Bistronomic Restaurant is a charming French bistro with a well-priced menu and a white tablecloth ambiance. It’s also one of the only independently owned restaurants in its immediate neighborhood.
Martial Noguier, the eight-year- old restaurant’s very French chef/owner says it’s hard for an independent restaurant to compete with the national chains and local restaurant groups.
“Like other independents, I don't have a cushion. I have fixed costs-such as rent and salaries- that have to be paid. And to pay them, I have to fill the restaurant. Too many slow nights, and we’re in trouble.”
To stay in the public’s eye, he participates in significant events, including the upcoming Food Bowl in mid-August and Chicago Gourmet at the beginning of September. This year, Bistronomic will be hosting a French/ Japanese dinner Chef Macku Chan (chef/owner of Macku Sushi) on Thursday, August 15 ($85 excluding tax and gratuities).
Bistronomic won the Hamburger Hop that kicks off Chicago Gourmet in both 2016 and 2017, an interesting win for a French bistro that’s better known for its pate and onion soup than it is for its burgers.
“People want French food when they come to Bistronomic,” Noguier says. “And if they’re coming back for the second or third or tenth time, it’s often because they want to order their favorite dish.”
On a typical night, forty per cent of the diners are repeat customers.To stay current and seasonal, Noguier changes the menu four times a year. Perennial favorites, however, stay on the menu, albeit with seasonal updates.
“Some customers order the same dish every time they come to the restaurant,” Noguier explains. “Even so, that doesn’t mean you can’t adjust a dish to keep it seasonal.”
Neither does it mean that a classic French dish has to conform to a rigid recipe. Accomplished chefs like Noguier put their own stamp on virtually everything that comes out of the kitchen, so the mussels served at Bistronomic aren’t the same as the mussels served elsewhere.
Noguier shops at the Green City Market on a regular basis. In addition to looking for the best produce, he notes which produce is available in abundance.
“At the beginning of summer,” he explains, "locally grown produce is scarce, flavorless and expensive. Later in the season, there's an abundance of summer fruits and vegetables. In addition to being tastier, they're also less expensive."
Specials are another way to grow the business. Bistronomic, for example, offers a three-course prix-fixe for $39. On Monday and Tuesday nights, the price is reduced to $34. The restaurant also runs specials for most holidays, including Passover, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, and Mother’s Day.
In the end, however, the success or failure of an independent restaurant hinges on the quality of the food and the personality of the chef and owner. Bistronomic gets two thumbs up for both.
Bistronomic Restaurant, 840 N. Wabash 312.944.8400
Sunny Side Up Restaurant
If there was a contest for the city's favorite meal, brunch on Saturdays and Sundays would easily take top honors. Sunny Side Up Restaurant on Clark Street and on Superior does both, in addition to serving breakfast and lunch the rest of the week.
Owner Nick Sord, 31, is a third generation restaurateur. He says he knew from the beginning that he wanted to follow his father and grandfather's lead and went out on his own before he turned 30.
"I wasn't sure about the format," he says, "but when I saw the property on Wabash, I thought it was the perfect setting for breakfast and lunch."
Sunny Side Up's menu is loaded with options, some of them simpler than others. There are, of course, the musts: oatmeal, eggs , toast, waffles, French toast and breakfast potatoes. And then there are the splurges, many of them done with a choice of French toast, pancakes or waffles.
You can, for example, partner the base of choice with fresh peaches and cream; fresh bananas, strawberries, chocolate sauce and a topping of whipped cream, nuts and a cherry; or creamy peanut butter, chocolate sauce, and a sprinkle of crunchy corn flakes.
On the other hand, there's the sweet potato waffle sandwich with avocado, spinach and a fried egg; a yogurt parfait with granola and fresh berries; and a terrific egg white omelet stuffed with spinach, tomato, avocado and feta cheese that's already my dish of choice.
Sunny Side Up also serves sandwiches, salads, and burgers, including topped with a beef burger "smothered" in BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, mushrooms, bacon and grilled onions and a Cobb salad made with chicken breast, mixed greens, bacon, avocado, bleu cheese, tomato and a red wine vinaigrette.
With ample portions and a menu that's a people pleaser, it's difficult to imagine anyone leaving hungry. And FYI, Sunny Side Up does refills on both a basic iced tea and a basic iced coffee.
Sunny Side Up Restaurant: 42 E. Superior 312.930.4242. 1028 N. Clark Street 312.967.0777.
Both restaurants are open 8am-3pm daily
August is summer at its best. Check out the possibilities and enjoy.
Koi Fine Asian Cuisine & Lounge
On Saturday, August 17th at 1 pm, Koi is holding a Sushi Rolling Class. Participants will have a hands on opportunity to work with seaweed, sticky rice, and spicy tuna. Lunch and soft drinks are included, and there will also be a cash bar.
Contact email@example.com for tickets ($25).
Koi Fine Asian Cuisine & Lounge
The Chicago Firehouse Restaurant
Sundays-Wednesdays from 5pm to 10 pm, The Chicago Firehouse Restaurant is partnering an 8-ounce prime cheese burger with Firehouse fries and beer for $15. Guinness, Stella Artois, Goose Island 312, Virtue Rose Cider and Bell's Oberon are a few of the options.
The Chicago Firehouse,1401 South Michigan Avenue, 312.786.1401.
On Tuesday, August 13, Morton's The Steakhouse is celebrating National Filet Day with $1 petite filet mignon sandwiches in the bar area. The limit is 12 sandwiches per person.
Joy District is doing the second installment of their District Divas monthly buffet breakfast on Saturday, August 17 from 12pm-3pm. Guests can sample the brunch buffet and mimosa bar ($50) while watching performances by a cast of some of the city's "most glamorous and talented drag entertainers."
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve.
Joy District, 112 W. Hubbard Street
Marshall's Landing in the Merchandise Mart is giving away a pair of tickets to a Chicago Cubs game in partnership with Bell's Brewery through a contest now through Wednesday, August 31.
Every guest who order a Bell's Brewery Oberon Ale at Marshall's Landing throughout the month of August will receive one punch on a contest punch card. With every six punches, west's will be entered into a final drawing for a pair of Cubs' tickets to a game in September.
Marshall's Landing at theMart