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Jul 17, 2008 10:20 AM

Farm-to-table in Chicago

I'm coming in from San Diego at the end of the month and looking for recommendations for farm-to-table restaurants in the Chicago area. If you can, include the general degree of casualness and general price estimate (moderate, expensive, super-expensive, etc.). I'm coming from SD, so moderate out here puts entrees in the $12-20 range, just to give you a scale to work with.

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  1. Not sure of your definition of "farm-to-table," but Bistro Campagne in Lincoln Square primarily uses organic ingredients from sustainable farms. It's casual and by your scale it would fall into the moderate - expensive category.

    The same chef, Michael Altenberg also has a very casual "flatbread" restaurant in Wicker Park on North Avenue that has the same commitment to using organic ingredients. It would certainly be "moderate" in price.

    4 Replies
    1. re: chicgail

      Thanks for the info. By farm-to-table I mean that the restaurant is using produce and meats from known farms with a traceable source, as opposed to the industrial-commodity system that most restaurants use.

      1. re: Salchichero

        Yep, that would be Chef Altenberg's commitment.

        I believe Paul Kahan of Blackbird and Avec also seeks ingredients locally from area farmers.

        I'm sure there are others. I just can't name them off the top of my head.

      2. re: chicgail

        The Wicker Park restaurant is called Crust (one of the first certified organic restaurants in the country).

        Lula cafe uses local and organic when available.

        1. re: rubinow

          Lula is a good recommendation, and it will fit your budget.

      3. North Pond Cafe is right up your alley. Just happened to go last Saturday night and it was exquisite. Chef Bruce Sherman brings in almost all ingredients directly from farms on a daily basis. (Clearly, the soft shell crab I had didn't come from a farm in Indiana ;-), but the morels, pork, carrots, fingerling potatoes, etc in our various dishes did.) It is on the expensive side - entrees ran from $29 to $45 if I remember correctly. Plus the menu is designed with three courses and portion sizes are such that you can enjoy one from each section of the menu. Prices on the first two courses were around $16 - $26, I think. The Chef is a James Beard Award winner and is nationally known; I assure you that it's not just hype either. Enjoy your visit regardless!

        1. North Pond would be on the more expensive end, but definitely what you're looking for.

          Something more moderately priced (and BYO) is Mado.

          Mado Restaurant
          1647 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

          1 Reply
          1. re: jesteinf

            Thanks for all the help. You've all given me plenty to look into.