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New on the scene: Logan Square

Over the past few years, Logan Square has become more and more of a magnet for bar and restaurant owners looking to set up shop—and a flurry of new openings this fall and winter have only cemented this status. Here's a close-up look at one recent addition, plus quick tastes of six others.

Fat Rice
2957 W. Diversey Ave. 773-661-9170
Opened in: Late November

Adrienne Lo and Abraham Conlon made their mark on Chicago's dining scene as the creators of underground dining club X-Marx. Hosted monthly at different restaurants, these pop-up dinners often featured overly ambitious-sounding fusions such as "Greeknamese" and "Japtaliano." And yet, when I first tried the food two years ago—hamachi collar and sushi rice risotto, miso-parmesan dashi—I was bowled over by how playful and smart the cross-cultural connections were. Now, Lo and Conlon are revisiting their earlier experiments with Euro-Asian fusion in a permanent restaurant inspired by the cuisine of Macau, a former Portuguese colony in China—a fitting concept for Lo's Chinese roots and Conlon's Portuguese heritage. --Elite Truong
>>Read our mini-review

 

Chicago Diner
2333 N. Milwaukee Ave. 773-252-3211
Opened: Late November

Lakeview's long-time vegetarian favorite (like the motto says, "Meat free since ’83") has opened a second location right off the California Blue Line stop. It's slightly larger with a full bar (look for cocktails such as a white manhattan with unaged rye) and the lunch, brunch and dinner menu is identical to the original—at least for now. –Lisa Arnett

 

Gaslight Coffee Roasters
2385 N. Milwaukee Ave. No phone
Opened: Late September

This bright, minimalist coffee shop has all the usual trappings—house-roasted beans, free wi-fi, tables for solo workers or groups—as well some unexpected food options. Substantial lunch and breakfast platters, which include meats, cheeses, pickles and bread, are heftier than the handful of muffins you'd find at most coffeehouses. And for those with a sweet tooth, look for pie from nearby Bang Bang Pie Shop on the weekends. –Kate Bernot

 

Ground Control
3315 W. Armitage Ave. 773-772-9446
Opened in: Early December

Husband-and-wife owners Dan Hanaway and Carrie Haase's love for sci-fi and David Bowie combined with a tattoo artist friend's drawing of a cartoon rocket shaped like a carrot (you can't miss it on the sign outside) inspired the name for this veggie-centric restaurant. Everything on the eclectic dinner menu is vegetarian (and can be made vegan by request), from fresh-made pasta to tofu hot wings to the seitan jibarito. Look for weekend brunch to debut soon. --LA

 

L'Patron
2815 W. Diversey Ave. 773-252-6335
Opened in: Early December

Former fast-food joint Nick's Gyros has morphed into this shiny new taqueria, where homemade tortillas come stuffed with marinated pork, breaded and fried fish or grilled veggies—which depending on the day, could range from beets to corn to zucchini. Wash it all down with homemade horchata or cucumber agua fresca. --LA

 

Reno
2607 N. Milwaukee Ave. 773-697-4234
Opened in: Late November
This new neighbor to wine bar Telegraph revolves around a wood-fired oven that turns out bagels in the morning and pizza and pasta at night. Pizzas are super-thin and big enough for sharing, with a chewy, slightly charred crust and topping combos such as butternut squash, sage, gruyere and walnuts. In the pasta department, the unlikely combo of lamb neck ragu, crispy slivers of fried eggplant and orange slices on fusilli bucatini really hit a home run. Look for vegan options such as a kale and green apple salad with curry-coconut milk dressing and a beet-hazelnut-thyme pizza—or Beetza, as they call it here. –LA


Suite 25
2529 N. Milwaukee Ave. 312-360-7478
Opened: Early December

What does an "ultra sports lounge" look like? This one from the owners of Rio's d'Sudamerica in Bucktown is a clubby hybrid of neon lights, DJ beats and huge TV screens—which, on a recent Friday night, were mostly tuned to music videos rather than an NBA game—with a giant Chicago sports mural in the mix. A cocktail list is reportedly in the works, but for now, beer, shots or bottle service are the way to wash down a South American-leaning menu. –KB

Reporters visit bars and restaurants unannounced and meals are paid for by RedEye.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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