LAKEVIEW — Upscale gluten-free restaurant Senza earned a Michelin star after its first year in business, making it Lakeview's only restaurant with the coveted rating.
The restaurant at 2873 N. Broadway, which opened in August 2012, has already expanded to add a gluten-free bakery and a prix-fixe menu.
"Chef Noah Sandoval @SenzaChicago hit his stride after the early reviewers moved on," Michelin Guide Chicago tweeted on Tuesday. "Congrats to a gluten-free Michelin Star!"
Sandoval said he'd had hints that a coveted Michelin star would be coming his way but tried to stay calm. When the call came that Senza had indeed earned a star, he got "lightheaded," he said.
"Yeah, we're going to get drunk," he said of a celebration later tonight. "We're going to put out some good food tonight and then we're going to invite everybody to have a good time."
The Schwa alum said that diners initially "had a lot of negative ideas of what gluten-free means," he said.
"It's mainly — 'Oh, why would you do that?' or 'It's dorky,' or 'I love bread'," he said. "I felt that way, too."
But it's about persuading foodies that gluten-free doesn't have to "taste like cardboard," he said. That Michelin star may help people with any inhibitions to try a wheat-free meal.
"Hopefully, people will second guess themselves when they think that," he said.