The Michelin Chicago 2013 dining guide will hit the shelves tomorrow with its verdicts on which restaurants deserve the guide's coveted stars, but reps have sent over a preview today, revealing the city's big winners and losers.
The big news this year isn't that Alinea retained its three-star status, but that it's still the only restaurant in town to hold that honor. That said, L20 moved back up the list, gaining a second star under chef Matthew Kirkley. And the big surprise is that Graham Elliot, which saw controversy this year after losing both exec chef Andrew Brochu and pastry chef Bryce Caron, actually moved up to two stars. Eater spoke with the Michelin Guide editor (who remains anonymous) today and she insisted the decision was made based on "multiple meals over a number of years, before, during and after Brochu left ... Graham Elliot is the chef and still remains."
Another noticeable difference this year is that both suburban spots, Vie and Courtright's, fell off the list. "Not intentional," said the Michelin editor, "Courtright's was a real disappointment, a lot of inconsistencies." As for Vie, "Paul Virant is doing a lot of expansion and we just felt that there were a lot of inconsistencies there as well." It was for this same reason Perennial Virant fell off the 2013 Bib Gourmand list, she said.
The editor seemed really excited about Acadia and Sixteen and hopes to continue to see them move up. She also thought Goosefoot "was really nice as well" and likes "seeing Chris Nugent really doing his own thing, different from what he was doing at Les Nomades." Also seeing its star rise this year was Mexique, Carlos Gaytan's West Town French-inspired Mexican spot. "We are super excited about Mexique," the editor said. "We really wanted to find another Mexican restaurant to give a star to. Chicago has great Mexican food."
Once again, Next, Les Nomades' and North Pond remain noticeably missing from the guide. Lula Cafe which was dropped from the Bib Gourmands, because, according to the editor "it no longer fit into the price range," also got overlooked for a star.
No big surprise that Bonsoiree and Seasons both fell off the list since both restaurants closed since the 2012 guide was released. See the full list below and make ample use of the comments section.
Graham Elliot *
Longman & Eagle
(N) new addition
* denotes change
Eater Chicago associate editor Samantha Lande contributed to this article.