Renzell, the restaurant ratings system that arrived in Chicago last year—positioned as a competitor to the Michelin Guide—has debuted their Chicago rankings. These preliminary rankings sort a cohort of 51 Renzell-selected restaurants. Renzell solicited members who dined at restaurants and filled out 60-question surveys which determined a restaurant’s score in eight categories, as well as an overall score.
Company officials touted transparency as one of the rankings’ strengths, as Michelin inspectors provide little rationale for their stars. Grace topped Renzell’s overall list for Chicago, followed by Spiaggia, Alinea, Tru and Boka in the top five. That somewhat jibes with the 2017 Michelin Guide which awarded three stars to Grace and Alinea—the only Chicago restaurants to score all three. Tru received two stars, but then Renzell’s list departs from Michelin. Spiaggia and Boka ranked higher on Renzell’s list compared to their single Michelin star rankings.
Members measure restaurants in eight categories: Cocktails, design, food, hospitality, service, value, vibe and wine/sake. Value can be controversial category, as that can wildly vary due to income and taste. Kai Zan, the Ukrainian Village sushi spot, topped the value rankings.
Renzell only considered restaurants that serve alcohol, which dropped Schwa from their list. Initially, they included 54 restaurants but shutters to Kinmont, Perennial Virant and Trencherman eliminated them from the rankings. The company should add missing big-name restaurants—like A10, Band of Bohemia and Fat Rice—in subsequent updates.
San Francisco’s preliminary rankings also dropped on Wednesday. Renzell’s official rankings should come out in September. The rankings started in New York and they have plans to expand to other U.S. cities.
Check out Chicago’s overall top 10 below and go over to the Renzell site (click the drop down to get to the Chicago rankings) to explore them in more depth.
- Girl & the Goat