Chicago’s restaurant writers dish on where they dined last year after the government restored indoor dining as part of Eater’s ongoing tradition of polling the city’s experts for their year-end takes.
Amy Cavanaugh, Chicago magazine: Virtue. My birthday in May coincided with the first weekend my partner and I were both fully vaccinated, so we dined indoors for the first time since March 2020. Revisiting Virtue for favorites like the fried green tomatoes, catfish, collards, mac and cheese, and red velvet cake was a worthy celebration.
Jay Westbrook, local craft beer professional: I’ve been spending a lot of time in the West Loop for obvious reasons (Hi Haymarket!!!), so I moseyed over to the Fry Them Thangs pop-up at Blind Barber for giardiniera-crusted wings.
Yes, you heard me correctly. Giardiniera-crusted wings. I still sometimes stare longingly at the picture I took of them all those months ago.
Nick Kindelsperger, Chicago Tribune: We’d been eating on patios, but the first restaurant both my wife and I tried together was Longman & Eagle. It felt surreal and strange at the time, but damn that wild boar sloppy joe tasted great.
Brenda Storch, Eater Chicago contributor: NoMi in the very early spring. Because, patio.