We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to discover which eateries have been getting extra attention 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 have the momentum heading into springtime.
Munno Pizzeria & Bistro
PHOTO: DENYCE m./YELP
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Ravenswood's Munno Pizzeria & Bistro, the wine bar and Italian spot, which offers pizza and more, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "Italian" on Yelp increased their review count by a median of 1.2 percent over the past month, Munno Pizzeria & Bistro bagged a 38.7 percent increase in new reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a convincing 4.5-star rating. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 1.5 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance.
Open at 4656 N. Clark St. (between Wilson and Leland avenues) since June 2018, Munno Pizzeria & Bistro offers appetizers, pasta, salad and desserts. Take a look at the salami plate appetizer, grab some ravioli or lasagna or delve into a Funghi pizza with fresh mozzarella and truffle oil. (Check out the full menu here.)
Photo: LA MEJIKANA/Yelp
Pilsen's La Mejikana is also making waves.
Open since October 2018 at 1820 S. Ashland, the bar and Mexican spot has seen a 31.4 percent bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.9 percent for all businesses tagged "Mexican" on Yelp.
La Mejikana offers tacos in handmade blue tortillas with unique toppings; fan favorites include Pechugita asada (charbroiled chicken breast) with chimichurri-cilantro and Lomita planchado (marinated rib eye) with raw tomatillo salsa, green apple and grilled panela cheese. Other menu offerings include ceviche, elote, huaraches and cemitas poblanas (Puebla style sandwiches.) Over the past month, it's maintained a solid 4.5-star rating among Yelpers.
Mesler Kitchen | Bar | Lounge
PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER V./YELP
Hyde Park's Mesler Kitchen | Bar | Lounge is the city's buzziest New American spot by the numbers.
The bar and New American spot, which opened at 1401 E. 53rd St. (between Dorchester and Blackstone avenues) in September 2018, increased its review count by 32.4 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median review increase of 2 percent for the Yelp category "American (New.)" It outperformed the previous month by gaining 2.0 times more reviews than expected based on past performance.
It's not the only trending outlier in the New American category: Gigi's Kitchen has seen a 36.4 percent increase in reviews.
Mesler Kitchen | Bar | Lounge offers brunch staples like smoked salmon bagels, shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles. For dinner, choose from pastas, steaks and nightly specials as well as desserts like seasonal fruit tarts and Tres Leches Cake.
Bill's Bar & Burger
Photo: CHRIS M./Yelp
The Near North's Bill's Bar & Burger is currently on the upswing in the burger category on Yelp.
While businesses categorized as "Burgers" on Yelp increased review counts by a median of 1.6 percent over the past month, this sports bar and breakfast and brunch spot, which offers burgers and more, increased its by 16.9 percent--and kept its rating consistent at 3.5 stars. Review counts increased by more than 200 percent on a month-to-month basis.
Open for business at 30 E. Hubbard St. (between Wabash Avenue and State Street) since May 2018, the business offers starters like loaded nachos and wings, chicken sandwiches and fish tacos. Robust burgers are also on the menu -- one called the Windy City Burger is made with Italian beef and features provolone cheese and giardiniera. (View the menu here.)
PHOTO: DEVAN K./YELP
Open since July 2018, this traditional American and Belgian spot, which offers fast food and more, is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "American (Traditional)" on Yelp.
Citywide, businesses tagged "American (Traditional)" saw a median 1.7 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, but Friistyle saw a 19.5 percent increase, maintaining a strong four-star rating throughout.
Located at 5059 S. Prairie (between 51st and 50th streets) in Bronzeville, Friistyle offers creatively topped fries buried under a variety of meats and vegetables. Toppings include smoked chicken wings, roasted veggies and roasted lamb. Try the popular Jerk Salmon, a filet with dill aioli and mango salsa served on a bed of pomme frites. (Check out the full menu here.)
This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we're doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.