How Chicago Steakhouses Are Breaking From Tradition

Downtown Chicago has always been known for its traditional steakhouses, but the Windy City is riding a new wave.

The once formulaic process to opening and operating a steakhouse has given way to a wider geographic footprint and a different dining experience.

The dining experience is less classic and more international, with a sharing of plates inspired by the food of other countries amidst trendy music and a light and airy décor.

Outside of downtown, steakhouses are popping up from West Loop and Humboldt Park to Portage Park and River North.

The new brand of steakhouse is being driven by a number of factors, but Maple & Ash Director of Wine and Service Belinda Chang may have summed it up best, telling Thrillist, “[The steakhouse] is a classic form -- an archetype for Chicago. Classic forms are constantly ripe for refinement and evolution.”

Some of the steakhouses breaking the mold: Boeufhaus where French meets German; Argentinean steakhouse Rural Society; the Euro-inspired Bavette's Bar & Boeuf; and Roka Akor (think Robata Japanese cuisine).

How are customers feeling about the break from tradition? Pretty good.

“I think people have been very welcoming to the idea of redoing the steakhouse experience,” RPM Steak Executive Chef Doug Psaltis told Thrillist. “People don’t necessarily want to dine at a place where all the vegetables, salads, and desserts are an afterthought…Steakhouses needed a refresh.” Read more