James Beard award-winning chef comes home to Chicago to head new Four Seasons restaurant

Adella Miesner

Since the creation of the Best Chef: Great Lakes award by the James Beard Foundation in 2007, a Chicago chef has won nearly every time. The last non-Chicago chef to win, back in 2015, was Cleveland’s Jonathon Sawyer. And now he’s a Chicago chef, too. Sawyer will be the head […]

Since the creation of the Best Chef: Great Lakes award by the James Beard Foundation in 2007, a Chicago chef has won nearly every time. The last non-Chicago chef to win, back in 2015, was Cleveland’s Jonathon Sawyer.

And now he’s a Chicago chef, too.

Sawyer will be the head chef of Adorn Bar & Restaurant, which opens Oct. 1 in the Four Seasons Chicago (120 E. Delaware Place). “It’s really exciting to say the name Adorn finally,” said Sawyer (the name was a closely guarded secret). “It’s liberating for me.”

It’s a bit of a homecoming for Sawyer, who was born in McHenry and knows the Chicago dining scene well.

Adorn will not be your typical hotel dining room. Taking the space that was last home to Allium restaurant (where Kevin Hickey of Duck Inn was chef), Adorn promises to be more contemporary, taking maximum advantage of its massive east-facing windows and offering a contemporary atmosphere. There will be live music from time to time; otherwise, music will consist of playlists and album sides selected by Sawyer himself.

At Greenhouse Tavern, the restaurant that made Sawyer a national name in the culinary world, the chef was known for his green-focused cooking, reliance on local products and large plates that encouraged guest participation. Adorn with be somewhat similar, though Sawyer will expand his menu to include global influences from his time abroad. You’ll see dishes such as gnocchi fritto with Italian ham, leche de tigre with shrimp and scallops, and lobster and spaghetti “Joe Beef style” (a nod to the famous Montreal restaurant).

Fans of Greenhouse Tavern will recognize such dishes as the crispy confit of chicken wings, tomato tartlet with English cheddar and Sawyer’s “bread and edible candle service,” featuring a “candle” made from aged A-5 wagyu fat.

The restaurant will launch with dinner service only; breakfast and lunch service will follow, and brunch, tea service and happy hour menus will be unveiled before the end of the year.

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