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Remembering the Biggest Dining Surprises of 2014

As we put a cap on 2014, Eater surveyed a group of critics, writers, and all around experts for their take on the past year. We asked them eight questions: from Top Standbys to Top Newcomers, from Best Meals to Restaurants Broken Up With. All answers will be revealed—cut, pasted, unedited and unadulterated—by the time we pop the cork on 2015.

The sudden shutter of critical favorite Cicchetti surprised many
The sudden shutter of critical favorite Cicchetti surprised many
Marc Much

Q: What was the biggest dining surprise of 2014?

Sarah Freeman, Zagat: Whatever on Earth happened at Cicchetti. It seemed like that restaurant had everything working in its favor — great chefs, solid bar program, good reviews — but the location and whatever other forces were working against it led to some of the more shocking chef shuffles of the year followed by its closing.

Michael Nagrant, RedEyeBohemian House — There's a better chance of me becoming BFF with ABC's Hungry Hound than there is of discovering a burgeoning top Chicago chef (Jimmy Papadopoulos) cooking neo-modern Czech fare amidst the drunken piano bar-visiting tourists, but, indeed, the latter happened.

Amy Cavanaugh, Time Out Chicago: 42 Grams. Before we went to dinner, I told my date that it would either be the worst meal we've ever had, or the best. Thankfully, it was the latter.

Chris LaMorte, UrbanDaddy: The short (happy?) life of Cicchetti. PurplePigGate.

Mike Gebert, Reader: I don't think it should have surprised anyone that Jake Bickelhaupt or Beverly Kim should make great things. Probably my biggest surprises were all fried chicken that I ate for various articles I did for Thrillist. Evanston Chicken Shack, Fork and a place on 75th street called Five Loaves Eatery all do fantastic fried chicken, with or without waffles.

Melissa McEwen, ChicagoistHow delicious some of Rootstock's new dishes are.

Penny Pollack, Chicago Magazine: The closings of L2O and Takashi.

Chandra Ram, Plate: Sudden shuttering of Michelin-starred restaurants like Takashi and Senza. Sad to see.

Bohemian House

11 West Illinois Street, , IL 60654 (312) 955-0439 Visit Website

Cicchetti

100 North Tryon Street, , NC 28202 (980) 299-0039 Visit Website

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