Chefs John B. Shields and Karen Urie return home to open Smyth + The Loyalist, a restaurant and lounge concept, this spring in the West Loop. [Smyth + The Loyalist]
WEST LOOP — A chef power couple is returning to their roots in Chicago with plans to open a new restaurant and lounge concept in the West Loop.
Executive Chef John B. Shields and Pastry Chef Karen Urie Shields plan to open Smyth + The Loyalist, a restaurant with a downstairs lounge, at 177 N. Ada St. in late spring, according to a news release.
At Smyth, the 40-seat dining room will offer an original, eight-course tasting menu for $135 and a 16-course tasting menu for $220. The chef couple will rely on an "exclusive custom collaboration" with a 20-acre Illinois farm for much of the restaurant's produce, herbs and flowers.
The Loyalist, the Shield's downstairs lounge and bar, will serve classic cocktails and casual fare with quality ingredients.
The new project marks the husband and wife culinary team's return home to Chicago after five years operating Town House and Riverstead Inn in the countryside of Southwestern Virginia. The pair are returning with two daughters in tow.
Both chefs were bred in Chicago. John worked as a sous chef at both Charlie Trotter's and Alinea and Karen worked as Charlie Trotter's — where she and John met — and at Tru.
In 2008, the couple turned down an offer to lead the opening of a Charlie Trotter restaurant in Las Vegas, opting to open their own restaurant in Virginia instead.
John, a native of Florida, was named a "Best New Chef" in 2010 by Food & Wine magazine and Karen was named a "Rising Star" by Star Chefs.
Smyth is named for the small rural county located at the intersections of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky where the Shields settled after Chicago.
Another chef power couple, David and Anna Posey, also plan to open a restaurant in the West Loop this year.
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