Farm to Table Restaurants in Chicago
Pop 5: Best Farm-to-Table Dining Destinations
Welcome back to our newest PopSugar City feature, the Pop 5. Each week, we'll ask you about your favorite spots in the city — to get great sushi, catch some live music, get a facial . . . basically the places you pick to do anything and everything in Chicago. Rounding out our green theme as Earth Month comes to an end, I've compiled the best farm-to-table dining destos in the city — talk about good eats!
- I'm not going to try and list all the awards and accolades Charlie Trotter's (816 W. Armitage Ave., 773-248-6228) has accumulated over the years, but one of the world's most popular restaurants also happens to be one of the leaders of the farm-to-table experience here in Chicago. From Indian bobwhite quail to petite greens from Farmer Jones, Trotter's sources his ingreds from a network of more than 90 of the best purveyors.
- Rick Bayless is another award-winning Chicago celeb chef known for embracing the good earth. All of his restos have the same integrity for ingredients, which are often organic and custom grown specifically for the restaurants by local producers, according to chef-owner Rick Bayless's own green thumb specifications. Go XOCO (449 N. Clark St., 312-334-3688) for a Mexican street food experience, Frontera Grill (445 N. Clark St., 312-334-3662) for a Mexican take on an American grill, and Topolobampo (445 N. Clark St., 312-661-1434) for a more upscale dining experience that incorporates the authentic, regional flavors Bayless is known for.
- Originally built in 1912 as a shelter for ice skaters, North Pond (2610 N. Cannon Dr., 773-477-5845), nestled in Lincoln Park (the actual park), would win most people over with the ambiance and views alone, but Executive Chef Bruce Sherman is making sure that's not the only focus. He draws inspiration from the local markets by producing a menu that changes with the seasons. His culinary philosophy has obviously paid off, as Sherman has been nominated by the James Beard Foundation in the Best Chef: Great Lakes Region category for 2011.
- They say it's all in a name, so it's no surprise that Markethouse (611 N. Fairbanks Ct., 312-224-2200) makes our list. Executive Chef Scott Walton has created a menu of Midwestern comfort food (think pork chops, barbecue, steaks, and more) utilizing ingreds from local farmers that practice sustainable farming techniques. And to showcase Markethouse's dedication to the farm-to-table philosophy, Walton hosts a Heartland Garden Series event once a month on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. He demos five different dishes — which you'll be tasting generously — along with tips, recipes, and cocktail and beer pairings for $45 per person. See its website for the lineup.
- Chicago foodies fell in love with Frenchman Martial Noguier's food at One SixtyBlue. Now the executive chef at the new hot spot Bistronomic (840 N. Wabash Ave., 312-944-8400), his culinary philosophy has not changed. A Frenchman should know his cheese — even the local variety — which Noguier sources (along with a majority of the charcuterie) from local farms. Our pick? His to-die-for grilled cheese sandwich, which changes daily.