We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to discover which local businesses have been getting outsized 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 are extra cool this spring.
Figo Wine Bar
Photo: Figo Wine Bar/Yelp
Open since 2018, this wine bar and Italian spot, which offers tapas and more, is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Italian" on Yelp.
Citywide, Italian spots saw a median 1.2 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, but Figo Wine Bar saw a 25.5 percent increase, maintaining a convincing 4.5-star rating throughout. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis Figo Wine Bar's review count increased by more than 150 percent.
Located at 3207 N. Sheffield Ave. (between School Street and Belmont Avenue) in Lakeview, Figo Wine Bar offers eggplant parmigiana, meatballs, fried calamari and more.
Windy City Ribs
Photo: Andy N./Yelp
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Windy City Ribs, the whiskey bar and traditional American spot, which offers barbecue and more, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "American (Traditional)" on Yelp saw a median 1.6 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, Windy City Ribs bagged a 19.6 percent increase in new reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a mixed three-star rating. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 2.5 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance.
Open at 67 E. Cermak Road (between Federal Street and Michigan Avenue) since 2017, Windy City Ribs offerssandwiches, tacos, buffalo wings and more.
West Town's Pokeworks is also making waves. Open since 2015 at 1017 W. Lake St. (between Morgan and Carpenter streets), the sushi bar, which offers salads, poke and more, has seen a 13.7 percent bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.9 percent for all businesses tagged "Salad" on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis Pokeworks's review count increased by more than 500 percent.
Pokeworks offers signature dishes like the Hawaiian, Umami or Shiso Salmon, but they also serve up a build your own bowl, burrito or salad. Over the past month, it's maintained a superior 4.5-star rating among Yelpers.
The River Kitchen and Bar
Photo: The River Kitchen and Bar/Yelp
Lakeview's The River Kitchen and Bar is the city's buzziest New American spot by the numbers.
The sports bar and New American spot, which opened at 2909 N. Sheffield Ave. (between Oakdale Avenue and George Street) in 2018, increased its new review count by 34.3 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 2.3 percent for the Yelp category "American (New)."
It's not the only trending outlier in the New American category: Virtue Restaurant has seen a 20.4 percent increase in reviews.
The River Kitchen and Bar offers tacos, flatbreads, sandwiches and more.
Photo: Thomas L./Yelp
Open since 2018, this cocktail bar, which offers desserts, burgers and more, is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Desserts" on Yelp.
Citywide, businesses tagged "Desserts" saw a median 2.4 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, but Onward saw a 25.5 percent increase, maintaining a healthy 4.5-star rating throughout. It gained 2.5 times more reviews than expected based on past performance, significantly outperforming the previous month.
Located at 6580 N. Sheridan Road (between Albion and Loyola avenues) in Rogers Park, Onward offers a brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert and cocktail menu.
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.