Earlier this year, Western Springs’ proudly , and now it has retained another, perhaps even higher honor: a spot on the Gayot Top 40 Restaurants in the United States list, its third straight year appearing.
Vie joins Chicago restaurants Alinea, Everest and TRU as the only Illinois restaurants on the list. Only eight of the 40 restaurants are outside of major cities, including Vie.
Head chef Paul Virant, along with chef de cuisine Nathan Spears, are credited in the official review of the restaurant with “com[ing] up with some interesting and creative combinations… seamlessly (and often surprisingly) incorporated into dishes that, at their root, are familiar.”
“A great supporter of local and sustainable produce, Virant fashions fleeting delights on his ever-changing menu,” the review declares, summarizing that Virant’s “take on Modern American cuisine is thoroughly enjoyed in austere environs” and awarding a 17/20 rating.
Sears called the honor “reassurance that we’re doing a nice job,” especially for himself in particular, as he has taken over much of the running of the restaurant with Virant focused more on his new downtown restaurant, Perennial Virant (along with a .)
“The Michelin star is great, don’t get me wrong, but the top 40 in the country… to be on a list with all those people is definitely a culinary high,” Sears said.
He added that the Western Springs and suburban location of Vie makes it unique, as it serves the dual purposes of destination restaurant and local favorite—which he called Virant’s original intention.
“Looking at that list, almost everybody on that list is booked at least a month in advance, [but] here you can walk in on a Tuesday and be like, hey, let’s eat!” Sears said. “Being in the neighborhood we are, we have an incredible amount of regulars who come in, and we’re a neighborhood restaurant for a lot of these people.”
An e-mail Wednesday to Vie newsletter subscribers offered “a heartfelt thank you to our guests, staff and fans; without you none of this is possible."