WEST LOOP — A chef power couple has returned to Chicago to open a pair of stylish sister restaurants on Ada Street.
Executive chef John B. Shields and pastry chef Karen Urie Shields opened The Loyalist, the more casual half of Smyth + The Loyalist, at 177 N. Ada St., on Saturday. Featuring a tasting menu, Smyth is slated to open in September, a representative confirmed.
The Loyalist focuses on rustic fare inspired by seasonal ingredients and classic cocktails. The Shields are working with an exclusive farm partner in Downstate Bourbonnais to source much of the restaurant and lounge's produce, herbs and flowers.
• The Loyalist Burger, seared with shaved onions and topped with made-in-house American cheese, house-made pickled cucumbers and onions, slathered with an onion-infused mayo on a toasted sesame seed bun.
• Roasted beets, avocado, pumpkin seed butter
• Chicken liver mousse, sourdough toast, radish, salted cherry
• Spicy clams and spaghetti
• Broiled sea trout, kasu, charred cucumber
• Crispy chicken thighs, Carolina gold rice grits, pickled tripe
• Aged ribeye, brown butter, black garlic
• Lemongrass sundae, blueberries, salted black licorice
The broiled trout at The Loyalist. [Smyth + The Loyalist]
Beverage director Roger Landes crafted a cocktail menu utilizing fresh and preserved ingredients from the farm and General Manager/Sommelier Kelly Coughlin curated a selection of wines and craft beers.
• The Chip Marlow Conspiracy: gin, lemon, Earl Grey, genepi, orange bitters, white wine
• Nothing Noble: bourbon, demerara, Amargo Valet, lemon, mint
• Papa Doble: white rum, grapefruit, lime, maraschino liqueur
• Providence Manhattan: rye, Vermouth di Torino, Cynar, pipe tobacco
• Under the Volcano: mezcal, pamplemousse, lime, herbsaint, Hellfire bitters, shaved ice
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.
Chefs John B. Shields and Karen Urie return home to open Smyth + The Loyalist, a restaurant and lounge concept. [Smyth + The Loyalist]
Both chefs were bred in Chicago. John worked as a sous chef at both Charlie Trotter's and Alinea and Karen worked at 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.
With seating for about 105, The Loyalist welcomes walk-ins and also offers reservations via Tock. Tock reservations include reserved booths with a $20 deposit and reserved spots at a communal table with no deposit required.
The Loyalist is open 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesdays-Thursdays and 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
The Shields announced they would open Smyth + The Loyalist on Ada in January.
Another chef power couple, David and Anna Posey, also plan to open a restaurant in the West Loop this year.
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