Michelin Picks ‘Bib Gourmand’ Winners

Smoque, The Purple Pig, and Spacca Napoli.
Smoque, The Purple Pig, and Spacca Napoli. Photo: courtesy of Michelin

The Michelin Guide’s star ratings won’t be announced for another week, but last night a “street team” traveled across town and left stenciled Bib Gourmand symbols at 46 different restaurants. What does it all mean? That designation “denotes good cuisine at a reasonable price in a variety of comfort categories.” Specifically, it’s a collection of restaurants where one can order two courses plus a glass of wine or dessert, and it will only cost $40. It’s sort of the pregame for the main event next week. But it’s a wide a varied list, with over 20 different cuisines. Plus there were a lot of surprises. So who made the list?

As we have a tendency to do, we immediately jumped to the two barbecue picks. Oddly, both Smoque BBQ and Twin Anchors made the list. Michelin couldn’t have picked two more different places. Smoque is the authentic newcomer on the scene, which helped reinvigorate barbecue in Chicago. Twin Anchors, on the other hand, bakes their ribs and often shows up on lists of the most overrated barbecue in town.

Plus, even though we may have been crowned the best pizza city in the country, there is no love for deep dish. Only Spacca Napoli, a traditional Neapolitan pizza place, makes it. Great Lake, the place most critics in town consider to be the best, is nowhere to be found. That ultimately means that it’s not going to be included at all, or that it will be getting a star. This could be interesting.

But what most people are talking about this morning are the Bib Gourmand picks that everyone hoped would get stars. A restaurant can’t be on both lists, so heavy hitters like the The Publican will have to do without any stars at all. Most assumed it’d be in the running for at least one. But both Avec and Blackbird didn’t appear, which probably means that both are up.

Rick Bayless’s Frontera Grill also made it, which means that one of the most popular and successful Mexican restaurants in the country won’t be getting a star. It seems like only Topolobampo will be in the running next week. Xoco seems to be missing in action.

Ultimately, it’s impressive that they covered so many different kinds of cuisines. But like any roundup, it seems a tad incomplete. What do you think? What places did they leave out?

Michelin’s Bib Gourmand Winners

Ann Sather
Belly Shack
Bistro 110
The Bristol
Ceres’ Table
De Cero
Frances’ Deli
Frontera Grill
Gilt Bar
Girl & The Goat
Green Zebra
Han 202
Kith & Kin
La Creperie
La Petite Folie
Los Nopales
Lula Café
M. Henry
Mixteco Grill
Opart Thai House
Paramount Room
The Publican
The Purple Pig
Raj Darbar
Riccardo Trattoria
Smoque BBQ
Spacca Napoli
Taste of Peru
Thai Village
Twin Anchors
Urban Belly
West Town Tavern
Michelin Picks ‘Bib Gourmand’ Winners