The wait is nearly over for the many fans of Daisies, the adored Logan Square restaurant that in late February closed its original location ahead of a hotly anticipated move into a much larger space a few blocks away. Owner Joe Frillman will throw open the doors at its roomy new digs on Wednesday, March 29, at 2375 N. Milwaukee Avenue, introducing Chicago to Daisies 2.0 — the latest, greatest version of his six-year-old Midwestern cooking destination. Reservations are now live via Tock.
A rare pandemic hospitality success, the story of Daisies and its new home dates back to 2020, when Frillman responded to pandemic mitigations by converting his casual, pasta-focused restaurant into a weekend market with gourmet ingredients, pastries, fresh pasta, and produce. The pivot wasn’t unusual at the time, but even as regulations relaxed and other operators dropped those endeavors, business at Daisies’s market never flagged.
A return to indoor dining, however, forced Frillman to confront a logistical problem — the 1,600-square-foot space at 2523 N. Milwaukee Avenue was too small for both a restaurant and a full-time market. Rather than dropping the idea, Frillman doubled down on the essential Chicago restaurant and expanded into a 5,500-square-foot space that previously housed shuttered German beer hall the Radler. Workers gutted the building and added an espresso bar, pastry counter, grab-and-go area, as well as a 30-seat private dining room.
The original Daisies is now closed for renovations that will transform it into a full-time grocery store and farmstand with seasonal produce and more from vendors including Spence Farm, Frillman Farms (owned by brother Tim Frillman), Catalpa Grove Farm, and Mick Klug Farm. The team also plans to serve lunch. The market was originally slated to open around Memorial Day, but the permitting process could push back its debut.
In the meantime, Frillman has recruited decorated pastry chef Leigh Omilinsky, formerly of posh steakhouse Swift & Sons in Fulton Market, to work as head pastry chef at Daisies and a partner at his Radicle Food Group. It’s rare for pastry chefs — often the first hospitality workers cut when owners want to reduce costs — to also be partners in a restaurant. Undervaluing talented employees is an issue throughout the industry, Frillman said in late 2022, and one that he wants to remedy with the help of leaders like Omilinsky. Look for her influence in plated desserts such as a lemon ricotta tart with candied pine nuts and pistachio budino with butter-braised pineapple.
Stay tuned for more on this major Chicago opening.
Daisies, 2375 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Scheduled to open Wednesday, March 29.