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Long Lost Lamented Restaurants Power Hour: Le Francais

Address: 269 S. Milwaukee, Wheeling, IL

No one could have expected a French restaurant in Wheeling to become a travel destination but that’s exactly what happened to Le Francais. The famed Jean Banchet, the city’s first celebrity chef, paved the way for fine-dining in 1973 with his cooking and diners soon followed from all over the country after Bon Appetit named it the America’s best restaurant in 1980. Banchet retired and sold the restaurant in 2001 but his legacy lives on with the Jean Banchet Awards, a yearly honor given to Chicago’s best restaurants and chefs.