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Will Lewis
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#201 Post by Will Lewis » August 27th, 2017, 9:31 am

I did not read through the whole thread, but last year, for my birthday, called and made a reservation at Schwa with absolutely no problem. I had given up after years of trying. I have my suspicions as to why, but... anyway..fantastic meal.

Looking for a new place that's great. Have been to a lot of the Michelin places, some deserved IMO (Alinea, 42 Grams (so bummed it closed), Acadia, Tru, Goosefoot, etc.), and those who don't (Grace, Naha, etc.).

Any suggestions? Ideally, someplace with a real sommelier or a byob, intimate setting, and food that's different - doesn't have to be weird, just not something I've had. Thanks.

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#202 Post by George Hejna » August 27th, 2017, 11:57 am

I would go to Smyth or Oriole or Elske. There is no BYOB. Smyth will allow corkage as will Elske. I am not sure about Oriole. Oriole is a difficult reservation so plan far in advance.

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#203 Post by Robert Dentice » August 27th, 2017, 12:44 pm

Will Lewis wrote:I did not read through the whole thread, but last year, for my birthday, called and made a reservation at Schwa with absolutely no problem. I had given up after years of trying. I have my suspicions as to why, but... anyway..fantastic meal.

Looking for a new place that's great. Have been to a lot of the Michelin places, some deserved IMO (Alinea, 42 Grams (so bummed it closed), Acadia, Tru, Goosefoot, etc.), and those who don't (Grace, Naha, etc.).

Any suggestions? Ideally, someplace with a real sommelier or a byob, intimate setting, and food that's different - doesn't have to be weird, just not something I've had. Thanks.

Will
Try Entente by Chef Brian Fisher former #2 at Schwa. I think the food fits your criteria. I believe they allow BYOB. Winelist is small and natural focused.

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#204 Post by RichardFlack » August 29th, 2017, 5:42 pm

George Hejna wrote:I would go to Smyth or Oriole or Elske. There is no BYOB. Smyth will allow corkage as will Elske. I am not sure about Oriole. Oriole is a difficult reservation so plan far in advance.

George
Oriole also not sure about byob but their pairings are pretty good. Top notch food and service with the 'magic'.

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#205 Post by Corey N. » September 6th, 2017, 8:35 am

Tru closing. Nice analysis.
A Lettuce rep didn't respond to my request for comment, but I have some theories. A meal at RPM Steak is almost as expensive as a meal at Tru (and more expensive than a meal at Intro was) and doesn't require the number of servers, the technical perfection in the kitchen or the exotic ingredients that a Tru or an L20 requires. If a restaurant group can convince diners to spend 3-star prices on a meal at a "scene" restaurant that costs less to produce, why go the extra mile?...

However, there is a loss here. The fine dining group at Lettuce was absolute perfection at one thing: service. Some of the best service of my dining life came at L20, Tru and Intro, and the managers and captains that ran those rooms created comfortable perfection. This isn't to suggest that Beatrix or RPM Italian don't have good service, but they really aren't any different than anywhere else in town. In an era where good food is increasingly everywhere, but good service seems to be disappearing, Tru is a real loss.
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#206 Post by George Hejna » September 6th, 2017, 10:28 am

It will be interesting to see what LEY does moving forward. Presumably Michelin star level dining is not part of their business plan. Which is fine We will see what happens to Everest.

Out of LEY's 50+ restaurants there are 1 or 2 that I would maybe eat in before a long list of other restaurants in Chicago. Different strokes I guess......

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#207 Post by Nick Gangas » September 6th, 2017, 7:59 pm

Corey N. wrote:Tru closing. Nice analysis.
A Lettuce rep didn't respond to my request for comment, but I have some theories. A meal at RPM Steak is almost as expensive as a meal at Tru (and more expensive than a meal at Intro was) and doesn't require the number of servers, the technical perfection in the kitchen or the exotic ingredients that a Tru or an L20 requires. If a restaurant group can convince diners to spend 3-star prices on a meal at a "scene" restaurant that costs less to produce, why go the extra mile?...

However, there is a loss here. The fine dining group at Lettuce was absolute perfection at one thing: service. Some of the best service of my dining life came at L20, Tru and Intro, and the managers and captains that ran those rooms created comfortable perfection. This isn't to suggest that Beatrix or RPM Italian don't have good service, but they really aren't any different than anywhere else in town. In an era where good food is increasingly everywhere, but good service seems to be disappearing, Tru is a real loss.
This person doesn't understand how Rich thinks. If they are closing it it's because the place is not making $$. He would never close a place because it's "not worth the effort". He's immensely proud of his stores. Here's what I think. There have been a bunch of new "fine dining" options that have opened here in the last few years. All are centered on a chef that brings some cache. The chef at Tru while very talented never developed any traction.

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#208 Post by George Hejna » September 7th, 2017, 6:36 am

The restaurant had many empty tables even on weekends. This works with Nick's theory.

George

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#209 Post by Corey N. » September 7th, 2017, 7:25 am

George Hejna wrote:The restaurant had many empty tables even on weekends. This works with Nick's theory.

George
I'm not trying to have a go, but don't the two theories work hand in glove? It's not making money...and it's not worth investing the effort to make it a successful restaurant because LEY is so skilled at turning other concepts into ATMs.

FWIW, I was much more bummed about Intro closing. I loved the concept, service and the room and strongly liked the price point and food.
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#210 Post by George Hejna » September 7th, 2017, 1:43 pm


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#211 Post by G. Keeler » September 25th, 2017, 11:55 am

Spent a quick weekend in Chicago. Went to Elske the first night and loved everything about it. We went with the tasting menu and wine pairings and they nailed the portions and pacing which is usually my biggest issue with tasting menus. Favorites were the tea smoked fruits and veg, duck lover tart and fantastic grilled chuck flap that had an amazing texture. Wines were well thought out and while none would blow you away individually they did their job of complementing the food. For the level of quality, $130 pp for food and wine is a steal.

Second night we met some friends at Giant. Not as good as I was hoping. Overall thoughts were everything was over salted and just kind of sloppy for a restaurant were the goal is to share plates. Pancetta and tomato dish was just kind of dumped together and hard to eat. Crab salad was fine but fries didn't hold together. Tried 4 pastas and while the tagliatelle with crab and butter was nice and very composed the other 3 were messy and over sauced to the point of being soupy. Good vibe to the place, had some nice drinks and fun with our group but food didn't hit it for me.
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#212 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » September 27th, 2017, 11:41 am

We're eating at Oriole tomorrow night. Any insights into the standard pairing vs. reserve pairing?

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#213 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » September 28th, 2017, 9:55 am

Clayton Wai-Poi wrote:We're eating at Oriole tomorrow night. Any insights into the standard pairing vs. reserve pairing?
I'll answer my own question... emailed the restaurant and they quickly replied with the wines poured.

Standard Pairing ($125pp)
G R A N D C R U C H A M PA G N E
Pierre Péters, “Cuvée de Réserve,” France, NV
R O S É D E L O I R E
ibaud Boudignon, Loire Valley, France, 2016
J U N M A I G I N J O
Nate Shuzoten, ”Kuroushi,” Wakayama, Japan
C O C K T A I L
Madeira, Dolin Rouge, Carpano Antica, Cocchi Americano
G R Ü N E R V E L T L I N E R F E D E R S P I E L
Weingut Prager, “Hinter der Burg,” Wachau, Austria, 2015
F L E U R I E
Marc Delienne, “Avalanche de Printemps,”
Beaujolais, France, 2016
M E U R S A U L T
Bachey-Legros & Fils, “Les Grands Charrons,”
Burgundy, France, 2014
P R I O R A T
Ferrer Bobet, “Vinyes Velles,” Catalonia, Spain, 2012
C I D R E À L ’A C I E N N E
Domaine de Kervéguen, “Carpe Diem Prestige,”
Brittany, France
S A I N T E C R O I X D U M O N T
Château La Rame, Bordeaux, France, 2014

Reserve Pairing ($250pp)
C H A M P A G N E
Krug, Grande Cuvée, France, NV
R O S É D E L O I R E
ibaud Boudignon, Loire Valley, France, 2016
J U N M A I G I N J O
Nate Shuzoten, ”Kuroushi,” Wakayama, Japan
R I E S L I N G S P Ä T L E S E
Paul Anheuser, Nahe, Germany, 2000
R I E S L I N G
Trimbach, Clos Ste Hune, Alsace, France, 2009
C H A S S A G N E M O N T R A C H E T
1er Cru La Dent de Chien, Château de la Maltroye,
Burgundy, France, 2008
C L O S S A I N T D E N I S
Grand Cru, Louis Jadot, Burgundy, France, 2008
S A I N T J U L I E N
Château Léoville Barton, Bordeaux, France, 2000
Q U A R T S D E C H A U M E
Château de Suronde, Loire Valley, France, 1997
S A U T E R N E S
Château La Tour Blanche, Bordeaux, France, 2001

Reserve Pairing for me i think. While not cheap, it's a very handy lineup and a big upgrade on the standard.

Clayton

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#214 Post by G. Keeler » September 28th, 2017, 1:11 pm

Both lists look fun. Looking forward to hearing about Oriole. It was on our list but we didn't get the reservation in time.
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#215 Post by John Davis » September 28th, 2017, 3:39 pm

Oriole is fantastic, as I have said before. Going back in November for a friend's birthday and cannot wait.

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#216 Post by George Hejna » September 29th, 2017, 6:20 am

The som at Oriole is Aaron McManus. Great guy. We ordered a bottle of White and Red Burg off the list. He is doing an excellent job with the wine but it is a new restaurant so the cellar is not deep.

They are working on that.

George

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#217 Post by Mark B » September 29th, 2017, 9:13 am

I really need to get my butt into Parachute as I live directly across the street. I see people Ubering to and from on a nightly basis from my balcony. Kudos to them for pulling a Michelin star at a very modest price point.

http://www.parachuterestaurant.com/
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#218 Post by Michael Klein » October 2nd, 2017, 2:01 pm

mark, parachute is great. excellent wine list too. you should 100% go!

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#219 Post by s.nellessen » October 3rd, 2017, 1:12 pm

Question re: Bavettes: How does the 'share-a-glass" requirement work? Do I just walk around the place and select a random table, or do the servers make the choice? Am I guaranteed reciprocation? And what is the corkage fee if I decline the sharing option? thanks.
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#220 Post by Corey N. » October 3rd, 2017, 1:35 pm

Any ideas on where to send 6 high school students who want to go to a fancy/fun dinner downtown in lieu of going to homecoming? Figure $50ish/person.

--

Steve,

The last time I did share a glass, the server asked who I wanted to share with. Reciprocation is unlikely. No clue on corkage.
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#221 Post by Michael Klein » October 3rd, 2017, 2:58 pm

re: bavette's "share a glass"

no set rules. most of the time, they have poured a small glass and asked us where we would like to send it.

That being said, the first time we went our waiter awkwardly told us about the corkage policy (which we already knew) and proceeded to just pour a glass and take it away. no idea what happened. very strange.

Since then, we bring a good, but not great bottle with. Love the food and ambiance, but their wine situation is weak to ok at best. corkage is just awkward.

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#222 Post by Corey N. » October 13th, 2017, 1:03 pm

Chicago's 2018 Bib Gourmands

The Angry Crab
Arami
Au Cheval
Avec
bellyQ
Bohemian House
The Bristol
Ceres' Table
Chilam Balam
Cumin
DeCOLORES
Dos Urban Cantina
Dove's Luncheonette
The Duck Inn
Fat Rice
Frontera Grill
Giant
Gilt Bar
Girl & The Goat
Green Zebra
GT Fish & Oyster
HaiSous
Han 202
Herb
Hopleaf
Jaipur
Jam
Jin Thai
Kai Zan
Longman & Eagle
Luella's Southern Kitchen
Lula Cafe
Mana Food Bar
Mango Pickle
Maude's Liquor Bar
mfk.
Mi Tocaya Antojeria
MingHin
Mott St.
Nana
Pleasant House Pub
The Publican
The Purple Pig
Quiote
Sabri Nihari
San Soo Gab San
Smoque BBQ
Sol de Mexico
Sushi Dokku
Table, Donkey and Stick
True Food Kitchen
TWO
Untitled Supper Club
Wood
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#223 Post by David K o l i n » October 13th, 2017, 4:13 pm

Michael Klein wrote:mark, parachute is great. excellent wine list too. you should 100% go!
Had a great meal last night. I thought the wine list was quite limited and expensive. Whiskey sours were pretty good, though

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#224 Post by George Hejna » October 20th, 2017, 12:13 pm

2018 Michelin starred restaurants. Not many changes, only 2 new restaurants. Elske and Entente.

Smyth gets its 2nd star. Longmann and Eagle "demoted" to Bib Gourmand.

https://chicago.eater.com/2017/10/20/16 ... stars-2018

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#225 Post by MBerto » November 15th, 2017, 11:39 am

Any tips for getting a reso at Alinea? It appears they open up each month on the first of the month, so it's log on for 12/1 if I'm shooting for Feb?
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#226 Post by George Hejna » November 16th, 2017, 7:55 am

I don't think it is the first of the month. For example January tickets were released yesterday. Saturdays are sold out but there are Fridays. I would suggest following them on social media as they always announce when tickets are released on twitter and FB. I was interested in Feb also so I will see if I can find out when they release those.

They will also sometimes release day of tickets on social media but that is tough when you don't live in town.

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#227 Post by MBerto » November 16th, 2017, 8:12 am

If you take my Feb seats George I will fight you
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#228 Post by MBerto » November 16th, 2017, 8:12 am

also thx
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#229 Post by Robert Dentice » November 18th, 2017, 6:19 am

So Chicago I am just not clicking with your restaurants.

I stayed in town after a business meeting simply to have dinner and see a friend DJ. The main purpose was to try another restaurant. I chose Smyth. I reserved for the 12 course tasting menu, paid in advance through tock and as normal with tock restaurants got a questionnaire which I appreciate and dutifully filled out. I wrote that I would prefer not to have Foie Gras or Wagyu, why? I am simply bored with them and I eat out too much and for health reasons would rather avoid them. Of course there was one out of the 12 dishes with Foie Gras. The somm asked me if I would be ok with the dish if it had just a little Foie Gras and not wanting to be a jerk I said ok. I thought this was odd at a 2 star michelin restaurants and it turned me off a bit. When the dish came out it was mostly Fois Gras and I did not eat it. No one asked why? The overall meal was very uneven and nowhere near what I would expect for the price point. The servers seem to worship the Chef who was not there because in the server's words he needed a break after their recent two Michelin stars. The restaurant was only 1/3 full on a Thursday night. I can forgive lots of mistakes however my ultimate rating of a restaurant is would I want to go back and how soon. Sadly I have no interest in going back.
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#230 Post by George Hejna » November 18th, 2017, 9:52 am

Robert Dentice wrote:So Chicago I am just not clicking with your restaurants.
Restaurant(s)?

Sorry you had a bad experience at Smyth. I have eaten their 3 times and always really enjoyed. Certainly his food has some interesting flavor profiles but I appreciate that. The restaurant not rectifying your issue with the FG dish is a miss I agree with that.

Luckily we have lots of other restaurants to try.

George

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#231 Post by John Davis » November 19th, 2017, 12:02 pm

Had another fantastic meal at Oriole last week. Probably our favorite place in Chicago right now.

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#232 Post by Dan Hammer » December 19th, 2017, 7:56 pm

George Hejna wrote:It will be interesting to see what LEY does moving forward. Presumably Michelin star level dining is not part of their business plan. Which is fine We will see what happens to Everest.

Out of LEY's 50+ restaurants there are 1 or 2 that I would maybe eat in before a long list of other restaurants in Chicago. Different strokes I guess......
We may be in town this spring. Any comments on the Everest pre-theatre menu? Seems like a steal at the price.
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#233 Post by George Hejna » December 20th, 2017, 5:42 am

I have not had it. In fact it has been a long time since I have been to Everest (not sure why)

If you like that style of food, I would not hesitate to go.

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#234 Post by Corey N. » December 20th, 2017, 5:27 pm

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#235 Post by George Hejna » December 21st, 2017, 6:57 am

Was there last Thursday. It was very good. Service a bit slow. I guess I got lucky. I can't imagine it survives at 3*** level if at all.

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#236 Post by Corey N. » December 21st, 2017, 7:18 am

George Hejna wrote:Was there last Thursday. It was very good. Service a bit slow. I guess I got lucky. I can't imagine it survives at 3*** level if at all.

George
I agree that Grace likely won't survive, certainly not at the same level. I found the restaurant fantastic on all levels -- wonderful food, service, and decor. Really a pity.
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#237 Post by George Hejna » December 21st, 2017, 10:15 am


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#238 Post by Corey N. » December 21st, 2017, 10:20 am

George Hejna wrote:Grace officially closed.

https://chicago.eater.com/2017/12/21/16 ... helin-star

George
The timing of the closing is terrible. Shutting that restaurant just before NYE is a huge FU to the investors, even though I've heard the lead investor is a jerk. It's going to make it a lot harder for Duffy to attract money given the circumstances of his exit, though with 3 Michelin stars, surely somebody will back him if he decides to jump back in the game.
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#239 Post by George Hejna » December 21st, 2017, 10:24 am

Duffy will have no problem finding a restaurant. Michelin 3*** chefs are a rare breed.

NYE to Grace is just like any other night. It is not like they have a shortage of customers.

There is rumor and innuendo that a recently departed Chicago chef may jump in at Grace.

George

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#240 Post by Nick Gangas » December 21st, 2017, 3:10 pm

The difference is this time of year restaurants are booked fully every night. Is Grace filled to capacity nightly normally ? I'm not sure.

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#241 Post by WvanGorp » December 21st, 2017, 3:57 pm

It was a well known "secret" that Grace struggled financially for much of its existence, accolades notwithstanding.

It wouldn't be that difficult to Duffy to find investors--but that's not what he wants. He wants control. 51% or more. Who is going to say "Hey, here, take this money but YOU get to make the decisions, not me." Most people who sign the checks want to make the decisions. Unless Duffy has serious money of his own, I don't know that many people who are just going to cede control. Do you?
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#242 Post by George Hejna » December 21st, 2017, 5:24 pm

I think Duffy has enough credibility with 3*** stars to be able to control his destiny. Obviously I don't know his financial situation but he talks about creating a restaurant group. If you look at the Alinea group model where it seems Grant and Nick have pretty much complete control. (no clue as to what their investor base looks like). This is what Duffy needs to do. Not sure if he can financially..... but I hope so as it would be great for the Chicago restaurant scene. Time will tell.

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#243 Post by WvanGorp » December 21st, 2017, 7:00 pm

The number of two and three star financial failures far exceeds (by what a factor of two? Theee? Four?) the number of two and three star financial successes in Chicago. Please. Tell me I’m wrong.
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#244 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » December 21st, 2017, 7:06 pm

Wilfred,

You may not be wrong, but in the case of Grace, it's very far from clear that it was a financial failure.

At least from the publicly available information it sounds like Duffy and Musar wanted ownership and couldn't negotiate it.

Huge shame in my eyes, one of the best restaurants i've eaten at ever.

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#245 Post by WvanGorp » December 21st, 2017, 7:15 pm

I think people are mixing up the concept of the chef’s talent and ownership. Just because you’re the best doesn’t mean you get to own it. I heard via the inside grapevine the restaurant Came near to closing several times due to financial matters. It’s hard to make a worthwhile profit off 80 (or was it 64?) seats with high cost ingredients.
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Chicago Restaurant Thread

#246 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » December 21st, 2017, 7:27 pm

I agree that the talent of the chef doesn't entitle them to ownership, and in this case he presumably entered a contractual agreement with an investor(s) and later decided that that arrangement didn't work.

I'm more reacting to the "heard it through the grapevine" type commentary. That said, you're probably much more connected than me and better to evaluate the likely truth of the rumors you hear.

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Chicago Restaurant Thread

#247 Post by WvanGorp » December 21st, 2017, 7:32 pm

It was a rumor but a rumor from people in a position to know. (An owner of another Michelin *** restaurant who loves them and was very concerned for them). But still a rumor.
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George Hejna
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Chicago Restaurant Thread

#248 Post by George Hejna » December 22nd, 2017, 11:26 am

Duffy made a comment in an interview yesterday that he is going to get through some legal issues and then open a restaurant in Chicago that will make Grace look amateurish.
He also mentioned he wants to create a restaurant group. Apparently he didn't have enough money to buy out his current investors so that seem like a bold statement to me. We will see.

George

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#249 Post by WvanGorp » December 22nd, 2017, 5:15 pm

Just those comments speak to Duffy’s immaturity or lack of perspective. First for someone to say their new endeavor will make a Michelin *** restaurant look “amateurish” reflects childish behavior. (I mean how DOES one make a Michelin three star look amateurish anyway?) Second Duffy couldn’t buy one restaurant but now he’s going to start a group of restaurants. Riiiight.......of course he is.
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George Hejna
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Chicago Restaurant Thread

#250 Post by George Hejna » December 23rd, 2017, 10:05 am

Interesting article re: Grace.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/mihal ... nightmare/

George

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