In January 2010, chef Curtis Duffy took a one-month sabbatical from
"You look at the definition of 'grace,' and it represented the food I was doing at the time," Duffy said. "It's about this pursuit of gracefulness, elegance, simplicity."
As he did before the sabbatical, diners asked Duffy to autograph their menu after the meal. Now, he began signing: "It’s all about grace." Duffy knew, then, if he ever owned his own restaurant, and if he ever wanted to earn three
And so "Grace" will grace the West Loop Randolph corridor sometime in early summer 2012.
At present, Duffy and team are working in an empty 10,000-square foot, two-level space with exposed brick walls and vertical structural beams. The dining room, lounge and kitchen occupy 4,500-square feet on the street level. They've slated 75 seats, including a private dining room that seats 14.
Duffy hasn't decided on the menu format, but it'll be similar to Avenues' prix fixe with one exception: no "a la carte" options.
"We couldn't change the dining room design at Avenues," Duffy said. "Now Grace will be more about the overall embodiment of the restaurant, the ultimate pursuit of 'grace,' from the service patterns to the plates to the food."
Duffy began his Chicago career at
Fun fact from Phil Vettel: "There was a Grace restaurant in that neighborhood before. Chef Ted Cizma opened Grace (named for his elder daughter) at 623 W. Randolph (where Meiji used to be) in 1999. It had a nice run, and it got Cizma onto Food & Wine's top 10 new chefs list the next year. He's cooking at some resort near Traverse City, I believe."