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EATER: The Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings in Chicago, Spring 2021

If Chicago stays healthy, expect a huge April for the city’s restaurants

by Ashok Selvam@ShokdieselMar 11, 2021, 6:17pm CST

The mood is decidedly different this spring compared to last year when the restaurant industry had little idea what to expect from the remainder of 2020. No one had a realistic understanding of COVID-19’s impact with many believing the disease would cause only a brief interruption. But weeks turned to months and restauranteurs began to realize their plans for 2020 were far from concrete.

Beyond daily operations, bank accounts dried up and some projects were cancelled. Many restaurants closed and mass layoffs sent workers racing to file unemployment claims. Openings were pushed back with the future of many upcoming venues left in limbo.

But spring, thanks to declining transmissions and multiple vaccines, has restored some confidence with April looking to be one of the biggest months for Chicago restaurants since 2019. That hope comes with caution as diners and bar patrons have a responsibility to follow safety rules. If they don’t, the dreams of 2021 will once more get pushed back indefinitely. Still, pragmatism can rest for a bit after a bitter February. Brighter days are ahead for Chicago. These are the most anticipated opening of the spring.

Soif Wine Lounge

Address: 2456 N. California Avenue, in the basement of Testaccio in Logan Square

Key Player: Aldo Zaninotto

Testaccio opened in 2020, but the Roman-inspired small plate spot didn’t get to spread its wings due to the pandemic. Owner Aldo Zaninotto (Osteria Langhe) has a background selling wines and retains those connections. He had big plans for the basement space that was once home to a dazzling number of mezcal when Todos Santos was operating. Zaninotto now plans on serving Italian and French wines, transforming the space into Soif Wine Lounge. Look for a more elegant room with booths and ambient lighting. Natural wines, grower champagnes, cocktails and small plates will be available downstairs this spring