In the past year, Uptown has been in the news for everything from Wilson Red Line station renovations to celeb chef Bobby Flay filming at the Green Mill. Though beloved fast-food chain Sonic Drive-In hasn't committed to opening its first Chicago location there yet, this North Side neighborhood has seen plenty of new bars and restaurants take up residence since the start of 2012. Consider this your to-do list the next time you're in the neighborhood.
844 W. Montrose Ave. 773-275-4000
Opened in: September
Uptown's latest watering hole is all about craft beer, with drafts such as The Lost Abbey Red Barn and Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin' ales at the ready. There's also something special for cocktail fans, too: Look for a handful of twisted classes to rotate seasonally. Right now, choices include a traditional pisco sour, Pimm's cup made with ginger beer and a blood orange sidecar made with Italian blood orange liqueur. To eat, shareable plates range from mussels cooked in Metropolitan Krankshaft kolsh to braised pork belly with poached apple and parsnip puree.
Lao Sze Chuan
4832 N. Broadway 773-293-4653
Opened in: September
Chef Tony Hu has a fleet of Chinatown restaurants, but he's probably most well-known for his first, Lao Sze Chuan. It's been serving traditional Szechuan cuisine since the late '90s, and now Hu has taken the concept north and opened a second Chicago location in the former Marigold storefront. The massive menu is about 90 percent the same as the Chinatown original, but the space itself resembles flashier sibling restaurant Lao You Ju with its plus red banquettes and candlelit tables. You can count on popular picks such as tea-smoked duck, dry chili chicken and crispy lemon shrimp, and though hot-pot cooking at your table isn't offered here, but you can order it already prepared.
4416 N. Clark St. 773-907-9900
Opened in: June
After a summer of settling into its farm-fresh space, chef Kristine Subido's chicken-centric cafe is welcoming a flock of new features for fall. Within the past month, she's launched Sunday brunch as well as weekday lunch. Brunch highlights include her take on fried chicken and waffles with house-made coconut jam and sriracha-black pepper butter, as well as a Longaniza sausage burger topped with a fried egg and toasted garlic mayo. Cooler weather brings new seasonal dishes such as braised greens with bacon, coconut and ginger (replacing summer's popular corn salad) as well as two new fall punches--featuring ingredients such as bourbon, apple cider and metaxa, a Greek herbal liqueur—set to debut by next weekend. And delivery service starts Tuesday, so you'll still be able to get your chicken fix even when it's too chilly to leave your nest.
4250 N. Marine Drive 773-880-9115
Opened in: May
Even though Razon has been open for four months, the tucked-away location inside Imperial Towers has kept it relatively hidden to those who don't live in the building. The dinner menu features cheese plates sourced from Pastoral as well as hearty dishes such as pulled pork with barbecue-glazed pears or polenta with mushroom ragu. Deals such as a $10 grass-fed beef burger and duck-fat fries and $25 three-course dinner on Wednesdays sound worth the trip.
Miso Asian Kitchen
4449 N. Broadway 773-728-4449
Opened in: March
This Pan-Asian restaurant has seating for 10 but does a swift business in carryout. Chinese takeout classics such as orange chicken and crab rangoon are most popular, but the menu includes Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean specialties. That means plenty of tuna and salmon donburri (rice bowls), beef bibimbap, chicken gyoza and maki to go around.
Baker & Nosh
1301 W. Wilson Ave. 773-989-7393
Opened in: January
Le Cordon Bleu chef instructor Bill Millholland's bakery and cafe has been going strong since opening at the tail end of January. Next week, the menu adjusts to welcome autumnal flavors such as spicy pumpkin or carrot-ginger-raisin coffee cake, plus the return of cold-weather customer favorites such as a roast beef sandwich. A rustic fruit tart with ricotta, dried figs, pine nuts and honey is also set to debut soon. Millholland continues to offer his basic bread-baking and croissant-making classes that launched back in July; find details on dates and rates at bakerandnosh.com.
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