The central conceit at Intro (2300 N. Lincoln Park West, 773-868-0002), the restaurant that replaced L2O in February, sees head chefs and their menus rotating out every few months or so. Chef CJ Jacobson introduced Intro to the world in February, and in May, Erik Anderson takes up the reins for the restaurant’s second incarnation.
Anderson has worked stints in California (The French Laundry) and Nashville (The Catbird Seat), but his current center of gravity lies in Minneapolis, where he worked at the well-regarded restaurants Auriga and Sea Change and plans to open Brut after his Intro gig expires.
Growing up, he first experienced restaurant life working at his parents’ diner in North Aurora. “I got up at 3:30 in the morning. I finished up around 3 in the afternoon. I was an indentured dishwasher,” he says. Both parents could cook. His dad worked as a sous chef at the Drake Hotel, and when he cooked for the family at holidays, he let Erik help, passing on the cooking bug. His mother ran the show at the diner. “Mom was the best line cook I’ve ever seen,” he says.
Anderson says his Intro menu will lean French. “Some modern, some classic—I don’t like pigeonholing myself,” he says. He envisions five to seven courses, which are still coming into focus. “I love pigeon. I always try to have it on the menu when I can,” he says. “Also foie gras. And roasted-hay custard served in a little eggshell.”
His start date is May 14, giving him spring and summer ingredients to work with. Assuming Intro sticks with three-month rotations, he’ll likely return to Minneapolis in mid-August. If you want to taste his take on gourds and apples, you’ll have to road-trip it.