When Michelin-starred Chef Michael Mina decided to open his first restaurant in Chicago, he checked into the Waldorf Astoria. Margeaux Brasserie is now his “love note” to a classic, French dining experience reminiscent of 1920’s Paris, and a tip of the hat to Midwest hospitality.
How has the Chicago dining scene evolved in recent years?
Chefs such as Charlie Trotter, Jean Banchet, Michael Kornick and Paul Kahan pioneered the Chicago dining scene. Today, it’s one of the best food cities in America with something for everyone.
A recent trend has been the introduction of restaurants that combine great food with photo-worthy interiors and an enjoyable atmosphere. More people are looking for a fun neighborhood spot that they can keep coming back to. This is what we wanted to achieve with the opening of Margeaux Brasserie last year.
What dishes signify the city?
Some may think Chicago is only about steaks and deep dish pizza, but the city offers an eclectic array of dining and it has such a diverse collection of chefs and restaurants, so it’s worth exploring the different neighborhoods.
What attracted you to Waldorf Astoria Chicago for Petit Margeaux and Margeaux Brasserie?
Their world-class service and Midwest hospitality are perfectly in line with the Mina Group philosophy. Also, Chicagoans are amazing! They love to dine out and explore with their palates.
What makes great service?
It’s when we’re able to truly connect with our guests and create a memory. We want people to feel like they’re part of our family when they arrive at our restaurants, and that they’re coming home.
What is your must-see destination in Chicago?
Chicago is truly amazing in the summer. The city comes alive with festivals, art installations and concerts. Going to Wrigley to catch a Cubs game is also something that never gets old.
What do you do to unwind?
I love spending time in the water—whether in my pool at home, or in the ocean in Hawaii.
Where do you look for inspiration?
It’s a combination. Experiencing a new city, different spices, ingredients, and preparations always inspires me. But additionally, I’m inspired by all the talented chefs that I have the pleasure of working with in the kitchen.
Where do you want to travel to next?
I have never been to South America, and I am very excited that I have a trip to Colombia planned.
Who would you most like to cook with and why?
Chris Rock and Kevin Hart. They are my favorite comedians and I love comic relief. I think it would be a blast!
What can’t you live without?
Both my home and work family. They are the air that I breathe.