When Mercadito opened in River North a few years ago, it was met with a good bit of trepidation from anyone besides the River North barflies. Would it be just another soulless barstaurant with overpriced cocktails tailored to satiate the needs of bar-hoppers? Or does it have some legitimacy? With locations in Miami and New York, Mercadito already had a bit of a party-friendly reputation, so the hesitation was warranted. But over the years, Mercadito has spawned a myriad of spin-off concepts throughout the city, making it a restaurant sensation worth paying attention to. Let’s take a look why.