The National Chicago

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Create a place where you would want to be…

The Big Heat: Chicago’s Food and Drink Fifty 2015

Newcity’s Big Heat 2015 represents a thick slice of Chicago’s culinary culture: butchers and cheese mongers, restaurateurs, critics, even some sommeliers and chefs. This year, however, we’re focusing less on people at the stove and more on the people behind the stove. These are the men and women who set the standard, change the game, initiate food movements, re-imagine what it means to have dinner in Chicago—and perhaps most importantly, help fill our lives with exponentially more deliciousness. Some of their names will be very familiar, others will be entirely unfamiliar, and they’re all just some of the personalities who are critically shaping the way we eat in Chicago. Just some. Just a slice of a large and growing community of leaders in Chicago food culture. Apologies if we missed a few of your favorites, which we undoubtedly have. There are many more who could easily have been on this list, which only overviews the immense range of enthusiasm, creativity and talent that decisively influences the food served to us in restaurants, in retail stores and on the streets of Chicago, which stands among the major food capitals of the world, thanks in good measure to the following fifty. (David Hammond)

Bruce Finkelman
Partner, Bite Café, Beauty Bar, Longman & Eagle, Thalia Hall, Dusek’s, Punch House and The Promontory
Bruce Finkelman is one of those guys who makes all of us feel like we’re under-achievers. He has his fingers in so many pots, he ran out of fingers long ago. In addition to his many eating and drinking venues, he’s working with his partner Craig Golden on The National, a chef-driven market in Chicago’s business district scheduled to open December, 2015. It all started with the Empty Bottle, his self-described “cat-ridden hole in the wall,” one of only two Chicago venues to make the Rolling Stone list of nation’s twenty best rock clubs. All his bars and restaurants follow his simple maxim: “Create a place where you would want to be, and there are sure to be some others who will like it as well.”

To view the full list click here.

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