Charlie Trotter’s opens
Charlie and Lisa Trotter at the opening of Charlie Trotter’s restaurant. Photo: Gerald West/Chicago Tribune

August 17, 1987

No one talked about foodies, celebrity chefs, or farm-to-table in 1987. That all changed after Trotter opened his namesake restaurant in a brownstone at 816 West Armitage Avenue. “On his watch,” wrote former Chicago dining editor Carrie Schedler in these pages in 2017, “and largely through the sheer force of his will, the city became a gastronomic capital.” That it remains so owes to Trotter’s as well: Grant Achatz, Curtis Duffy, Matthias Merges — those are just a few of the restaurant’s alums who have taken the baton. As another alum, John Shields, told this magazine, “Everything that’s trendy now, [Trotter] did it first.”