Tuesday, December 10, 2013

From Chester's Chicken to Fine Dining

We heard yesterday from Chef Jake Bickelhaupt, an Uptown resident who's previously worked at Charlie Trotter's, Alinea, and Schwa.  Most recently, he and his wife Alexa Welsh have been creating underground dining experiences at their home under the name "Sous Rising."

Jake and Alexa are taking over and transforming the former Chester's Chicken storefront at 4662 N Broadway into a fine dining restaurant called "42 grams," currently scheduled to open in early to mid-January, depending on the oh-so-friendly Chicago inspection and licensing process.  Reservations are being taken now through the website.

It's something different:  A total of 18 seats.  Two seatings per evening, Tuesday through Saturday.  Pricey, prix fixe menu, multiple courses, 2.5 hours per meal.

Chef Bickelhaupt provided some answers to commonly asked questions:
What is the type of food you will be serving? BYOB, pre-paid, multi-course prix fixe menu. We will only have a total of 18 seats. 10 seats for larger groups at a communal table and 8 seats near the kitchen at the chefs counter. The restaurant is a chef driven concept. We have no investors so we are free to be very small and personal. We want guests to feel that they are coming to our house for a fine dining dinner party. We will use a staggered seating system that will allow us to focus on a small group of people at a time. It will be like you have the whole restaurant to yourself. We don't want any pretension and we will always have great music playing.

What is the food/hospitality philosophy of 42 grams?  The type of food is focused heavily on the experience. I don't like to categorize the food as (new) American. That is boring. I serve around 15 courses that will take the guests on a journey to create a whole experience much like a play or musical would. Everything must make sense and be intentionally in place. Nothing goes into the menu without much deliberation. The goal is to be completely authentic. And Charlie Trotter taught me how to achieve authenticity.  Don't try be better than anyone else, but do something no one else is doing. That's what we are trying to achieve with 42 grams.

What are you looking to do with the restaurant / what do you hope to achieve? We want 42 grams to be one of the best restaurants in Chicago. We hope to achieve a loyal fan base. We want to deliver a restaurant that has great food, attentive service, perfect timing of courses, fun ambiance that comes together as whole that can be an experience to remember. I am so passionate to make people happy.
You can check out the website here, and follow the storefront restoration on 42 gram's Facebook page.


  1. More awesome news in the hood. This place looks GREAT!

  2. This is great for the area and speaks volumes about its future prospects (post-Wilson stop rebuild). The dichotomy between a $200 per meal trendy restaurant and the hordes of homeless and hungry lined up for the night ministry bus mere blocks away is certainly interesting. The neighborhood has to change at some point though.

  3. The onion wrote about this too: http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-nations-gentrified-neighborhoods-threatened,2419/

  4. It's about time we get a new fancy restaurant in Uptown. Let there be more to come along with other promising retail and trendy bars.