It’s no secret that locals have been flocking to the suburbs during the past year—so it comes as no surprise that a handful of hotly anticipated restaurant openings would follow. Here’s where you’ll find us first.
Tempting options from the all-day menu at Oaken Bistro + Bar
1. Lucca Osteria & Bar
Inspired by chef Claudio Ulivieri’s hometown of Altopascio, Italy, this new restaurant is delighting taste buds in Oak Brook. Opened with partner and industry vet Steven Hartenstein (Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants), the Italian restaurant’s menu highlights include la salsiccia pizza (homemade sausage, bufala mozzarella and mushrooms), spaghetti neri (squid ink pasta with clams, garlic, breadcrumbs and bottarga), branzino al forno and a hearty 24-ounce bone-in prime ribeye. 1415 W. 22nd St., Oak Brook, 630.866.7234, luccaosteria.com
2. Oaken Bistro + Bar
Recently opened North Shore destination Oaken Bistro + Bar is tucked inside the new Forester hotel. Helmed by executive chef Kristen Burman, the Janko Hospitality space focuses on local ingredients and menus that change with the seasons that are best enjoyed on the patio (there’s indoor dining as well). Just be sure to pop in for happy hour. Dubbed “The Oaken 5,” the menu highlights five starters and five cocktails for $5 each. 200 N. Field Drive, Lake Forest, oakenbistro.com
3. The Graceful Ordinary
There’s a new waterfront restaurant in town—as in along the Fox River in west suburban St. Charles—and it’s not to be missed. Opened by chef Chris Curren and wife Megan in partnership with Conrad and Curt Hurst of Frontier Development, the 4,700-square-foot American tavern is tucked inside the old BMO Harris Bank building and dishes out small plates alongside robust cocktail, wine and beer programming. Expect elevated tavern fare like shaved and marinated summer squash and wood-roasted, dry-aged strip steak for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, as well as an eye-catching aesthetic by interior design firm D+K (the faces behind notable spots like The Darling and Bar Takito). 1 E. Main St., St. Charles, @thegracefulordinary