Michael Dean Reynolds is back in the kitchen and Curtis Gamble is about to be out of Chicago. Reynolds, the former Leopold chef, is taking over the Bread & Wine kitchen from existing chef Gamble, who's moving back to his hometown of Pittsburgh. A confluence of circumstances brought on the change, including Reynolds' longstanding relationship with co-owner Jennifer Wisniewski, Gamble's desire to move back to his hometown, and a recent Phil Vettel review in the Tribune.
Reynolds, who worked with Wisniewski at Cafe Absinthe in 1999, has been on the market since Leopold shuttered in March. Co-owner Lisa Fosler Kelly says she had been "toying with the idea of making a change" for a while. When the two-star Tribune review hit newsstands May 9, Gamble wasn't happy while the other partners were. "It highlighted the difference in opinion," Fosler Kelly says. "It was time to go in a different direction."
That direction won't have gigantic menu ramifications, especially in the beginning. Tonight is Reynolds' first day and he's working side-by-side with Gamble for the time being. Gamble is moving to Pittsburgh at the end of June. "I love the concept and always have," Reynolds says.
Eventually, Fosler Kelly says the menu will become more well-rounded by slowly incorporating Reynolds' dishes over the next six weeks but will "remain true to what the concept is." Expect it to become less meat-heavy with less charcuterie. Reynolds will keep what he calls "signature dishes" on the menu and expand the retail section.
Another aspect they hope to expand is to more locations. Reynolds says he's attracted to the "potential for growth," they hope to another location closer to downtown, perhaps in Logan Square. First they have to incorporate a new chef.
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