Inside these posts: Chicago restaurants

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Chicago again tops in AAA Five Diamond restaurant guide

Chef Grant Achatz places a dish on a server's tray at Alinea, one of the Chicago restaurants featured in the AAA's latest restaurant guide. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Chicago ranked as the top town for foodies in AAA’s latest restaurant guide, a title the city is holding for the fifth year in a row.

The AAA Motor Club gave seven restaurants in Chicago five diamonds for 2011, the travel agency’s highest rating. Las Vegas ranks second with five restaurants, and New York is third with three. Get the full story »

Chipotle developing Asian restaurant concept

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is developing an Asian restaurant concept modeled after the successful fast-casual burrito chain.

Chipotle founder and co-Chief Executive Steve Ells and a small team from the company are developing the concept, whose name wasn’t disclosed. They plan to open one location next year. Get the full story »

Extreme Pita opens in Orland Park

An Extreme Pita interior. (Photo courtesy of Extreme Pita)

Extreme Pita, a Mediterranean fast-food chain concept for health-conscious consumers, opened its first Chicago-area location last week. The Orland Park store is one of 25 the chain has in the works for the region over the next five years.

“There is a real opportunity for us to carve out a niche market in Chicago,” Ray Zandi, vice president of U.S. development for Extreme Pita said, in a statement. “With a large population that has a sizeable segment tending toward health consciousness, Chicago is a natural fit for our vision of inspiring healthy living.”

Founded in 1997, the Mississauga, Ontario-based chain has more than 300 locations, many of them in Canada. But the chain is growing fast in the U.S. Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Chicago-based Technomic described Extreme Pita as a Subway restaurant, but with pita. Customers can watch their sandwiches being custom-made at the counter. Get the full story »

Head of Flat Out Crazy looks to expand chain

From Restaurant News | Greg Carey, president and chief operating officer of Chicago-based Flat Out Crazy Restaurant Group, says his company plans to start growing again over the next 18 months and has secured $8 million from U.S. Bank and HillStreet Fund IV to do it. The company owns Rainforest Cafe and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, and is now targeting Texas, the Rocky Mountain states and the mid-Atlantic region for developing about six Stir Crazy casual-dining restaurants and about nine fast-casual Flat Top Grills, where guests create their own stir-frys.

Francesca’s Restaurants says hello to Wisconsin

Francesca’s Restaurants is taking its menu on the road to Wisconsin, its first market outside of the Chicago area.

The Chicago-based chain, which has grown to 20 locations since its first Italian restaurant opened on North Clark Street in 1992, said it will open a restaurant on July 7 on Madison’s Capital Square. The eatery will operate under the name Francesca’s al Lago.

Tossed looks to open restaurants in Chicago

By Ameet Sachdev | Tossed, a salad-restaurant concept that started in New York in 1998, said Wednesday that it is looking to open restaurants in Chicago. Tossed has targeted the Windy City as part of a wider expansion into Seattle, Portland and California, the company said in a news release.

The restaurant did not provide more details about its plans for Chicago.

Chick-fil-A to open store in city of Chicago in 2011

By Kiah Haslett |
If the Chicago suburbs are too far a journey for Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, wait a year.

Chick-fil-A is planning to open its first restaurant in the city of Chicago in 2011, followed by one or two more by the year’s end. Ultimately, the company hopes to have 25 restaurants in five years.

The Chicago market is unique because half of the residents live in the urban core of the city. Until now, this has run up against Chick-fil-A’s suburban sprawl strategy of free-standing restaurants near retail developments.

Get the full story »