Twenty-one months and two temporary shutdowns into the COVID-19 pandemic, Michelin-starred Scandinavian restaurant Elske will at long last return to Randolph Street in dining-centric West Loop. Co-owners and chefs Anna and David Posey, who were among the first in the city to put their restaurant into hibernation last year, are slated to reopen Elske on Wednesday, December 8 at 1350 W. Randolph Street.
The Poseys announced their restaurant’s hotly anticipated return just before Thanksgiving in a newsletter that included updates on a new chef de cuisine, Qi Ai (Travelle at the Langham), and fresh addition to their family — baby Henry, now four months old. They plan to offer a short tasting menu and a la carte options that feature vegetables in various forms like pickles and a “super intense” lobster dish made with squash juice.
The news is a signal the restaurant’s fans have long awaited. Elske first paused operations in October 2020 in anticipation of a challenging pandemic winter, but the couple brought the business back about five months later in April 2021. By July, however, the restaurant found itself facing the same staffing shortages seen across the U.S., and service once again came to a halt. The swinging pendulum gave adherents had reason to worry: though many Chicago restaurants temporarily closed during the first year of the pandemic, at this point most have either reopened or shuttered permanently.
In contrast to other local restaurants that used the pandemic to rethink and reconfigure their businesses, the team at Elske aims to pick up where it left off. “I know we’re planning on being the same restaurant we were before the pandemic started,” David Posey tells Eater. “A break was pretty needed after all the hard work we were going through and we’re definitely feeling reinvigorated.”
He also says he treasured the chance to spend the past few months with his infant son — a rare experience for many in the hospitality industry due to long, late hours. Anna Posey, who usually leads Elske’s pastry team, will take “a half-step back” from day-to-day operations but will remain at the helm of the dessert menu and stay in close contact with staff.
The reopening will mark the first time the couple hasn’t worked side-by-side at Elske, but fortunately the commute to work is a short one: “I’m going to miss working with [Anna] but the nice thing is we live above the restaurant,” says David Posey. “If I need to pop up I can do that and be with her and the baby.”
A rare independent restaurant to find success along the hospitality group-laden Randolph Restaurant Row, Elske first debuted in 2016 in a space previously occupied by Red Kiva. Local and national acclaim came fast and furious for the Danish-inspired hotspot, earning James Beard nods and holding onto a Michelin star for four consecutive years. It was also selected in 2017 for Eater’s Best New Restaurants in America.
- Michelin-Starred Elske to Temporarily Close for Winter
- Michelin-Starred Elske Goes Into a Second Hibernation in West Loop
Elske, 1350 W. Randolph Street, Scheduled to open Wednesday, December 8.