Photo: Tyllie Barbosa

“We’ve used canned artichokes since day one,” says John Bubala of his restaurant’s popular fritter appetizer that he says is an homage to Gordon Sinclair, the 1970s-era restaurateur and pioneer of the River North area. Enjoy the famous dish at Thyme Café (1540 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-227-1400)-or try Bubala’s simple, fail-proof recipe.


Thyme Café’s Artichoke Fritters
(Serves 6)

1 cup sifted flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons club soda
1 teaspoon paprika
6 medium-sized canned artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for deep frying

2 cups Béarnaise sauce (Bubala recommends substituting a package of Knorr’s hollandaise sauce with 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon added)

  1. Combine flour, milk, egg, baking powder, club soda, and paprika in a medium-sized bowl and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature (the batter can be made up to a day in advance; store in the refrigerator).
  2. Slowly heat the oil to 375 degrees (use a candy thermometer to measure temperature).
  3. Make the Béarnaise sauce or the Knorr’s package sauce. Keep warm over low heat until needed.
  4. Cut the artichoke hearts in half through the stem end, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Dip each piece in the batter, letting the excess drip off, and gently place the artichokes in the hot oil. As each piece is browned on one side, flip it with a spoon. Drain on paper towels. (If not serving immediately, keep the fritters on a pan in a 200 degree oven for up to 20 minutes.)
  5. Serve hot with sauce for dipping.