Not every restaurant has the structure or spirit to last generations. Some, like pop-ups, are engineered against this very idea. The ones that last are usually borne of a unique idea or have some quality that makes them a bedrock of the community they serve. Locally, Lula Café comes to mind, or Blackbird in the West Loop. My favorite example is Chez Panisse, Alice Waters’ spot in Berkeley that established the local and sustainable movement that seems to be table stakes for any serious restaurant that launches today. Almost 50 years after its founding, it’s still relevant. Whenever I visit, I experience the simplest of vegetables in a way I almost never do. The glow of soft light, the craftsman-style environment that surrounds you, the conviviality and concern of the committed staff create an essence that feels like home.
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