Chefs John Shields and Karen Urie Shields announced further details for the casual half of their dual concept Smyth + The Loyalist in the West Loop. The Loyalist will open its doors a few weeks before its tasting menu counterpart Smyth.
“For us, the food at The Loyalist is food that we as chefs crave; it’s dishes that we cook at home for our family,” says Shields. “We put our care and creativity into each dish, so while it may not be something you’ve ever had before, it tastes comforting and familiar.”
The restaurant’s exclusive partnership with a local Bourbonnais farm grants them access to a wealth of heirloom and hard-to-find ingredients that they incorporate into the menu. Selections include roasted asparagus with toasted hazelnuts and lovage as well as grilled fava beans with sea salt. Heartier dishes include aged carrot with bone marrow and béarnaise and lightly smoked beets with blood sausage and beer cream. A family style dish of brown butter roasted lamb shoulder with a side of oysters and farm fresh lettuces with pistachio and chilies begs to be shared. The Shields’ experience on the East Coast inspires seafood-focused plates like smoked fish and sardines with pickles or grilled and raw oysters. A signature item on the menu will be The Loyalist Burger that incorporates the deep flavors of bone marrow, bacon, and Marmite alongside housemade American cheese and onion-infused mayo.
Guests looking to satiate a craving for sweets can turn to Karen’s Cakes: inspired by classic favorites, handcrafted and made with love by Chef Karen Urie Shields. Selections include chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream and blood oranges, lemon cake with bergamot tea frosting, and marzipan cake with chamomile poached apricots. Other desserts include wood fire roasted cherries with vanilla soft serve and yogurt sorbet with black sesame praline.
The Loyalist offers a variety of classic cocktails that incorporate seasonal ingredients as well as craft beer and hand-selected wines. Drinks and plates can be enjoyed at the restaurant’s 14-seat bar or at a table. The restaurant preserves the pre-existing structure of the space while adding curated elements that create an inviting atmosphere. Herring bone walls in a rich charcoal tone set themselves against wood beams for a balance of texture, color, and composition.
Assisting Chef Shields and Chef Urie Shields is Mark Bolton as the chef de cuisine. Chef Bolton was most recently chef de cuisine at Central Kitchen in San Francisco but has also learned under the tutelage of Chicago chefs Giuseppe Tentori at Boka and Anthony Martin at Tru.