Chefs John and Karen Urie Shields met while both were working in the kitchen at legendary Charlie Trotter’s, eventually moving to open a restaurant in Smyth County, Virginia. Last year they returned to Chicago to open Smyth, a fine dining restaurant inspired by their time out east.
Now the husband-and-wife duo can celebrate becoming one of only four restaurants in Chicago to have a two-Michelin-star rating, as they emerge as the big winners in Michelin’s announcement of its 2018 Chicago guide today.
Other big movers were Scandinavian spot Elske and Entente, which each picked up their first star. But no additional restaurants joined Alinea and Grace in the rarefied air of three-star establishments.
Sixteen retained its two stars, despite chef Thomas Lents departing the restaurant located inside Trump Tower. A change in the kitchen can cause Michelin to change an establishment’s star status, but Nick Dostal’s cooking preserved Sixteen’s rating.
After seven straight years of holding a star, gastropub Longman & Eagle in Logan Square was dropped down a level to only have a Bib Gourmand, which denotes having good food at a good value, but it’s certainly a step below a star.
But while Michelin stars in Chicago are certainly a mark of quality, they’re no guarantee of success.
In the last year a pair of Chicago’s two-Michelin-star restaurants closed: 42 Grams shuttered despite holding two stars all three years it was eligible; and Chicago fine dining stalwart Tru ended its 18-year run earlier this month. Since the Michelin guide debuted in Chicago starting in 2011, 30 percent of the restaurants earning stars have closed.
Band of Bohemia
Dusek’s (Board & Beer)