Chicago is not hanging on to its Michelin star restaurants

The Michelin 2016 Chicago restaurant guide. — AFP pic
The Michelin 2016 Chicago restaurant guide. — AFP pic
NEW YORK, Oct 21 — Chicago can start boasting about its 2018 Michelin stars.

Yesterday, Oct 20, the venerable guide announced there are 25 Michelin starred establishments in the Windy City. That’s one fewer than last year; a pair of two-star restaurants from the prior list, Tru and 42 Grams, have closed. Another, Longman & Eagle, was dropped from the 2018 list; it’s now on Michelin’s Bib Gourmand, or cheap eats, list, announced on Oct 13.

New to the one-star category are Elske, a spare, Danish spot, and the deceptively casual Entente by a chef who cooked at the unconventional Schwa. Smyth, a brilliant modern American tasting menu spot by John and Karen Shields, was bumped up to two stars from one.

“It’s rare to have two two-stars close in a city in such a short period of time,” said Michael Ellis, the Michelin Guide’s international director. 

Rich Melman, founder of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, which owned the shuttered Tru, has said he is no longer focused on fine dining. That might be because Michelin stars don’t always translate into success: The closing of 42 Grams in June meant that 30 per cent of Michelin starred restaurants had closed in the city over the past eight years, according to, an online news service.

Anyone looking for more positive trends in the Chicago Michelin universe will note the high incidence of successful kitchen marriages. Husband and wife teams that did exceedingly well: At Smyth, John B. Shields runs the kitchen, while his wife Karen Shields is the pastry chef. Elske features the chef team of David and Anna Posey. Chicago’s Bib Gourmand included new winners Pleasant House Pub by Art and Chelsea Jackson, and HaiSous, which features chef Thai Dang and his wife Danielle Pizzutillo-Dang.

So far Washington, DC, is the only other US city whose 2018 stars have been announced. The release of the 2018 San Francisco Michelin winners has been delayed because of the devastating fires in the region. The grand finale, New York’s Michelin stars, will be released on Oct 30.  The complete list of Chicago Michelin stars appears below.

Three Stars

Alinea, Lincoln Park & Old TownGrace, West Loop

Two Stars

Acadia, Chinatown and South OrioleSixteen, River North Smyth, West Loop (NEW)

One Star

Band of Bohemia, Andersonville, Edgewater & UptownBlackbird, West LoopBoka, Lincoln Park, Old TownDusek’s (Board & Beer), Pilsen, University Village, BridgeportEL Ideas, Pilsen, University Village, BridgeportElizabeth, Andersonville, Edgewater, UptownElske, West Loop (NEW)Entente, Lakeview & Wrigleyville (NEW)Everest, LoopGoosefoot, Andersonville, Edgewater, Uptown 

GreenRiver, LoopNAHA, River NorthNorth Pond, Lincoln Park, Old TownParachute, Humboldt Park, Logan SquareRoister, West LoopSchwa, Bucktown, Wicker ParkSepia, West LoopSpiaggia, Gold CoastTopolobampo, River North — Bloomberg

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