We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to uncover 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 getting plenty of attention, right now.
PHOTO: MINA N./YELP
Open since February 2018, this spot to score fast food and pizza is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Pizza" on Yelp.
Citywide, pizza spots saw review counts increase by a median of 1.2 percent over the past month, but MOD Pizza saw a 32.4 percent increase, maintaining a healthy four-star rating throughout. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis review counts increased by more than 370 percent.
It's not the only trending outlier in the pizza category: Stix n Brix Wood Fired Pizza has seen a 18.5 percent increase in reviews.
Located at 1000 W. North Ave., Suite D-102 in Ranch Triangle, MOD Pizza offers pies like the "Tristan," with mozzarella, asiago, roasted red peppers, mushrooms and pesto. You can also build your own pies, with a large selection of ingredients on hand. (See the menu.)
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about West Loop Gate's Bellemore, the New American spot is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "American (New)" on Yelp increased their review count by a median of 2 percent over the past month, Bellemore bagged a 16.1 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, with a slight upward trend from a four-star rating a month ago to its current 4.5 stars. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 11.5 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance.
There's more that's trending on Chicago's New American scene: Pacific Standard Time has seen a 13.9 percent increase in reviews.
Open at 564 W. Randolph St. (between Jefferson and Clinton streets) since November 2017, Bellemore's items include the oyster pie, carrot bruschetta with mint and Hawaiian rolls.
Jibarito's on Harlem
Photo: SAMANTHA M./Yelp
Schorsch Village's Jibarito's on Harlem is also making waves.
Open since September 2018 at 3317 N. Harlem Ave., the Puerto Rican spot, which offers comfort food and sandwiches, has seen a 29.8 percent bump in reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.5 percent for all businesses tagged "Sandwiches" on Yelp.
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. Over the past month, it's maintained a mixed 3.5-star rating among Yelpers.
Tea Pot Brew Bakery
PHOTO: RHONDA F./YELP
Tea Pot Brew Bakery is the city's buzziest coffee and tea spot by the numbers.
The bakery, which offers coffee and tea and more and opened at 1802 S. Wabash Ave. (between Cullerton and 18th streets) in Fall 2018, increased its review count by 28.6 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median review increase of 2.7 percent for the Yelp category "Coffee & Tea." It outperformed the previous month by gaining 3.3 times more reviews than expected based on past performance.
Tea Pot Brew Bakery offers teas in more than 30 flavors like chocolate chai and cinnamon plum. Homemade goods, like pumpkin cheese muffins and spiced cake with cream cheese have people coming back for more. (See this spot's full offerings.)
PHOTO: Trillion J./YELP
Open since August 2018, this German, Southern and breakfast and brunch spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Breakfast & Brunch" on Yelp.
Citywide, businesses tagged "Breakfast & Brunch" saw review counts increase by a median of 1.6 percent over the past month, but Funkenhausen saw a 14.5 percent increase, maintaining a strong 4.5-star rating throughout.
Located at 1709 W. Chicago Ave. (between Hermitage Avenue and Paulina Street) in West Town, Funkenhausen offers brunch favorites like Swedish pancakes with roasted apples and whipped cream. And at dinner, there's hearty meat and seafood dishes, as well as fruit and veggie-packed salads. (View the full menus here.)