Unsure 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 restaurants have been getting outsized attention 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 extra cool, right now.
Open since 2017, this New American spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as “American (New)” on Yelp.
Citywide, New American spots saw review counts increase by a median of 2.1 percent over the past month, but Bellemore saw a 15.4 percent increase, with a slight upward trend from a four-star rating a month ago to 4.5 stars today. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis review counts increased by more than 1,100 percent.
Located at 564 W. Randolph St. (between Jefferson and Clinton streets) in West Loop Gate, Bellemore’s must-try items include the oyster pie and the carrot bruschetta with mint and Hawaiian rolls, which comes with country ham, cultured butter and smoked sesame seeds. Look out for entrees like brown butter-roasted cod with cauliflower; king salmon spiced with toasted berbere and rutabaga; and dry-aged duck glazed with burnt honey.
Whether or not you’ve been hearing buzz about Lake View East’s Maison Marcel, the well-established bakery and breakfast and brunch spot, which offers coffee and tea and more, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as “Breakfast & Brunch” on Yelp increased their review count by a median of 1.6 percent over the past month, Maison Marcel bagged a 4.3 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a mixed 3.5-star rating. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 11.0 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance.
Open at 3114 N. Broadway St. (between Briar Place and Barry Avenue) since 2017, Maison Marcel offers breakfast items like eggs Benedict, quiche, ratatouille, French pastries and breads ranging from baguettes to brioche. It also serves French-imported coffee and tea from Cafe Richards. (See this spot’s full offerings.)
Carnitas Uruapan Restaurant
The Heart Of Chicago’s Carnitas Uruapan Restaurant is also making waves with a new generation of customers. Open since 1975 in the same spot, 1725 W. 18th St. (at Wood Street), the popular Mexican spot attracts both locals and suburbanites. It has seen a 4.7 percent bump in reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 2.3 percent for all businesses tagged “Mexican” on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis review counts increased by more than 190 percent.
Carnitas Uruapan Restaurant offers carnitas (soft corn tortillas filled with shredded pork) that come with with refried beans, soft tacos, salsa and chicharonnes. On weekends, this spot also serves menudo (spicy beef tripe stew), enselada de napoles (cactus leaves salad) and papas con chorizo. Over the past month, it has maintained a strong 4.5-star rating among Yelpers. (Check out the menu).
Wicker Park’s Paradise Park is the city’s buzziest pizza spot by the numbers.
The bar, which offers pizza and more and opened at 1913 W. North Ave. (between Winchester and Elk Grove avenues) in August, increased its review count by 10.4 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median review increase of 1.3 percent for the Yelp category “Pizza.”
Paradise Park offers appetizers, calzones and pizzas like the vegetarian-friendly Strike A Posner with roma tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan on pesto; the meaty Party Boi with pepperoni, pepperoncini and marinara sauce; and the Smoke Show with blackened chicken, jalapeños, cream cheese and chili flakes on a garlic and olive oil base. (Here’s the menu.)