Want the scoop on Chicago's most talked-about local spots?
We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to uncover which restaurants 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 are worth exploring, right now.
Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago
Open since November, this coffee roastery, which offers coffee and tea and more, is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Coffee & Tea" on Yelp.
Citywide, coffee and tea spots saw a median 2.3% increase in new reviews over the past month. Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago only recently appeared on Yelp, but while many new businesses struggle to gain reviews, it has seen strong initial popularity.
Want more about the business's specialties in the words of the people behind it? "Discover all five stories of Chicago's new Starbucks Reserve Roastery. Every step of the Roastery's 35,000 square feet promises you a spectacular journey through inventive beverages, extraordinary culinary creations, exclusive merchandise and of course, coffee." — that's from its Yelp page.
Located at 646 N. Michigan Ave. (between Ontario and Erie streets) in the Near North, Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago offers lattes, pastries and cocktails.
Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago is open from 7 a.m.–11 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.–midnight on Friday, 8 a.m.–midnight on Saturday and 8 a.m.–10 p.m. on Sunday.
Hubbard Inn River North
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about River North's Hubbard Inn River North, the bar, which offers seafood, tapas and more, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "Bars" on Yelp saw a median 1.5% increase in new reviews over the past month, Hubbard Inn River North appeared on Yelp relatively recently. Many new businesses struggle to gain reviews, but it has seen a surge of interest.
Here's more about the business, from its history section on Yelp: "A fixture on Hubbard Street for a decade, Hubbard Inn is now reopened after months of renovations bringing a new concept to River North. Guests will enjoy an evolving cocktail experience along with artistic presentations of worldly-influenced American fare as they move throughout the establishment."
Want more about the business's specialties in the words of the people behind it? "Hubbard Inn offers a shared American plate menu with worldly influences and an original and exciting cocktail program." — that's according to its page on Yelp.
There's more that's trending on Chicago's bar scene: Santa Baby Bar has seen an 18.8% increase in reviews.
Open at 110 W. Hubbard St. since November, Hubbard Inn River North offers oysters, crab dip and Champagne.
Hubbard Inn River North is open from 4 p.m.–midnight on Monday and Tuesday, 4 p.m.–2 a.m. on Wednesday-Friday and 4 p.m.–3 a.m. on Saturday. (It's closed on Sunday.)
Egg Harbor Cafe
Streeterville's Egg Harbor Cafe is also making waves. Open since November at 220 Upper E Illinois St., the cafe and breakfast and brunch spot is relatively new to Yelp, but has seen a surge of new reviews, while all businesses tagged "Breakfast & Brunch" on Yelp saw an increase of 1.2% for new reviews in the past month.
There's more than one hot spot trending in Chicago's breakfast and brunch category: Pochos has seen a 71.4% increase in reviews.
Egg Harbor Cafe offers omelets, sandwiches and soup. Over the past month, it's seen its Yelp rating tick down from five stars to 4.5 stars.
Egg Harbor Cafe is open from 6:30 a.m.–2 p.m. daily.
River North's Ciccio Mio is the city's buzziest Italian spot by the numbers.
The wine bar, cocktail bar and Italian spot, which opened at 226 W. Kinzie St. in October, is still relatively new to Yelp but has seen a surge of new reviews. Meanwhile, the median new review count for the Yelp category "Italian" was up 1.1% over the past month.
It's not the only trending outlier in the Italian category: Vapiano has seen a 7.9% increase in reviews.
Ciccio Mio offers shrimp scampi, canolis and gelato.
Ciccio Mio is open from 5–10 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and 5–midnight. on Friday and Saturday. (It's closed on Monday and Tuesday.)
The Boil Cajun Seafood
East Ukrainian Village's The Boil Cajun Seafood is currently on the upswing in the seafood category on Yelp.
While businesses categorized as "Seafood" on Yelp saw a median 1.1% increase in new reviews over the past month, this Cajun/Creole spot, which offers seafood and more, saw a surge in new reviews despite being relatively new to Yelp.
There's more abuzz in the world of Chicago seafood: Two Lights Seafood & Oyster has seen a 7.9% increase in reviews.
Open for business at 1805 W. Division St. (between Wood and Honore streets) since November, The Boil Cajun Seafood offers blue crabs, clams and shrimp.
The Boil Cajun Seafood is open from noon–10 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, noon–11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon–9 p.m. on Sunday.