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Where Are They Now?

Chicago’s list of best new restaurants comes and goes every May. Ever wonder about past winners? Here is an update of the last 10 numero unos.

2015

Momotaro

West Loop
Chef-partner Mark Hellyar
The Boka guys broke the mold with the toniest sushi ever. Chopsticks keep clicking away.

2014

Dusek’s

Pilsen
Chef Jared Wentworth
Thalia Hall transformed into the city’s small-plate go-to. Retro everything alive and well.

2013

Grace

West Loop
Chef Curtis Duffy
Duffy elevated contemporary cuisine to haute status, and he and his restaurant remain on top.

2012

Goosefoot

Lincoln Square
Chef Chris Nugent
An off-the-beaten-path room became an instant destination. Reservations are still hard to come by.

2011

Bistronomic

Gold Coast
Chef-owner Martial Noguier
Noguier made French food accessible, and his efforts were rewarded. To this day, count the whole neighborhood as regulars.

2010

Ria

Gold Coast
Chefs Jason McLeod, Danny Grant
Despite a wall of white porcelain wishbones and gorgeous, sophisticated, delectable contemporary dishes, Ria’s wishes did not come true. It closed in July 2012.

2009

The Publican

West Loop
Chef Paul Kahan
Kahan made the first-ever Chicago gastropub the place to eat pork. Many imitators followed, but this big oink still reigns supreme.

2008

Takashi

Bucktown
Chef Takashi Yagihashi
In January 2015, Yagihashi opted out of his beloved fusion salon. Now you can find him at Slurping Turtle.

2007

Xel-Ha

River North
Chef Dudley Nieto
Nieto wowed with his mole expertise, but the enterprise barely lasted eight months. He is currently slinging tacos at Rojo Gusano in Albany Park.

2006

Alinea

Lincoln Park
Chef-partner Grant Achatz
Chicago’s best restaurant opened strong and never looked back. Achatz has since launched Next, is on the cusp of Roister, and is about to unveil an Alinea redo.

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