Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star chef Graham Elliot will open his third restaurant June 1 in Chicago’s up-and-coming restaurant row, Randolph Street. The new low-key eatery, called g.e.b., will focus on seasonal dishes of three ingredients or fewer.
Fans of both Elliot’s eponymous fine dining restaurant and his bespoke sandwich shop, Grahamwich, can look forward to lunch, brunch and dinner at g.e.b. (plus an outdoor patio that will debut in the summer). While the menu hasn’t been unveiled yet, the focus will be on rustic, ingredient-driven cuisine — a common thread in Elliot’s restaurants. Expect local, farm-fresh products that are prepared as simply as possible using Old World techniques. “When you look at French bistro food, you have your mussels, steak frites and tartare, escargot,” Elliot says. “We’re thinking the same thing, but American style. So, you know, a perfectly roasted chicken with potatoes. Gnocchi with some asparagus and a fried egg in brown butter.”
Executive chef Jacob Saben, who’s been at Graham Elliot since 2008, will execute the menu of $20-or-less dishes and help with the décor. Saben’s passion for music — he’s a classically trained violinist — will be evident in the design that he and rock aficionado Elliot put together. Elliot says the laid-back space will rock a punk-church vibe; you’ll sit in reclaimed pews as you dine on the pared-down fare. You’ll also see playful touches like menus affixed to record covers from ’70s rock bands — bring the vinyl to the bar and the staff will play it in the dining room. The dining room will have Catholic “saint” candles bearing the faces of Windy City celebs and musicians (think Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and Johnny Cash), hand-painted by Elliot’s brother Brian Balls. And bandanas will sub for linen napkins. “That’s really why g.e.b. is happening,” Elliot says, “to have a different outlet and have it be more fun.”
Photo courtesy of Anthony Tahlier