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Gaijin, by Chef Paul Virant (four-time James Beard Foundation Best Chef nominee, 2007 Food & Wine Best New Chef and Michelin Star winner) is Chicago’s first okonomiyaki restaurant, offering both Hiroshima and Osaka styles of the savory Japanese pancake. A self-described gaijin, or “outsider” in Japanese, Virant embraces this perspective with traditional preparations and techniques, as well as pickling and preserving. The 60-seat space is anchored by a custom 12-foot griddle and chef’s counter and offers individual Hiroshima teppan griddles for table service. 

Pastry chef Angelyne Canicosa (Vie, Vistro) brings her desserts to Gaijin with a menu featuring kakigori, a shaved ice dessert, along with mochi donuts and other Japanese-inspired treats. The bar program, led by beverage director Julius White (Vie), showcases highballs and a focused selection of beer – including a Moody Tongue-Gaijin collaboration house lager, sake, Japanese whisky, and wine. 

Gaijin (950 W. Lake St.) will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.


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