Life is fleeting—and so are some of Chicago’s hottest restaurants, as the pop-up trend has taken the city’s dining scene by storm.
Chef Trevor Teich has done the résumé-building thing, working at L20 with chef Laurent Gras and Acadia under Ryan McCaskey. “I got to a place where I just wanted to discover what it was to develop my own cuisine,” says Teich, who is doing just that with Claudia. “A pop-up was a way to do it immediately.” Staged in a West Town prep kitchen, Claudia serves 10-course seasonal tasting menus accenting French and Japanese techniques to just 16 people per seating about twice a month while Teich searches for a brick-and-mortar locale. “It’s like throwing a dinner party. People come by themselves and leave as friends.” 327 N. Bell St., 773.856.3113, claudiarestaurant.com
Chef Jake Bickelhaupt hasn’t said much about closing his two-Michelin starred 42 Grams earlier this year. But he’s practically gushing about Konro, his new mobile, underground twice-monthly dinner club. “I want to feel free from a glass ceiling of creativity. I want to cook when I’m inspired, not because I have to,” says Bickelhaupt. He plans to do so in a variety of places, from bookstores and rooftop gardens to locales “around the country and the world eventually.” He calls it a “wandering supper club” and named it after a Japanese grill, but vows that each dinner series will be different, down to the location, not revealed until 24 hours prior. konrochicago.com
Some pop-ups have wowed their way to permanent status. To wit: When chef Charles Welch and partner Andrew Miller left hot spot Honey’s to launch Out to Lunch Hospitality, they didn’t bet the house on their first concept, temporary seafood spot Good Fortune, renting the former Sink/Swim space in Logan Square through the end of 2017. But the bet paid off immediately, as the concept met with such success that the duo have shuttered the pop-up early to prepare a permanent restaurant in an all-new space to be opened in early 2018. The future Good Fortune will still keep its fish focus. “It takes more care and attention than other proteins,” says Welch. “There’s a sexiness to fish versus steak, which is a little less delicate.” goodfortune.fish