Gaijin, by award-winning chef Paul Virant, 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 playfully embraces this perspective and honors traditional preparations and techniques, as well as his well-known passion for pickling and preserving. Designed to deliver a lively and interactive culinary experience, 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 dessert prowess 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.) is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, please visit gaijinchicago.com.