With the Chicago restaurant week kickstarting in a couple of days in 2024, let us know about the 20 most unique restaurant concepts in Chicago.
It is not an easy task to list the unique restaurants in Chicago. If you are an aspiring restaurant owner looking for unique restaurant concepts before launching your business, you will find several ideas within the walls of this Windy City.
But we understand that you do not wish to scour a list of 7,000 odd Chicago restaurants. So, we have prepared a list consisting of the top 20 most unique restaurant concepts. This will help you draw inspiration from, refine your business idea or even tweak the concept to stay in vogue.
The culinary capital of Chicago is a thriving food scene. It is known for its deep-dish pizzas, world-renowned hot dogs and many more mouth-watering culinary masterpieces. Chicago is home to a diverse array of restaurants that promise uniqueness along with a touch of tradition.
This blog lists 20 most unique restaurant concepts that shape the gastronomic landscape of the Windy city.
20 Most Unique Restaurant Concepts In Chicago
1) The Albert – The Albert bar is an ode to restaurants as an art and a science. It features fully functional copper and glass distillery. It aims to provide customers with an experience of classic Italian dishes with a twist. The test tube like chandelier that hangs from the ceiling and rows of science fiction novels lined throughout the bookshelves act as the decor for the bar. Foodies can choose from the science-inspired drinks list and enjoy the contemporary cuisine too.
2) The Game Room – Situated in Michigan Avenue, The Game Room is a retro-chic lounge offering classic cocktails and finger foods that can be relished along with bocce, pool, cards and foosball. This restaurant is all about dinner, drinks and friendly competition. This restaurant is the ideal spot to host group gatherings and birthday parties. The sprawling space on the second floor.
3) Au Cheval –Au Cheval situated in Randolph Street serves great cocktails. This upscale dining space has an open kitchen and has a distinctive menu that uses ingredients ranging from bologna to foie gras. Guests are welcomed on a first come first serve basis. This diner style bar and restaurant possesses a unique passion for eggs and serves egg-focused entrees. You can also indulge in chopped chicken liver, roasted bone marrow, traditional sandwiches or their signature cheeseburger.
4) Temporis- Temporis in Ashland Avenue offers a creative new American tasting menu. Diners can enjoy different wine pairings and cocktails in a chic setting. Temporis with its ever-evolving ten-course tasting menu provides an intimate dining experience with just 20 seats. The ingredients they use are grown in their own hydroponic garden. If you wish to make dining memories, this is the place to be as Temporis in Latin means time.
5) Harvest – Harvest in Marriott Downtown is a farm-to-table concept-based restaurant. It boasts of a 95% scratch kitchen with a culinary team that strives to achieve excellence in flavor, sustainability and service. If you want to enjoy a menu dominated by fresh, seasonal ingredients in every offering, this is the place to choose. Also visit their Reviver bar to enjoy contemporary cocktails or their curated beer and premium wine selection.
6) Bistronomic – If you wish to enjoy modern cuisine influenced heavily by French culture with great peace of mind for dinner throughout the week, Bistronomic in Wabash Avenue should be your ideal choice. It offers a very large patio seating area. This restaurant is Chef Martial Noguier’s long-time dream come true. This is a contemporary bistro that showcases ingredients from Midwest farms that is both approachable and affordable.
7) Untitled Supper Club – This supper club in Kinzie Street is a restaurant-cum-lounge serving American food and craft cocktails in an 18,000 square-feet space. The design is inspired by the prohibition era and the vibe is speakeasy. The menu includes shareable bites, perfect pastas and lusciously creative desserts. Along with dining and drinking, customers can enjoy world-class entertainment with weekly music and live cabaret performances by leading artists of Chicago.
8) Spin Chicago – Situated in 8 locations, Spin Chicago is an energetic hangout. The sprawling space has several Ping-Pong tables and offers global food, cocktails and live DJ music. Born from the eccentric idea of 2 best friends Jonathan Bricklin and Franck Raharinosy, this hangout for ping-pong parties now attracts artists, actors, musicians, bankers, brokers, broadcasters and several others who share the same craze for ping-pong as the two founders.
9) Bites Asian Kitchen + Bar –Situated in North Clark Street, you can visit this restaurant to enjoy Asian tapas, creative cocktails and sake in a rustic-chic ambiance. Choose to savor their vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free dishes alongside a fireplace or in their garden patio. This spot in Chicago celebrates cultures from around the world. Their menu offerings are inspired by the culinary traditions of Thailand, China, Japan and other oriental countries.
10) Aztec Dave’s Food Truck – This family run food truck situated in North California Avenue is also an event catering specialist. This elite food truck dishes out authentic Mexican favorites that the owner learnt from his grandmother but with a modern twist. Whether you choose to indulge in their flame-grilled meats or their original salsas, everything is homemade and prepared fresh every day with fresh ingredients and superior quality marinated meats.
11) The Blind Cafe – Their precautionary note to customers reads, “Remember to make room for whatever comes up for you in the dark.” This is because once you sign up for their signature program, “The Blind Cafe”, you choose to be a part of a pop-up event with concert, discussion and dinner in complete darkness without any blindfolds. The restaurant claims that your dinner in the dark is an opportunity to learn about yourself and widen your comfort zone. This dining experience is sure to be extraordinary as you dine in complete darkness without your visual conditioning, social etiquette and cell phones.
12) Chicago Sweatlodge –This water bar and cafe located in North Cicero Avenue is meant for rehydration. Visitors can also experience the Russian banya, a type of steam sauna. A Turkish massage and a delicious Mexican spread. Choose from a wide range of pierogies to chicken fajitas after your refreshing spa and massages.
13) Tack Room –This rustic-chic piano lounge bar and local cabaret is tucked behind Thalia Hall’s staircase. Tack Room serves selections from Dusek’s Kitchen with a range of premium cocktails, beer and snacks. This former carriage house has a patio. You can choose the outdoor seating to enjoy performances of pianists, singers and independent musicians and sing along as well.
14) Frontier – Located in North Milwaukee Avenue, Frontier is a strange restaurant that offers you options to devour whole animals ranging from raised pig, lamb, wild boar, goat, salmon, and antelopes to alligators. This unique restaurant has also formulated new ways to turn carnage into events. Choose this place to enjoy indulging in oysters, tap brews in a stylish lodge space with TVs, a fireplace and beer garden.
15) Alinea – This fine dining restaurant in North Halsted Street is run by Chef Grant Achatz. It draws food lovers with its evolving New American tasting menus and undoubtedly creative plates. Chef Grant Achatz always believes in pushing boundaries for the sake of achieving excellence and creativity. While they prefer adhering to conventional practices for certain dishes, they lend a different treatment to others.
16) Kaiser Tiger – Situated in West Randolph Street, Kaiser Tiger has a beer garden that is 80% enclosed with nine 10-foot-long infrared heaters. This is to keep the guests comfortable throughout the year. This bi-level gastropub serves more than 20 beers on rotating tap. If you are looking for a great destination to enjoy your weekend brunch, Kaiser Tiger is the place to be as it serves great snacks even late at night.
17) Carnivale – Carnivale was established in 2005. Operating from West Fulton Market, this lively eatery has won several awards and accolades for its Pan-Latin cuisine and craft cocktails. If you want to enjoy happy-hour food or vegetarian dishes in a festive, eclectic and global atmosphere, make a visit to this spot. Immerse yourself in the colorful decor, festive vibe and food from South America, Spain and the Caribbean.
18) Swift & Sons –This premier steakhouse located in West Fulton Market comes with a modern twist. If you were not aware, Fulton Market is the place where American steak was born. Swift & Sons not only elevates what has already been done but also evolves the American Steakhouse for modern customers. The sprawling space is swanky and features premium steaks, seafood along with a bi-level bar and house concierge.
19) Boka – Boka is an American restaurant in North Halsted Street. Diners can enjoy creative American cuisine in a stylish, modern setting with a lounge and candlelight back garden patio. Boka is the right place to be during this Restaurant Week 2024. Make a visit to enjoy the four-course prix fixe dinner for just $59. Indulge in their dry-aged beef tartare, grilled scallops, pork collar and delightful desserts.
20) El Ideas – El Ideas in West 14th Street is all about elevated dining. This upscale, intimate restaurant run by Chef Phillip Foss serves fixed-price American culinary fare. Do not forget to try EL Boxcar BBQ, their signature dish bade of bone-in beef rib, smoked and basted with their signature BBQ sauce and black peppercorns.
This blog would have helped you get a sneak peek into 20 restaurants in Chicago that are founded and function on unique concepts. For more about the restaurant industry, restaurant website building and digital marketing, stay tuned.