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Pilsen, Little Village, West Loop

West Loop Restaurant Rundown: Yūgen Preps For Fall Opening And Starbucks’ Princi Opens

Plus: Poutine perfection at McDonald’s and another omakase coming to the West Loop.

Executive Chef Mari Katsumura will bring Yūgen, a contemporary Japanese fine dining experience, to the West Loop this fall.
Yugen Chicago/ Facebook
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WEST LOOP — A slew of new restaurants and shops are opening their doors — or aim to open soon — in the booming West Loop. 

Yūgen

Helmed by executive chef Mari Katsumura, Grace’s awaited replacement Yūgen will open at 652 W. Randolph St. this fall. The contemporary fine dining experience was inspired in part by her parents’ beloved Lakeview restaurant Yoshi’s Cafe.

“I grew up in their restaurant, watching and learning what it means to build your life around the pleasure of serving others,” Katsumura said in a statement.

“At home, we prepared and ate traditional Japanese dishes that shortened the distance between us and my parents’ homeland. It had — and continues to have, tremendous influence on my desire to recreate that powerful effect in my own cooking,” she said.

Katsumara previously worked at Grace, and most recently worked with Matthias Merges and Graham Elliot at Gideon Sweet, according to Eater. The highly regarded chef has won praise for her pastry work at Entente and Acadia.

Kastumara will be joined by pastry chef Jeanine Lamedieu and general manager Morgan Olszewski. Lamedieu previously worked at Michelin-rated Smyth + The Loyalist in the West Loop and Le Bernadin in New York.

The women-led team will offer two different dining experiences when Yūgen opens its doors this fall. One concept will offer a 68-seat fine dining experience with “two different ever-evolving tasting menus” of five or ten courses. The second will be a laid-back, casual bar and dining lounge serving up crafts spirits, cocktails and a la carte dishes inspired by Katsumura’s home cooking.

Princi 

Earlier this week, Starbucks opened Princi, an Italian bakery and cafe, at 1000 W. Randolph St. in the Fulton Market.

The spot offers artisanal bread, Milanese pastries, pizzas, cocktails, and, of course, coffee. Princi was created by Rocco Princiin in 1980 and opened his first store in Milan six years later.

The Tribune takes a sip and calls Princi’s desserts “big, bold and unapologetically brazen.”

Mako 

Joining in on the omakase restaurant surge, B.K. Park, chef at Juno in Lincoln Park, is heading to the West Loop to open Mako in November.

According to Eater, Park plans to offer “more seasonal ingredients and daring items” that go beyond just sushi when he opens the 13-seat counter and 10 table seats at the Parker, 730 W. Coach Place. Mako will offer a 23-course for $175, Eater reports.

New Global Menu at McDonald’s HQ

Earlier this summer, McDonald’s opened an eatery inside their West Loop headquarters. The popular food chain made waves when they opened the eatery dubbed McDonald’s Global Menu Restaurant, which offers a rotating menu featuring items from their international restaurants.

This month, the West Loop McDonald’s unveiled a new lineup of international menu items that include poutine fries from Canada, an Angus Maestro Burger from the Netherlands and a Hershey’s Cookies “N’ Creme McFlurry, a favorite at Latin American McDonald’s, Timeout reports.