The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

The Michelin Frenzy has Begun

By Anthony Todd in Food on Nov 10, 2010 3:40PM

Christmas came early this year for some Chicago restaurants. The lucky owners and employees arrived at work this morning to find chalk outlines of the Michelin man on their sidewalks, the symbol that they had won the prestigious Bib Gourmand award. This award focuses on quality and value, and rewards only restaurants that offer an appetizer, an entree and a glass of wine for under $40. Phil Vettel reports that Frontera, Girl and the Goat and Green Zebra, among many other Chicago favorites, got the honor.

First, we applaud Michelin for having the coolest award system ever. The idea of teams of food reviewers sneaking around during the night spraying sidewalks makes us giggle, and we can't get the image of a combination ninja/chef outfit out of our heads.

Unfortunately, Vettel speculates that many restauranteurs may be disappointed by this honor. Bib Gourmands aren't often given in combination with stars, and he speculates that some chefs will be disappointed by their supposed "second-class" status, a charge that Michelin denies. On the other hand, some less-world-famous Chicago restaurants, including Han202, West Town Tavern, La Creperie, Belly Shack and The Bristol are likely to be thrilled by their inclusion, and it's wonderful to see Michelin include a system that gives these spots their due. It's all a matter of perspective. On the other hand, if you think chefs are frantic now, just wait till next Wednesday when the stars are announced for real.