JANUARY 5 new restaurants and bars to start off 2018 right

To keep tabs on every Chicago restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past thirty (or so). Let’s eat.

Maillard Tavern
River West

This corner spot on Grand, Halsted and Milwaukee avenues in River West (or is that West Town?), is a warm, casual burger joint with a bar and enough room to seat 40. To unknowing first-timers, it might seem like a perfectly fine no-fuss place for delicious griddled patties, which is the appeal. But we know (and you know) it comes from the crew behind the acclaimed Italian restaurants Piccolo Sogno and Nonnina. You’re here for the burgers, and you’ve got plenty of options. The namesake Maillard burger features double 4-ounce patties with crispy onions, bacon and onion jam, pickles, dijon mayo and melty cheddar. There’s also duck fat fries. And milkshakes. What more could you ask for?
494 N. Milwaukee Ave. (map)

Elizabeth Bowers