By J.P. Anderson | December 16, 2016 | Food & Drink
Celebrity chef and partner Art Smith has transformed Gold Coast eatery Table Fifty-Two into Blue Door Kitchen & Garden, which boasts healthy new menu options and a rustic-chic makeover for the bustling dining room.
“Change is hard,” says chef Art Smith of the transformation of his Gold Coast gem Table Fifty-Two into Blue Door Kitchen & Garden, “but it’s taken this Southern grandmother and given her a great facelift.”
And how: The teensy room’s formerly butter-yellow walls are now a lovely deep blue-gray inspired by owner Fred Latsko’s Indiana farm (“People look a lot better in that color,” Smith notes) with chairs upholstered in a rustic-chic linen; a handsome bar beckons at the east wall; and the burble of conversation at the space’s dozen tables is now accompanied by the humming energy of an open kitchen. “People want to see the food made,” the Top Chef veteran explains. “They just like being close to the food.”
Crafted by Table Fifty-Two veteran chef Rey Villalobos, that food now veers even more toward a Midwestern farm-to-table philosophy—think healthy options like Brussels sprout and kale salad, purple potato gnocchi with pickled carrots, and organic salmon—but Smith’s touch is still evident on the menu with hearty, Southern-inflected standbys like hummingbird cake, shrimp and grits, and, of course, the celebrity chef’s most beloved dish of all: “The buttermilk fried chicken will never go away,” Smith laughs. Thankfully, some things never change. 52 W. Elm St., 312-573-4000
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANTHONY TAHLIER