Your NPR news source
FX's The Bear - Season 3 First-Look Image.jpg

The Bear’s third season is set to drop on June 26 on Hulu. The hit kitchen drama, starring Jeremy Allen White, has been filming around Chicago for months. Here’s what we’ve learned from plot predictions to the real-life restaurants that may be seen on screen.

Courtesy of Chuck Hodes/FX

‘The Bear’ Season 3: Our favorite TV chefs are back — and so is Chicago’s star turn

Here’s everything we know so far about season three of the hit show, which has enthralled the city and is back on Hulu on June 26.

The Bear returns at long last on Wednesday with a full season’s worth of episodes. FX’s hit kitchen drama has been filming seasons three and four around Chicago for months — creating a frenzy as onlookers tried to catch a glimpse of the stars at work.

In season three’s 10 new episodes, fans will finally get answers to the burning question: Where do they go from here?

After successfully transforming the family’s fast-casual Italian beef shop into a fine-dining restaurant, Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) and the crew are turning up the heat yet again. Now, they’re chasing the food world’s most exclusive honor, a spot on the Michelin Guide. “We’re gonna get a star,” Carmy says in the season three trailer.

But what fans perhaps really want to know is if there’s anything heating up between Carmy and Sydney (Ayo Edebiri). Speculation reached a fever pitch after the actors were seen looking cozy at a Cubs game in May. Off screen, the two have insisted they are just friends — but perhaps the backrub seen ‘round the internet is an indication of some on-screen romance to come. Especially since the trailer indicates that Carmy’s relationship with his season two girlfriend, Claire (Molly Gordon), is on the outs.

Here’s what else we think we know about season three, based on the trailer, film permits, and internet fan theories. Warning: some possible spoilers ahead.

THE_BEAR_203_0227r (1).jpg

A new season of The Bear will drop on Hulu on June 26.

Courtesy of Chuck Hodes/FX

All the theories about possible third season plot points

Here’s what we know for sure: For starters, Carmy made it out of the walk-in refrigerator he was locked in at the end of season two. And, regarding his relationship, he tells the kitchen team that he told Claire: “I basically said that I couldn’t waste my time.”

“Yikes,” Uncle Jimmy (Oliver Platt) offers in return.

Instead, Carmy has been working on “non-negotiables” for the restaurant. It’s a laundry list of ever-hard-to-meet ways to achieve greatness, like changing the menu every single day.

“If it’s not perfect it doesn’t go out,” Carmy says in the trailer, which also gave us little plot clues. Sugar (Abby Elliott) is still pregnant, Sydney may become a partner in the restaurant, and Fak (Matty Matheson) and Cousin Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) are still providing ample comedic relief.

We also know that while much of this season is once again directed by show creator Christopher Storer, Edebiri makes her directorial debut with the sixth episode “Napkins.”

Here’s what is fueling the most online speculation: Eagle-eye Chicago fans tipped off social media in March that a large portion of the cast was seen filming outside an Evanston church. In pictures posted to X, cast members can be seen dressed in mostly black formal wear. A funeral? And if so, whose? A brief episode description on IMDb of the season three finale, titled “Forever,” reads “another funeral.”

More recently, posts on X show Sugar and her mother, Donna, played by Jamie Lee Curtis — who guest starred in the chaotic and memorable “Fishes” episode in season two — outside a Skokie hospital.

We also know from film permits that season three appears to pick up the storyline involving Marcus’s (Lionel Boyce) mom, who was in poor health at the end of season two. Several permits issued in late February are described as “Marcus’s mom’s house” and “Marcus driving scene.”

Finally, real-life Chicago restaurants may be back on screen this season. The much-beloved Manny’s Deli recently hinted on X that they may be featured in the upcoming episodes. Film permits were also spotted in late April outside of Lou Mitchell’s diner near Union Station, although, given that was more recent, it’s possible those scenes are fodder for a later season.

side by side (12).png

Filming notices for “Windy City Law” and “Kubleik,” both aliases for The Bear, were spotted in Chicago neighborhoods like River North and Ukrainian Village.

Courtney Kueppers/WBEZ

Which Chicago neighborhoods will get the star treatment

The showrunners attempted to keep a low profile while filming by using the code names “Kubelik,” and later, “Windy City Law.” But, fans caught on quickly to wherever The Bear was working this spring. In addition to those scenes shot in suburban Evanston and Skokie, the cast was spotted across the city.

River North
The Bear team has, of course, been spotted outside Mr. Beef on Orleans Street — the setting of their fictitious restaurant.

West Loop
In early March, White was spotted filming a scene in the West Loop. TikTok user Gretchen Ireton posted videos of the show set up outside the now permanently closed restaurant Aikana on Randolph Street, including a glimpse of what appears to be the show’s star in Carmy’s chef uniform.

Ukrainian Village
In March, The Bear set up filming at the corner of Hoyne Avenue and Cortez Street. Moss-Bachrach — AKA Richie — and Matheson, the real-life chef who portrays the character Fak on screen, were spotted emerging from the first floor of a residential building.

Lincoln Park
The crew shot in Lincoln Park under the “Windy City Law” codename in April on Southport Avenue, filming what one X user thought appeared to be a house party scene.

Armour Square/Bridgeport
This is where film permits place the scenes involving Marcus’s story line.

30th Annual SAG Awards - Press Room

Ayo Edebiri and Jeremy Allen White both won awards for outstanding performances in The Bear at the 2024 Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Courtesy of Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

What to typically expect from a third season of a show

The third season can be a challenge for any show, especially one that has generated as much buzz as The Bear, Eric Scholl, a Columbia College professor whose expertise includes TV analysis, told WBEZ back in February.

Scholl said the challenge is this: If you stay the same, viewers will get bored, but if you change too much, you risk losing your core audience.

“That’s what [The Bear is] going to have to balance. In a show that reinvents itself, how much can you reinvent and have it still be the same show? And they were successful doing that once? Question is: How do you do it a second time?”

Courtney Kueppers is an arts and culture reporter at WBEZ.

Want more culture news in your inbox every week? Subscribe to Green Room, a newsletter from WBEZ’s Arts & Culture desk.

Updated: This story was updated on June 24 to reflect an earlier release time for episodes of The Bear season three.

The Latest
Experiencing a new augmented reality art installation in the park requires a mobile phone — and extra patience.
Whether you’re headed to Pitchfork or just craving new music, this playlist will introduce something fresh into your rotation.
The Oak Park-raised poet and folk singer on her hometown return, musical influences and the best local tacos.

A new study from Enrich Chicago shows a shifting landscape for arts groups that were buoyed by COVID-19 relief dollars.

The sweeping musical at Chicago Shakespeare Theater strives to be both epic and intimate in its staging of the classic J.R.R. Tolkien novels.