Between the holidays, travel and work, the end of the year can be a hectic time to keep up with the happenings of the restaurant world. Now that a new year has begun and we've all started to get a handle on our lives again, here are some of the Chicago restaurants that opened towards the end of 2018 that you should know about.
Formerly the executive chef at mk The Restaurant—which closed in June 2017—chef/owner Erick Williams opened Virtue in November 2018. The Hyde Park establishment "melds his background in fine dining and his love of Southern cuisine," per the restaurant's website. Dishes include gem lettuce with radish, bacon, boiled eggs, buttermilk dressing and crispy black-eyed peas; gizzards with dirty rice and gravy; hen of the woods mushrooms with sunflower seeds, Parmesan and fried lemon; and blackened catfish with Carolina Gold rice and barbecue carrots. The restaurant is open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday.
Jonny Hunter (James Beard Award-nominated chef), Erin Carlman Weber (former events director for the Stephanie Izard empire) and Derek Herbster (coffee aficionado with experience including Portsmith and Stumptown Coffee Roasters) have joined forces to open this small all-day affair. It describes itself as "A funky bottle shop, all-day eatery and market in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood that's about good people sharing good food." The kitchen is helmed by Abigail Zielke where dishes range from creamed eggs over toast with pork fat collards, pickled pearl onions, lemon and aleppo pepper in the morning to a chicken salad sandwich with ginger aioli, sunflower seeds, persimmon mustard, pea tendrils and sourdough at lunch and pan-seared hanger steak with chile and brown sugar-grilled cabbage, bonito hollandaise and fried carrot in the evening.
French onion soup. (Photo courtesy of Taureaux Tavern.)
Those looking for French fare can head to this large all-day affair from the team behind Cochon Volant Brasserie. The restaurant encompasses more with 7,000 square feet with 288 seats, 72 of which are in the covered outdoor patio, set to operate year-round. The kitchen is lead by executive chef Mike Sheerin, who boasts a number of accolades and has spent time in a variety of kitchens, including wd~50 and Blackbird. Menu items include foie gras pâté with apple mostarda, candied cocoa nibs and toasted brioche; grilled salmon with braised beluga lentils, aromatic vegetables and lemon beurre blanc; and daily specials such as coq au vin and duck a l'orange. A word of warning: the French-inspired brasserie and bar appears to be closed on Saturdays and Sundays, so be sure to plan your visit for a weekday.
Chef/owner Darnell Reed launched a follow-up to Luella's Southern Kitchen in November 2018. As one might infer based on its name, the restaurant focuses on chicken. The bird comes in three forms: buttermilk fried, smoked jerk and "The Gospel," which is the fried version coated in a Creole sauce very similar to New Orleans barbecue. The concise menu also includes a few sides, such as maple candied yams, biscuits with jam and macaroni and cheese. If you can't make it for dinner or lunch during the week, the restaurant is also open for all of your weekend brunch needs.
A fire in August 2016 closed this then Bib Gourmand-designated restaurant. Its owners, David Morton and Michael Kornick of DMK Restaurants, hoped to have it back up and running after weeks, but instead that turned into years when it finally reopened at the tail end of 2018. Along with Morton and Kornick, chef Erick Williams (mentioned above) also was involved with the menu, which showcases "a fine selection of regional techniques—from Texas and the Carolinas to sweet home Chicago," per the restaurant's website. This means the menu includes Texas brisket, Chicago rib tips, St. Louis-style spare ribs, pulled pork and more. There's also catering and delivery available.
Hero image courtesy of Taureaux Tavern. (Photo by Meghan Leigh Photography.)
Aaron Hutcherson is an editor for the MICHELIN Guide Digital Platform. An accomplished cook, Aaron can most often be found creating dishes in his own kitchen or exploring new restaurants in search of a great meal.
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