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Chicago Keeps Losing Its Michelin-Starred Restaurants

Apr 5, 2022

10:45 PM IST, 05 Apr 2022 10:30 PM IST, 05 Apr 2022 10:45 PM IST, 05 Apr 2022 Save (Bloomberg) -- When Michelin started awarding stars to Chicago restaurants in 2011, the city was one of the most exciting places to eat in America. Grant Achatz had recently opened his evolving restaurant concept, Next, and chefs like Laurent Gras and Graham Elliot were cooking wildly ambitious dishes. It was the country’s most high-end experimental dining city. (Bloomberg) -- When Michelin started awarding stars to Chicago restaurants in 2011, the city was one of the most exciting places to eat in America. Grant Achatz had recently opened his evolving restaurant concept, Next, and chefs like Laurent Gras and Graham Elliot were cooking wildly ambitious dishes. It was the country’s most high-end experimental dining city. But the tide is turning in the Windy City. According to an Allied x Zillow 2021 Magnet States Report, Chicago led U.S. cities in outbound moves  in 2021. Residents were most likely to head to warmer places with better housing  such as Phoenix and Houston. Likewise, Chicago is quietly losing Michelin star power. On April 5, the restaurant guide announced its star rankings for the city. There’s still just one three-star dining room in town:  Alinea , owned by Achatz and Nick Kokonas . (In the inaugural Chicago guide, Gras’s L20 also earned three stars. )  Last year there were five spots on the two-star list, and two of them were new. Five restaurants were also listed for “excellent cooking that is worth a detour,” as defined by Michelin. This year there are four, with no new additions. In all, there are 23 starred restaurants in Chicago, compared to 25 in 2020. The only new places this year are four one-star designations. It doesn’t help that several venerable Chicago restaurants closed their doors last year. Acadia, an ambitious two-star spot on Chicago’s South Side, shuttered in the fall. And one of the city’s most famous dining rooms, Spiaggia, Tony Mantuano’s 37-year-old Italian powerhouse, announced last July that it was closing after a landlord dispute. The closings are indicative of a pronounced trend around in the city. About 280 restaurants closed in Chicago in the fourth quarter of 2021 , compared to 23 in the same period in 2019, according to Crain’s. Another restaurant missing from this year’s list is the beloved Korean-American spot Parachute. It hasn’t been open since the start of the pandemic; instead it has been shipping fried chicken and bing bread to fans across the country. Parachute has retained its one-star designation—Michelin imposed a rule that it wouldn’t strip stars as a result of the pandemic—but the restaurant doesn’t appear on this year’s list. “It’s being retained with distinction,” says the chief inspector for Michelin North America, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the constraints of the position. “If a starred restaurant is closed for an unspecified time, since we’re coming on two years of selection, we are unable to visit it.” The cloudy distinction is “in the interest of our consumer.”  The new one-star restaurants include Galit , where chef Zach Engel offers a $68 tasting menu of Middle Eastern dishes like falafel with funky mango and his Armenian version of pastrami. Another Michelin newcomer is Kasama , a Filipino restaurant and bakery from Genie Kwon and Timothy Flores, which serves longanisa sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches and chicken adobo during the day. At night there’s a 13-course tasting menu. The new restaurants illustrate the evolution of home-grown talent, according to Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides. At the new one-star Claudia, chef Trevor Teich is a Chicago native who cooked in some of the city’s most notable restaurants, including L20 and Acadia. Michelin’s list of  Bib Gourmands  was announced last week and featured 55 spots. (There were 58 last year, if you’re counting.) Defined as “quality restaurants that have menu items that offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less,” they include Superkhana International, where the kitchen specializes in Indian dishes, and Bloom Plant Based Kitchen in Wicker Park, with menu items like banana blossom tacos made with hemp seed tortillas. If Chicago shows signs of slowing down, other glitzy parts of the world have attracted Michelin’s attention. Last week, the guide announced that it would  start awarding stars in Dubai in June . Last year, Michelin began giving  stars to restaurants in  Miami, Orlando and Tampa . Here is the full list of Chicago’s Michelin-starred restaurants. An asterisk (*) denotes a new entry. Three Stars

Grant Achatz Investments

2 Investments

Grant Achatz has made 2 investments. Their latest investment was in Made In as part of their Seed - II on April 4, 2019.

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Grant Achatz Investments Activity

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Date

Round

Company

Amount

New?

Co-Investors

Sources

4/3/2019

Seed - II

Made In

$5M

Yes

6

11/30/2014

Seed VC

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$99M

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10

Date

4/3/2019

11/30/2014

Round

Seed - II

Seed VC

Company

Made In

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Amount

$5M

$99M

New?

Yes

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Co-Investors

Sources

6

10

Grant Achatz Portfolio Exits

1 Portfolio Exit

Grant Achatz has 1 portfolio exit. Their latest portfolio exit was Tock on March 31, 2021.

Date

Exit

Companies

Valuation
Valuations are submitted by companies, mined from state filings or news, provided by VentureSource, or based on a comparables valuation model.

Acquirer

Sources

3/31/2021

Acquired

$99M

6

Date

3/31/2021

Exit

Acquired

Companies

Valuation

$99M

Acquirer

Sources

6

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