At the beginning of 2021, there are a total of 21 Michelin-star restaurants in Chicago. This includes a single three-star restaurant, Grant Achatz’s Alinea, three two-star restaurants, and 17 one-star restaurants. Michelin has postponed the release of its 2021 Chicago guide due to the coronavirus pandemic, so all ratings are carried forward from the previous year.
As with several other cities throughout the US, Michelin has postponed the release of the 2021 Chicago guide until further notice. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused much devastation to the restaurant industry, with an estimate of just 13% of Michelin star restaurants worldwide operating as normal during late April 2020. These numbers improved globally over the intervening months, but the situation in the has US remained critical.
By mid September, around the time the Chicago Guide would be announced during any normal year, there were only 27 Michelin-star restaurants open for business in the entire country. Unable to visit most restaurants, let alone rate them, Michelin announced that the 2021 Chicago guide would be suspended until such time as the industry is able to safely return to some kind of normality. A Michelin spokesperson said ‘Our inspection team is fully committed to support and promote restaurants by being flexible, respectful and realistic as recovery takes shape.
Michelin has not ruled out the publication of a 2021 guide later in the year, but at this stage it’s too early to tell if or when it might be practical to do so. In the meantime, the company is helping to support the restaurant industry in its time of need with online fundraisers and a new ‘takeout’ filter on their website that helps potential customers identify restaurants that are still open online.
For now, the ratings remain the same as in the 2020 guide, with a few notable exceptions. In the top two tiers, ratings remain identical to 2020, with Grant Achatz’s Alinea remaining the city’s only three-star restaurant, while Acadia, Oriole and Smythe also retain their two-star status from the previous year.
Sadly, four restaurants are missing from last year’s list of one-star establishments. Japanese omakase bar Kikkō remains open, but lost it’s star following the departure of chef Mariya Russell in June, while the remaining three have closed their doors permanently due to the pandemic. These include Band of Bohemia, the country’s only Michelin-starred gastropub, Blackbird, a West Loop landmark that counted President Barack Obama and Michael Jordan among its former diners, and Jean Joho’s Everest, perched atop the Chicago Stock Exchange since 1986, which served its final covers on New Year’s Eve.
Michelin Guide Chicago 2020 - The Full List