We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to analyze which local businesses 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 increase their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance.
Read on to see which spots are worth exploring, right now.
Jibarito's On Harlem
Photo: SAMANTHA G./Yelp
Open since September, this Puerto Rican spot, which offers comfort food, sandwiches and more, is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Sandwiches" on Yelp.
Citywide, sandwich spots saw review counts increase by a median of 2 percent over the past month, but Jibarito's on Harlem saw a 44.8 percent increase, maintaining a mixed 3.5-star rating throughout.
Located at 3317 N. Harlem Ave. in Schorsch Village, Jibarito's on Harlem offers generous portions of jibaritos (a sandwich made with flattened, fried green plantains instead of bread) and mofongos (balls of mashed plantains). Both menu items come filled with meat, chicken or seafood. (See the full menu here.)
Walton Street Kitchen and Bar
Photo: DANIEL Y./Yelp
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about the Near North's Walton Street Kitchen and Bar, the New American wine bar and breakfast and brunch spot is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "Breakfast & Brunch" on Yelp increased their review count by a median of 1.9 percent over the past month, Walton Street Kitchen and Bar bagged a 38.7 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, with a slight downward trend from a 4.5-star rating a month ago to its current four stars.
There's more that's trending on Chicago's breakfast and brunch scene: etta has seen a 23.3 percent increase in reviews.
Open at 912 N. State St. (between Walton Street and Delaware Place) since September, Walton Street Kitchen and Bar's menu highlights include its lamb skewers, classic hamburger salmon entree with Brussels sprouts and desserts like the turtle pie. (See all of its menus here.)
Photo: FURIOUS SPOON/Yelp
Andersonville's Furious Spoon is also making waves.
Open since last April at 5406 N. Clark St. (between Rascher and Balmoral avenues), the ramen spot has seen a 15.6 percent bump in reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 2.6 percent for all businesses tagged "Ramen" on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis review counts increased by more than 500 percent.
This location offers menu items like shio ramen with chicken dumplings, a spicy beef ramen and a spicy "Furious" tonkotsu ramen with chicken dumplings and spicy tonkotsu broth. (See this spot's full offerings here.)
DrinkHaus Supper Club
Photo: DRINKHAUS SUPPER CLUB/Yelp
Greektown's DrinkHaus Supper Club is currently on the upswing in the cocktail bar category on Yelp.
While businesses categorized as "Cocktail Bars" on Yelp increased review counts by a median of 3 percent over the past month, this cocktail bar and Cajun/Creole and Southern spot increased its by 24.5 percent--and kept its rating consistent at three stars. Review counts increased by more than 430 percent on a month-to-month basis.
Open for business at 820 W. Jackson Blvd. (between Green and Halsted streets) since September, the business offers cocktails that go well with Southern comfort favorites, like chef Maurice's famous bread pudding, Creole fried lobster tail, shrimp po'boys with creole sauce on butter garlic rolls and buttermilk chicken & waffles. (See the menu here.)
Photo: DANIEL Y./Yelp
Is popular Meet Fresh on your radar? According to Yelp review data, the spot to score desserts and shaved ice is seeing plenty of action.
While businesses categorized as "Desserts" on Yelp increased their review count by a median of 1.9 percent over the past month, Meet Fresh nabbed an 18.5 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a mixed 3.5-star rating.
Located at 2026 S. Clark St., Unit A & B (at Archer Avenue.), Meet Fresh offers Taiwanese desserts such as shaved ice in flavors like mocha and strawberry; a tofu pudding served with toppings like sweet potato, red beans or taro balls; plus an almond or ginger syrup and an almond pudding with mocha and noodle jelly.