Tucked away inside frosted windows on south Wabash Street and intriguing an area that is fairly barren and quite devoid of heavy night traffic, Michelin Star-rated Acadia Chicago brings to the South Loop what L20 or Alinea brings to Lincoln Park: strongly recommended fine dining. 

Chef/Owner Ryan McCaskey is a Saignon, Vietnam transplant who was raised in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago and has built quite the following of chefs. McCaskey’s broad skill set and diverse kitchen experience—Trio under Grant Achatz and TRU under Rick Tramonto, Goose Cove Lodge in Maine and the Black Locust in Wisconsin, to name a few—has layered the talents and techniques required for McCaskey to build a successful, harmonious fine-dining hot spot.

His culinary style, described as simultaneously contemporary and classic, has certainly lent itself to not only the menu, but the experience and even décor at Acadia. The simple bar area is paralleled with beautifully soaring ceilings and neutral, two-toned walls. The chairs, wrapped in white, don’t-spill-on-me fabric are a serene accent for the large dark tables. The minimalist design sets the table for the modern American cuisine that’s featured in both the twelve-course chef’s tasting menu and the more approachable bar offerings (at gastropub pricing.) Beyond its first AAA Five Diamond Restaurant rating and second One Star Michelin Guide Award, the restaurant is touted for its bar food—though I use that term loosely, it’s still the technique-driven quality that Chef McCaskey is known for—including his award winning Acadia Burger (a double patty with house made apple wood bacon, double crème gouda, “special sauce”, garlic dill pickles and potato salad) and the Stonington, Maine Lobster Roll with paprika and chives.  

For a la carte options, check out the 62 Degree Swan Creek Farm Egg with pistachio bread, frisee, radish and allium juice. Or the Foie Gras Torchon with Asian pear, Maine blueberry gelee, almond, brussels sprout leaves, and vin santo.

Acadia is open for dinner on Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. until 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m., and Sunday from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Reservations can be made online or by calling  312.360.9500.
Operators across the nation would probably agree that summer is the “berry” best time to feature California strawberry signature menu items. California strawberry  specials help drive traffic in every menu part with eye-catching color and bright flavor.

Industry pundits encourage limited-time offers (LTOs) to boost brand excitement and drive sales. Some popular Strawberry LTOs return annually due to customer demand, and some find their way on to the permanent menu. That’s why so many chains rely on an annual strawberry promotion, year-after-year, it’s what the customers want, and it increases traffic during a high volume season.  Look to the California Strawberry Commission for innovative menu ideas for your summer menu specials. Expand the beverage menu with a refreshing Basil Strawberry Lemonade which can be served as a cocktail, too. Add a versatile summer Strawberry Salsa which is great with chips and an excellent topping for a white fish entrée, or taco. Or try adding a savory appetizer like Strawberry Gazpacho to start and Grilled Strawberries with Black Pepper Ice Cream as a show-stopping finale. Good news for operators: California strawberries are available all year round, so LTOs can easily
become permanent customer favorites.

Visit www.californiastrawberries.com for summer menu ideas. From whole, sliced, diced, grilled,
roasted and braised, California strawberries has a recipe for you.