Fried chicken Photos: Jeff Marini

Paul Fehribach has been a semifinalist for the James Beard awards five times, authored a scholarly American cookbook, is the creator of arguably the best fried chicken in Chicago, and may just serve the city’s finest brunch. It’s quite a résumé for the chef of a relaxed Southern restaurant in Andersonville. Whether delving into history (crawfish étouffée à la Breaux Bridge, circa 1930) or skewing modern (curry peanut bisque with pickled peach, habanero pepper, and candied peanuts), Big Jones celebrates the splendid elasticity of regional Southern cuisine in a way that few other restaurants in America can pull off.

You want shrimp and grits? You got it. Want to try something mysterious like Eugene Walter’s Vanishing Bread (a baguette crusted in pecorino)? Also available. “Some menu names are calculated to start a conversation about Southern foodways, people, and places,” says Fehribach, whose gracious storefront spot recently added a kitchen counter and more prep space to make charcuterie, bread, and pickles, among other staples. It’s an inviting path forward, and a declaration: Big Jones is ready for its close up.

Crawfish pie
Buttermilk biscuits