Dining out: New restaurants, make your own Bloody Mary bar and more

Celebrity chef Rick Bayless is bringing his torta concept Tortazo to Old Orchard.
Courtesy of Tortazo

We’ve got a bunch of new spots for you to try out in the coming weeks, including outposts from acclaimed chefs Rick Bayless and Paul Virant. We’ve also got some spots where you can spice up your weekend brunch plans with an interactive Bloody Mary bar, or go the opposite way and grab a delicious-looking mango smoothie.

Coming soon

Several new eateries opened this week or are opening soon around the suburbs, which is always welcome news. Carve out some time to check out these spots:

Bruster’s has opened its first Illinois location in Aurora.
Courtesy of the City of Aurora

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream

Bruster’s, which has over 200 locations in 22 states and Guyana, opened its first Illinois location last weekend at 2440 S. Eola Road, Aurora. The chain features 150 flavors of handcrafted ice cream, sherbet, sorbet and artisan desserts, including handmade waffle cones, customized sundaes, candy-filled blasts and milkshakes. They’re open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Chicago Ramen will serve dishes such as the white miso ramen at the new Des Plaines restaurant.
Courtesy of Chicago Ramen

Chicago Ramen

Japanese chef and restaurateur Kenta Ikehata is opening his seventh Chicago Ramen location on Thursday, May 16, at 3 E. Northwest Hwy. in Palatine. Ikehata was trained at Tsujita, one of the top ramen shops in Tokyo, and moved to Los Angeles to open the first U.S. location. He’ll be adding Chicago Ramen locations in St. Charles and Crystal Lake this summer.

Petite Vie

Chef Paul Virant is opening Petite Vie on Tuesday, May 21. The French cafe and brasserie, located at 909 Burlington Ave. in Western Springs, is just around the corner from his celebrated restaurant Vie, which closed in October 2023 after a 19- year run. Virant is a past James Beard nominee, Food & Wine best new chef and is the 2024 Jean Banchet Awards Chef of the Year. Virant also operates Vistro Prime in nearby Hinsdale and Gaijin in Chicago’s West Loop.

Tequila Val’s Mexican Grill & Cantina

Tequila Val’s recently opened at 309 Meier St. in East Dundee, transforming the space that was the longtime home of the Anvil Club. The menu features classic Mexican fare like tacos, burritos and tortas along with numerous signature entrees, including lamb shank birria and a fajita molcajetero for two.

Celebrity chef Rick Bayless is bringing his torta concept Tortazo to Old Orchard.
Courtesy of Tortazo


Celebrity chef Rick Bayless is opening the second Chicago-area location of his fast-casual Mexican concept Tortazo in the Old Orchard shopping center in Skokie on Saturday, May 25. The Mexico City-style torteria highlights the famous Mexican sandwich, the torta, as well as freshly prepared margaritas, tacos, quesadillas and made-to-order churros. Bayless will hold a “torta cutting” at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 25, with the first 100 guests receiving a free torta.

Several Scott Harris Hospitality restaurants are offering interactive Bloody Mary bars.
Courtesy of Scott Harris Hospitality

Make your own Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary resurgence is real. The ultimate brunch cocktail is everywhere these days. And if you’re feeling creative, you can check out the new Bloody Mary bars at several Scott Harris Hospitality restaurants. For $15, Davanti Enoteca locations in Lincolnwood, Naperville and Western Springs and Mio Modo in St. Charles will allow you to craft your own cocktail. Guests start with a glass of Tito’s vodka and can then go wild with tomato juice, veggies, cheese, bacon and more. It’s available during brunch on Saturdays and Sundays at Davanti and Sundays only at Mio Modo.

Enjoy Thai mango two ways for a limited time at Gong Cha.
Courtesy of Gong Cha

This looks mango-rific

I’ll be honest, I’ve never had bubble tea, so I’ve never been to Gong Cha in Naperville. But now that I’ve seen this picture of these drinks, that’s going to have to change. From Monday, May 20, through June 30, you can try Thai mango two ways: The Thai Mango Smoothie features a creamy mango and green tea slush poured over fruity passion fruit jelly and topped with a mango drizzle, while the Thai Mango Milk Tea features layers of passion fruit jelly and a creamy green milk tea topped with a mango drizzle.

Happy anniversary

Congratulations are in order for Wilmette’s AO Sushi, which is celebrating 40 years in business. They started as Rainbow Fish House in 1984, selling fish and sashimi. They later changed their name to Sea Ranch and added a full-service sushi bar. Now known as AO Sushi, they still sell fresh fish to take home in addition to being a full-service sushi restaurant.

Your favorite burger

Did you know May is National Burger Month? In fact, May 28 is National Burger Day. We’d like to know who makes your favorite burger for a story we’re putting together to honor the occasion. And yes, while I’m sure the burger you make at home is awesome, we’re limiting suggestions to suburban restaurants. Email your favorite burger spot to for consideration for next week’s story. Thanks!

Email dining events to

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button