Chizakaya Opens Tonight

Chizakaya Offers an East-Meets-Midwest Dining and Drinking Experience

New Lakeview Restaurant Redefines the Izakaya Trend in Chicago

By melding the concept of a Japanese pub with its Chicago locale, Chizakaya, which opens tonight in the Lakeview neighborhood, will re-introduce and expand upon the izakaya trend by harmonizing Japanese cuisine with contemporary philosophies and techniques, including the importance of using local, seasonal and sustainable resources.

Operated by a top-flight duo of restaurant industry stars, Chizakaya is the brainchild of chef/owner Harold Jurado.  Jurado, a Chicago native, has cooked in such renowned restaurants as Sunda, Charlie Trotter’s (Chicago and Las Vegas) and Japonais (Chicago, New York and Las Vegas). Chef de cuisine Robert Rubba most recently cooked at Chicago’s acclaimed L20, as well as Restaurant Guy Savoy in Las Vegas and Gordon Ramsay at the London Hotel in New York.

Jurado and Rubba view themselves among a new breed of chefs who place the significance of local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients above all else in the kitchen. Their driving force and source of inspiration is seasonal ingredients from local farms and co-ops, as well as free-range livestock and responsibly sourced fish. Jurado and Rubba aim to showcase these products to their fullest in their intelligent and informed approach to cuisine.

Chizakaya’s menu will be comprised of small plates designed for communal dining. The dishes will be indicative of the true Japanese pub experience, including such staples as yakitori (grilled chicken, meat and vegetables served on skewers), hamachi kama (hamachi collar served with ponzu, daikon and ginger) and noodle and rice combinations. Signature items will include okashi (snacks) such as black edamame (soybeans that have been matured on the stalk, eliciting a sweeter flavor), oshinko (pickled seasonal vegetables), whole grilled saba (mackerel) and the house ramen. A stand-out on Chizakaya’s opening menu will be a sashimi made with Dietzler Farms calves liver. Many items, including tofu, ice creams and sorbets, will be made daily in house. Jurado and Rubba will rotate menu items as the seasons dictate.

Chizakaya’s cocktail program, created by Rubba and Chantelle Pabros (former L2O sommelier), is an integral part of the restaurant, demonstrating the Japanese idea of washoku, which means “harmony of food.” This guiding inspiration refers to a blending of not only the restaurant’s cuisine, but also the drinks, service, dining experience and the overall presence of a Japanese restaurant in the Midwest. An extensive showcase of sake, shochu, Japanese and American whiskeys and beers, along with a menu of specialty drinks with house-made juices, syrups and bitters, will elevate the izakaya idea into a unique nightlife concept for Chicago.

The coffee program consists of a special blend of family-farmed beans from Crop to Cup. The beans are roasted locally in small batches at Asado Coffee Company and transported to the restaurant via an environmentally-conscious “zero bag” policy. Each cup is brewed to order in an individual Clever Coffee Dripper. Chizakaya’s tea menu consists of hand-selected offerings by Rare Tea Cellar. The in-house water filtration system not only enhances the flavor of coffee and tea, but is also eco-friendly.

The restaurant’s decor features environmentally savvy cork floors, a 280-bottle beechwood wine wall with smoky mirror located over the bar area, chocolate brown leather barstools and mixed wood tables and chairs. The focal point of the front dining room are two vibrant, Asian-inspired ceiling murals. The left side of the mural features a striking geisha figure holding a robe that mimics the ocean waves of a traditional Japanese fabric, while the right side displays a fierce samurai warrior wielding a sword that gives way to a cherry tree in full blossom. In the rear dining room, an open kitchen serves as the hub of the restaurant, set among communal tables, counter seating and exposed brick walls with subtle splashes of color. The front dining room will seat 36 people at tables and at the bar, while the rear room will accommodate an additional 24 guests.

Chizakaya will be open Monday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m.  The restaurant only accepts reservations for parties of seven or more.


Okashi (Snacks)

Black edamame, sea salt  4

Oshinko (seasonal pickles) 5

Barley miso soup 3

Puffed pig ears, togarashi 4

Teriyaki string beans, sesame seed 5

Japanese sweet potato fries, spiced mayo 5

Crispy pork, slow poached egg 5


Daikon, roasted seaweed, baby anchovies, ponzu 5

Seasonal greens, tofu dressing, crunchy rice 6

Hamachi, bone marrow, garlic, umeboshi 12

Octopus, tomato, cucumber, radish, fish sauce vinaigrette 5

Kombu marinated Tai (snapper), avocado, shiso, lime vinaigrette 11

Home-made basket tofu, bonito, scallion, ginger, soy 7

Beef liver “sashimi,” petite watercress, sesame vin 6

Kushi Yaki 3

Chicken gizzards
Chicken skins
Chicken meatball
Chicken and negi

Shishito peppers, bonito
Hakurei turnips
Tomato, shiso

Beef sirloin tip, lime, wasabi
Sweet sausage
Pork meatball
Beef cheek
Beef tongue
Confit octopus


Cold soba, summer vegetables, shrimp tempura 10

House ramen, braised pork, slow poached egg, fish cake 12

Blue crab congee, corn, chives 7


Walleye, ginger, scallion 10

Daily gyoza, soy, ra-yu 6

Chawan mushi (steamed custard), radish, dashi 6 with foie gras 11


Crispy chicken thighs, dashi mayo, mizuna 8

Corn fritter, chili, lime, mayo 5

Age-Dashi Tofu 6


Ika (squid), togarashi, lemon vin 10

Whole saba, lemon, cucumber 11

Hamachi kama, ponzu, daikon, ginger 8


King oyster, enoki, shimiji mushrooms, soy, lemon-butter 8

Japanese eggplant, sweet miso, apple 5

Clams, beer, black garlic, spiced broth 13

Chicken livers, negi 6


Yuzu cake, green tea ice cream 5

Taro, ube, rice pudding 5

Chocolate sesame ganache, puffed barley, soy milk sorbet 5

Ice Cream, daily selection 3


Lie & Cheat
Rice shochu, lychee juice, St. Germain, lime 8

Isao Aoki
Sudachi shochu, yuzu, iced matcha green tea 8

Ume Ume
Sweet potato shochu, plum juice, house-made ginger bitters, umeboshi, ginger ale 8

Shiso Mojito
Sugar cane shochu, shiso leaves, Turbinado sugar, lime 8

Chu Hai
Barley shochu, soda water, lemon 8

Sake by the Glass

Tsukosabotan, Junmai, Kochi 6
Light and Clean
Crisp aroma of Rambotan, star fruit, with a bright refreshing finish, hinting of plum

Azumaichi, Junmai Ginjo, Saga 8
Fruity and Fun
Notes of green apple, hints of strawberry, and passion fruit.
Exclusive to Chizakaya by the glass

Daishichi, Kimoto Tokubetsu Junmai, Fukushima 9
Luscious and Rich
Dense and profound character, complex aromatics, herbal, earthy

Dassai Goju Nigori, Junmai Daiginjo, Yamaguchi 7
Milky and Refined
Sweet scented, medium bodied, with notes of coconut and green plantains; dry finish


Shirakabegura, Junmai, Kyoto,1800ml
Feminine, soft supple texture
3oz 6, 6oz 12

Kikumasamune, Junmai, Hyogo,1800ml
Masculine, sauvage, dried meat, earthy, incredible depth of flavor
3oz 5, 6oz 10

Small Format: Single Portion

Kikusui Funaguchi, Honjozo Genshu, Niigata, 200ml, 10
Bold and Sweet
Bold warming sweetness, reminiscent of amaretto, with hints of almonds and peaches. Cask strength 18-19% alcohol, great neat, fun on the rocks!

Mizbasho, Junmai Ginjo, Gunma, 180ml, 14
Soft and Gentle
Soft edges with a gentle sweetness, a kiss of melting snow and ripe apricot.

Sake by the Bottle

Kikusui Funaguchi, Honjozo Genshu, Niigata, 200ml, 10
Kubota Senju, Honjozo, Niigata, 720ml, 43
Suigei, Tokubetsu Junmai, Kochi, 300ml, 20
Hakkaisan, Tokubetsu Junmai, Niigata, 300ml, 23
Nanbu Bijin, Tokubetsu Junmai, Iwate, 300ml, 24
Nishi No Seki, Tokubetsu Junmai, Oita, 720ml, 38

Tsukosabotan, Junmai, Kochi, 720ml, 48
served warmed Shirakabegura, Junmai, Kyoto,1800ml, 86
served warmed Kikumasamune, Junmai, Hyogo1800ml, 75

Mizbasho, Junmai Ginjo, Gunma, 180ml, 14
Fukucho Biho, Junmai Ginjo, Hiroshima, 300ml, 30
Azumaichi, Junmai Ginjo, Saga, 1800ml, 123

Dassai 50, Junmai Daiginjo, Yamaguchi, 300ml, 20
Hana Awase, Junmai Daiginjo, Ibaraki, 300ml, 55

Daishichi, Shizen Shu, Kimoto Tokubetsu Junmai, Fukushima, 720ml, 66

Hakutsuru, Sayuri, Nigori, Hyogo, 300ml, 16
Dassai Goju Nigori, Junmai Daiginjo, Yamaguchi, 720ml, 50

Himezen, Sweet Junmai, Miyagi, 720ml, 34

Yamazake, 12 Year, Japanese Blended Whisky 8
Hibiki, 12 Year, Japanese Blended Whisky 15

Elijah Craig, 10 Year, American Whiskey 12
Templeton, Small Batch, American Rye Whiskey 34

Kakushigura / Barley 9
Jougo / Sugar Cane 9
Satsuma Hosan / Sweet Potato 11
Awa No Kaori / Sudachi 7
Hakutake “Shiro”/ Rice 10

Beer by the Bottle
Great Lakes Brewing Co., Cleveland, Ohio
Eliot Ness, Vienna Lager 5

Three Floyds Brewing Co., Munster, Indiana
Alpha King, American Pale Ale 7

Goose Island, Chicago, Illinois
Sofie, Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale 6
Matilda, Belgian Pale Ale 22 oz, 14

New Holland Brewing Co., Kolsch, Michigan
Full Circle, Kölsch 7

Two Brothers Brewing Co., Warrenville, Illinois
Cane & Ebel, Red Rye Ale 7

Baird Brewing Co., Shizuoka, Japan
Carpenter Mikan, Fruit Ale 5

Beer on Tap
Sapporo Breweries Limited., Tokyo, Japan
Japanese Rice Lager, 3

Goose Island, Chicago, Illinois
Green Line, American Pale Ale, 5

Kiuchi Brewery, Ibaraki, Japan
Hitachino Nest, White Ale 5

3056 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657
coming soon,
twitter @chizakaya


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