We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to discover which eateries have been in the spotlight 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 places are extra hot this winter.
Wildberry Pancakes And Cafe
PHOTO: CASSIE Z./YELP
Open since December 2017, this fourth outpost of the popular local pancakes chain is trending compared to other restaurants categorized as "Breakfast & Brunch" on Yelp.
Citywide, such eateries saw review counts increase by a median of 1.8 percent over the past month, but Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe saw a 12.4 percent increase, maintaining a solid 4.5-star rating throughout. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis review counts increased by more than 320 percent.
It's not the only trending outlier in the breakfast and brunch category: 7 Plates Cafe has seen a 22.8 percent increase in reviews, and Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken has seen a 5.9 percent bump.
Located at 196 E. Pearson St. (between Seneca Street and Michigan Avenue) in Streeterville, the cafe offers popular items like blackberry key lime pancakes, Berry Bliss French toast, the Butcher Block skillet with barbacoa chilaquiles, and chicken salad with strawberry bread.
PHOTO: JOCELYN Z./YELP
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Streeterville's Grandee Cuisine, the dim sum and Cantonese spot, which offers seafood and more, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "Seafood" on Yelp increased their review count by a median of 2.5 percent over the past month, Grandee Cuisine bagged a 25.4 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a sound four-star rating. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 1.9 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance.
Open at 215 E. Grand Ave. (between St. Clair Street) since June, Grandee Cuisine offers dim sum options like beef tripe with ginger and onion; pork and shrimp shu mai; chicken feet with special sauce; and octopus with curry sauce.
Entrees include marinated duck, spicy Dungeness crab and an oxtail casserole, along with soups, salads and appetizers. The full menu can be seen here.
PHOTO: TIM M./YELP
Lincoln Park's Nighthawk AM, open late some days and only in the morning on others, is currently on the upswing in the sandwich category on Yelp.
While businesses categorized as "Sandwiches" on Yelp increased review counts by a median of 1.9 percent over the past month, this breakfast and brunch spot, which offers coffee and tea and sandwiches, increased its by 14.7 percent--and kept its rating consistent at four stars.
Open for business at 2273 N. Lincoln Ave. (between Belden Avenue and Geneva Terrace) since July of 2016, the business offers creative breakfast fare and comfort food.
Try the Morning Colonel -- battered fried chicken with Nashville hot mayo on an English muffin -- or the B.E.C. with applewood smoked bacon, cheddar and scrambled eggs, also on an English muffin. If you're craving something sweet, try the cookie dough in flavors like IPOP, Yabba Dabba Dough, Just Jacked and Maple Bacon.
Photo: DANIELA A./Yelp
Is Avondale's La Nonna on your radar? According to Yelp review data, the Argentine-Italian spot is heating up.
While businesses categorized as "Italian" on Yelp increased their review count by a median of 1.6 percent over the past month, La Nonna nabbed a 7.4 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, with a modest upward trend from a 4.5-star rating a month ago to its current stellar five stars.
Located at 3400 N. Lawndale Ave. (between Roscoe Street and Cornelia Avenue.), La Nonna offers empanadas (made with beef, chicken, ham and cheese and veggie) and migas: an egg, ham and red pepper skillet scrambled with tortillas.
For dessert, try chocoflan or panqueque filled with dulce de leche and topped with seasonal fruit.