We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to uncover which eateries 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 have the momentum heading into the end of the year.
House of Blues Restaurant & Bar
Photo: house of blues & restaurant/Yelp
Open since July, this New American spot, which offers burgers, barbecue and more, is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "barbeque" on Yelp.
Citywide, barbecue spots saw review counts increase by a median of 1.5 percent over the past month, but House of Blues Restaurant & Bar saw a 27.3 percent increase, with a slight upward trend from a three-star rating a month ago to 3.5 stars today. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis review counts increased by more than 600 percent.
Located at 329 N. Dearborn St. in Near North, House of Blues Restaurant & Bar offers live weekly music and fare options such as jambalaya, baby back ribs, blackened salmon and fried chicken. Flatbreads, salads, appetizers and a variety of other meats are also on offer. Check out its website for more information.
DrinkHaus Supper Club
Photo: DrinkHaus Supper Club/Yelp
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Greektown's DrinkHaus Supper Club, the cocktail bar and Cajun/Creole restaurant is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "cocktail bars" on Yelp increased their review counts by a median of 3.2 percent over the past month, DrinkHaus Supper Club bagged a 41.2 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, with a slight downward trend from a 3.5-star rating a month ago to its current three stars.
Open since September at 820 W. Jackson Blvd. (between Green and Halsted streets), DrinkHaus Supper Club offers a number of libations to pair with lunch and dinner fare. Look for notable menu options such as a fried or blackened catfish dinner, shrimp po'boys, Cajun chicken Alfredo and Creole fried lobster tail. Here's the menu.
Sizzling Pot King
Greektown's Sizzling Pot King is the city's buzziest seafood spot by the numbers.
The Chinese restaurant, which opened last year at 769 W. Jackson Blvd., increased its review count by 38.2 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median review increase of 2.8 percent for the Yelp category "seafood." It outperformed the previous month by gaining 1.9 times more reviews than expected based on past performance.
Sizzling Pot King offers Hunan cuisine and dry pot specialties. The menu is customizable and can range in heat levels from mild to wild. Seafood lovers will want to try the grilled-cooked clams or shrimp, squid balls, fish cake or Sichuan-style crawfish.
Photo: free rein/Yelp
The Loop's Free Rein is currently on the upswing in the New American category on Yelp.
While businesses categorized as "American (New)" on Yelp increased review counts by a median of 2.7 percent over the past month, this New American spot increased its count by 34.3 percent -- with its Yelp rating declining slightly from 4.5 stars to four stars.
Open for business since July at 224 N. Michigan Ave. (between Wacker Place and Lake Street), the restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner fare including everything from fruit smoothies and buttermilk pancakes to poached trout and roast duck.