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Chicago Restaurant Market Undergoes A Year Of Major Change

January 22, 2018

The past year has been one of significant transition for fine dining in Chicago, as the city experienced a long list of high-profile restaurant closings. Those have included Grace, holder of three Michelin stars, along with Tru and 42 Grams, both two-star Michelin standouts.

The chef behind Grace, Curtis Duffy, and his wine director, Michael Muser, are reported to be seeking a new space after a dispute with their financial partner, Michael Olszewski, led to a walkout in December by the entire restaurant staff.

Tru, operated for nearly two decades by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, was renowned for having one of the best wine lists in Chicago. Lettuce Entertain You was also the owner of now-shuttered Intro, which made a splash as an incubator for a roster of rising young chefs who each served short stints running the kitchen.

Other closed restaurants include mk, owned by chef Michael Kornick and winner of multiple James Beard Awards, as well as Yusho, which had been owned by Matthias Merges, once the right-hand man in the kitchen of Charlie Trotter.

Chicago is now left with a single three-star Michelin restaurant, Alinea, and four two-star establishments, including Sixteen in the Trump International Hotel & Tower.—H. Lee Murphy

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