Chicago’s media dish on their favorite spots in 2023 as part of Eater’s ongoing tradition of polling the city’s experts for their year-end takes.
Amy Cavanaugh, Chicago magazine dining editor: I will miss Split-Rail — we all know the fried chicken was fantastic, but Zoe (Schor) and Julia (Weeman) served so many great dishes, like the spicy Caesar salad and the crab gravy.
Alex Jewell, Best Food Alex: Unfortunately, the trend for some of these questions is that I’ll probably have more than one answer. In this case, the two closures that hit me the hardest were Seven Treasures and Owen & Engine.
Jeffy Mai, editor Time Out Chicago: Owen & Engine. The burger will live on in my heart forever, and hopefully at Bixi Beer as well.
David Manilow, host of Crain’s Chicago’s the Dining Table Podcast and creator of Check, Please!: Losing Owen & Engine made me super sad.
Michael Nagrant, author of the Hunger, a Substack newsletter; former Sun-Times and RedEye dining critic: Owen & Engine. Not only was it MY neighborhood restaurant, but it was singular as a pub reimagined in a glut of wanna-be pubs run by pikers who once spent a weekend in London.
Janice Scurio, South Side Sox and CHGO Sports: OK. I’ll admit it. I’ve never been to the Signature Room. But I’ve seen all of your Instagram date, engagement, and divorce cocktails to know it’s been a cornerstone of Chicago celebrations for decades. What’s saddest, however, is not the restaurant itself closing, but how it abruptly closed without proper notice or compensation to its employees.
Sarah Spain, ESPN writer, co-host; The Signature Room. Sure, it was touristy, and yeah, I hadn’t been in decades, but it felt special when I went as a kid. Seemed like the kind of place that should always be there for visitors to Chicago and suburban families coming in for a big day in the city.
Brenda Storch, contributor, Eater Chicago; freelance writer: I was crushed when I realized Shan Shaan Taste at the Richland Center had quietly closed. I was also truly saddened to hear that Cafe Selmarie in Lincoln Square will soon be closing its doors after 40 years. Their roulade was a staple at many of our parties, and their pies and quiches were always outstanding. This will be the last opportunity to enjoy their holiday season offerings. They will be greatly missed.