Chicago Food and Restaurants: Top 10 of 2010
Top 10 of 2010: Food and Restaurants
This year, Chicago's restaurant scene got its just desserts: the Michelin Guide came to town, giving accolades to some of our city's most impressive eateries. But Michelin was only the tip of the culinary iceberg. A host of trends, openings, and amazing dishes made it a great year to eat in Chicago. Here are 10 of my top food moments.
- The rise of the burger: Suddenly, Chicago is the city of burgers, with some drool-worthy spots opening across the city, including DMK Burger Bar (2954 N. Sheffield Ave., 773-360-8686), M Burger (161 E. Huron St., 312-254-8500; 5 W. Ontario St., 312-428-3548), Burger Bar (1578 N. Clybourn Ave., 312-255-0055), and Epic Burger (517 S. State St., 312-913-1373; 1000 W. North Ave., 312-440-9700).
- Culinary experiences: Foodies abound in town, and they aren't content with the traditional restaurant experience. Back-kitchen tours from Flight Chicago and Chicago Sake's in-depth classes take it a step further.
- Grahamwich opens: There are those restaurant openings that barely make the papers, then there's Grahamwich (615 N. State St., 312-624-9188), a sandwich shop that's been covered by every news source in town — and for good reason. Leave to chef Graham Elliot to take sandwiches, soda, and soft-serve to a whole new level.
- New old-school steakhouses: With the opening of swanky steakhouses Mastro's (520 N. Dearborn St., 312-521-5100) and Chicago Cut (300 N. LaSalle St., 312-329-1800), the steakhouse is back and better than ever.
- Henri opens: I never expected the owners of tavern The Gage would follow up that success with one of the city's most beautiful, refined restaurants, Henri (18 S. Michigan Ave., 312-578-0763), but I'm glad they did.
- Pizza's comeback: Just when I thought the story had shifted from pizza to burgers, a couple of new openings — Red Flame (2417 N. Clybourn Ave., 312-462-0486) and Dough Boys (626 S. Racine Ave., 312-226-9300), where they serve pizza-by-the-yard — prove that the pie still has it.
- Cupcake craze: Yes, cupcakes are in danger of becoming cliche, but with utterly dangerous spots like Sprinkles (50 E. Walton St., 312-573-1600), Yumcakes, Magnolia Bakery, and Crumbs opening up local outposts, it's probably doesn't matter.
- Food trucks hit the streets: Food on wheels has never been so tasty. Happy Bodega, Soul Vegetarian, Gaztro-Wagon, Meatyballs, and More Mobile are making immobile restaurants seem so 2009.
- Big Star's Mexican invasion: Walk into Big Star (1531 N. Damen Ave.) any time of day, any day of the week, and chances are you'll have to wait for a table. (Don't worry: it's absolutely worth it.) If you can't stand the wait, Big Star's new DIY to-go option only adds to the draw.
- Girl & the Goat's domination: You can't talk about Chicago's dining scene in 2010 without mentioning Girl & the Goat (809 W. Randolph St., 312-492-6262), chef Stephanie Izard's restaurant phenom. Just be sure to call for a reservation three months in advance.