Great architecture, world class designers and award-winning chefs come together to make Chicago one of the nation’s most exciting restaurant cities. Its newest, most buzzworthy restaurants offer up innovative,  on-trend designs and cuisines while maintaining a welcoming, comfortable vibe. Here we take a look at some newcomers to check out next time you visit the Windy City.

Momotaro

marketPhoto by Galdones PhotographyHoused in an 11,500-square-foot converted West Loop warehouse, Momotaro is a new addition to Boka Restaurant Group’s portfolio of red-hot Chicago concepts. Designed by New York-based AvroKO as an ode to mid-20th Century Japanese business culture, the three-story space offers multiple experiences, including a main dining room modeled after a Japanese office space and a bar set against a soaring backdrop of Japanese stock market-inspired signage. A lower-level 100-seat izakaya bar was inspired by Japanese street markets and food stalls near train stations, and a private dining space on the upper level evokes a 1950s Japanese board room. From an aesthetic standpoint alone, Momotaro breaks Japanese restaurant stereotypes in clever and unexpected ways.

The Betty

market2Photo by Nick FochtmanA contemporary take on the neighborhood bar, Footman Hospitality’s upscale tavern The Betty opened in January in the city’s Fulton Market District. It offers craft cocktails, wines and beers along with a sophisticated menu of small bites and shareable plates. Designed by Studio K Creative, the 5,000-square-foot space blends rich colors, reclaimed and contemporary materials, and ambient lighting to create a comfortably chic salon experience. Design highlights include a custom-made chandelier and shelves filled with books and vintage finds. Footman partner Jason Freiman says The Betty’s concept and design were carefully created to inspire guests to “relax, let their hair down and have a great night on the town.”

 The Kitchen

market3Photo by Galdones PhotographyLocated on the main floor of the landmark Reid Murdoch Building, The Kitchen comes to Chicago by way of Denver, where the now four-unit restaurant concept was born. The 6,500-square-foot Chicago outpost, designed by co-founder Hugo Matheson and Denver-based Semple Brown Design, features a large island bar and raw bar, communal and traditional seating, and terrific views of the Chicago River and skyline. A display kitchen adds to the vibe, and the interior blends modern elements, including custom chandeliers and mirror-backed sconces, with 1900s-era details, such as original concrete pillars, untouched plaster walls and reclaimed wood floors, for a look that’s warm and homey but still fresh and contemporary.