A two-floor, 17,000-square-foot space with the largest HD TV in the Midwest isn’t where you’d expect to find a two-time James Beard-nominated chef. But that’s exactly what’s happening at new River North spot American Junkie, where Kendal Duque (formerly of Sepia, Chicago Firehouse and City Tavern) is bringing his approachable yet sophisticated fare to the bar and restaurant.
Amy Morton qualifies as restaurant royalty. Her father, Arnie, created the Morton’s steakhouse empire, and several of her siblings have a hand in the food industry — including brother David, who co-owns local spots DMK Burger Bar, Fish Bar and Ada Street. Now, family and community are at the heart of her restaurant, Found Kitchen and Social House, which opened late last year.
Keri Glassman, nationally recognized nutritionist, author and mother of two, knows firsthand what it takes to get kids to eat healthy. “Just don’t talk about it,” she advises. “I’m a big believer in just presenting healthy food, not saying, ‘We can’t eat unhealthy stuff,’ or ‘We have to eat this healthy stuff.’ ”
“I’m actually not a breakfast person,” says Andrew Brochu, the newly minted chef of The Monarch, a German-beer-hall-turned-gastropub in Wicker Park. So why did Brochu and owner Colin Burke recently launch a menu starring pork belly eggs Benedict ($13) and duck confit chilaquiles ($14)? Because despite its imperial name, this eatery is ruled by the people. “Our customers and friends love brunch,” says Brochu, “because it’s like when you’re a kid and your mom tells you, ‘OK, now you can have two more laps in the pool before we leave!’ It’s your last chance to be carefree all weekend.”
After winning raves with his Asian barbecue fare at the six-month-old Belly Q, chef Bill Kim (also the brains behind Urban Belly and Belly Shack) has just launched brunch at the West Loop spot. “We take things people know or grew up on and put our twist on it,” says Kim of the menu, which includes items such as French toast with Asian caramel ($11) and maple-glazed Togarashi bacon ($6). And the twists don’t stop there — the brunch also features a DJ and cocktails such as the mezcal-based Fists of Fury ($11), mixed with passion-fruit drinking vinegar and absinthe. Here, the chef fills us in on his new menu — and Belly Q’s legendary karaoke nights.
Chicago Chop House The signature New York Strip ($49) and Surf & Turf ($39) are can’t-go-wrong options on a winning menu that has barely been altered since the restaurant’s opening in the ’80s. 60 W. Ontario, (312) 787-7100, Chicagochophouse.com Chicago Cut A favorite of Chicago athletes, Cut butchers and dry-ages its USDA Prime steaks on-site. Stop in for happy hour, where the bar’s cocktail menu is displayed on iPads. 300 N. LaSalle, (312) 329-1800, Chicagocutsteakhouse.com Chicago Firehouse Firehouse’s 110-year history alone makes it worth a trip, as some structural elements — like the two original fire poles in the bar — remain. Go big with the 22 oz. Porterhouse ($53). 1401 S. Michigan, (312) 786-1401, Chicagofirehouse.com Del Frisco’s Chef Jim Teutemacher complements cooked-to-perfection cuts of beef with hearty sides like lobster macaroni and cheese at Chicago’s newest steakhouse, which recently took up residence in the old Esquire building. 58 E. Oak, (312) 888-2499, Delfriscos.com Gene and Georgetti The oldest steakhouse in Chicago has hosted celebs past and present, from Frank Sinatra to Russell Crowe. The atmosphere is elegant, but it’s the food — such as broiled strip loin steak ($49.75) — that keeps ’em coming back. 500 N. Franklin, (312)…
With menu items such as fish and chips, curry fries and scotch eggs — plus an impressive selection of Irish whiskeys — it’s easy to see why The Gage is often mistaken for an Irish restaurant. But that’s seriously shortchanging the Michigan Avenue eatery.
Last year, when Susan McMillan and Amelia Fonti set out to find a chef to bring their new gluten-free restaurant concept to life, they did what some people do when they’re searching for a new sofa: they placed an ad on Craigslist. “Then we had a Top Chef-style cook-off, and Noah was the clear winner,” McMillan says of Noah Sandoval, the 31-year-old executive chef of their Lakeview restaurant, Senza. Now, after six months of building a loyal fan base, McMillan and Fonti are opening up their dinner-only restaurant for a few morning hours to hawk their artisanal breads and pastries.