José Andrés Expands His Jaleo Restaurant Empire to Chicago
José Andrés is an incredibly busy man. On top of a restaurant empire, the chef and humanitarian also runs a non-profit, World Central Kitchen, which provides meals to people in times of need and natural disaster; he even managed to squeeze in teaching at George Washington University, where his class focuses on “current issues in the global food landscape.” (It’s no wonder he’s been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.) And after debuting yet another restaurant concept, The Patio at Fish—a seasonal pop-up inspired by crab shacks—this summer, he already has a new project on the horizon. On September 10, ThinkFoodGroup announced that a sixth U.S. location of Jaleo will be opening in Chicago mid-2020—the first location opened in D.C. in 1993, and has since spread to Las Vegas, Bethesda, Crystal City, and Disney Springs, with an additional location planned in Dubai.
The Chicago Jaleo will live in the city’s River North neighborhood at 500 North Clark Street, occupying a 10,000-square-foot space. With the opening so far away, details are scarce at the moment; however, we do know that each location of Jaleo offers “unique elements and menu items,” so we can probably expect some Chicago-exclusive meals. Tapas, of course, are a given, since the brand is touted with helping to popularize them in the U.S.—a glance at the D.C. menu shows croquetas de pollo (traditional chicken fritters), impressive cheese and vegetable spreads, and patatas bravas (fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and alioli), which are a Jaleo favorite. Per a spokesperson for ThinkFoodGroup, Chicago is one of Andrés’ favorite food cities in the world, and he’s excited to finally make his mark there after years of waiting for the right opportunity to open a restaurant.
Most recently, Andrés has been working in the Bahamas with World Central Kitchen to provide relief to residents post-Hurricane Dorian, which hit the islands as a category five storm. On Monday, he posted a video update on his Twitter saying that by the end of the day, he expected that WCK would reach a total of over 100,000 meals served. To help out, you can text “FOOD” to 80100 to donate $10 to World Central Kitchen, or, donate to the GoFundMe run by Atlantis Paradise Island, who’s working with WCK and the Bahamas Red Cross to provide much-needed food and supplies to affected areas.