over the summer, Fire Wings opened up shop in San Mateo with 20 wing flavors and beer on tap. The chain has eateries throughout California.
On the menu, check out bone-in or boneless wings with different heat levels in flavors like Sriracha, mango habanero, Buffalo stampede, Korean kick, Saigon street, Louisiana rub, Jamaican jerk and Malaysian curry.
With a four-star rating out of 157 Yelp reviews so far, the fresh addition is earning solid feedback.
“Loved this place,” Yelper Golden One A. said. “The wings were so good. I ordered Dragon and Saigon Street, and wow — so delicious.”
Chinsin S. added, “I’d totally recommend Fire Wings for any wing fanatic out there. To save you time, I’d skip all the boneless wings and go straight for the bone-in, classic wings. Seriously.”
Fire Wings is open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. from Monday-Thursday and Sunday, and 11 a.m.-midnight on Friday and Saturday .
The Ace of Sandwiches at Dean’s Produce
44 E. Fourth Ave
Last but not least is a deli named The Ace of Sandwiches at Dean’s Produce. Its original location is in Palo Alto.
Early birds, check out the breakfast menu, with offerings like the Big Shot Bagel: a bagel, egg, hash brown patty, bacon and cheese all in one. Also available is the Go Getter Breakfast: steel-cut oatmeal, hard-boiled egg, wheat toast and small coffee.
For lunch, look for a wide array of sandwiches, including the Over and Under with turkey, Buffalo chicken, melted three pepper Colby Jack cheese, jalapeno-cream cheese, lightning sauce, crisp bacon, lettuce, red onion and roasted red bell pepper on a toasted wheat roll. (Find the full list here.)
With a five-star rating out of nine reviews on Yelp, The Ace of Sandwiches at Dean’s Produce has been getting positive attention.
Yelper Aidan C., who reviewed the deli on July 7, wrote, “This place is so good! The owner is on top of it. It’s very clean, ingredients are very fresh and high quality. Bread is fresh. Best sandwich I have had that I can remember.”
Yelper Jerry H. wrote, “One of the best sandwich places in San Mateo. It is my go-to place for lunch when I am craving a good sandwich and they do not skimp on the meat or toppings, which are always fresh.”
The Ace of Sandwiches at Dean’s Produce is open from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. from Monday-Saturday. (It’s closed on Sunday.)
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, your favored breakfast spot may be the most important restaurant in your life. If you’re looking for a sure bet for breakfast in Elk Grove, one of these top cafés may have what you need.
Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top breakfast and brunch spots around the city, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of the best spots to venture next time you’re on the hunt for the perfect morning meal.
1. Rescate Coffee
Topping the list is Rescate Coffee. Located at 2475 Elk Grove Blvd., Suite 160, this family-owned, dog-friendly café doubles as a bakery specializing in cupcakes. Owners Anthony and Ladd Casillas can boast 4.5 stars out of 242 reviews on Yelp.
Reviewers rave about the chocolate muffins and ham and cheese croissants, as well as specialty coffee drinks like the honey bear latte. A portion of sales go to benefit local animal rescue organizations.
2. The Waffle Experience
Next up is The Waffle Experience, situated at 8351 Elk Grove Blvd., Suite 100 With four stars out of 184 reviews on Yelp, this breakfast and brunch-only eatery has proven to be a local favorite for its daily offerings of the eponymous waffles, as well as pork belly-heavy breakfast favorites like eggs Benedict.
For a combination of the two, check out the Praise the Lard: pork belly and an egg served over a lardon-studded herb waffle.
3. Sweet Puffs Ice Cream
Sweet Puffs Ice Cream, located at 8469 Elk Grove Blvd., Suite 6, is another top choice. Yelpers give the combination breakfast and dessert spot four stars out of 163 reviews for house specialties like ice cream filled doughnuts, and ice cream sandwiches made with two fresh waffles.
Diners can top any creation with everything from Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal to mochi pieces to marshmallow creme sauce.
4. Hea Tea
Hea Tea, a bubble tea café that also serves snacks and breakfast food, is another well-liked go-to, with four stars out of 160 Yelp reviews.
Yelpers praise its waffles with whipped cream, ice cream and syrup, as well as the Hong Kong-style egg puffs. Head over to 2619 W. Taron Court, Suite 150 to see for yourself.
5. Mel Dog’s Cafe
Last but not least, check out Mel Dog’s Cafe, which has earned four stars out of 124 reviews on Yelp. You can find the classic American diner at 9766 Waterman Road, Suite B if you’re interested in trying its savory breakfast fare, like the Louisiana Scramble, with hot links, onions and bell peppers.