Roux - Chicago
Charlie McKenna, perhaps best known for his north side barbecue restaurant Lillie's Q, is bringing his magic to Hyde Park with Roux. A kind of "all day breakfast place," Roux represents southern home cooking on the south side; Hyde Park is lucky to have a place like this.
Opening in spring of 2022, Charlie McKenna's Roux has already scored a Bib Gourmand award, and it's getting a lot of praise from local critics. John Kessler writes in Chicago magazine, "Everything about this counter-service joint — which serves breakfast, lunch, and, on some days, supper — feels right. The bright space nails a certain contemporary Southern aesthetic that’s industrial but homey, with exposed ductwork and antique sideboards. If you’ve been to the New Orleans café Willa Jean, you’ll have a sense of déjà vu, right down to the square-cut laminated biscuits, a must-order."
Much like McKenna's Lilly's Q, this is not a fancy place, but it has the down home vibe and comfort food selections that make you feel like you've been coming to this place all your life.
For breakfast, there's biscuits and gravy and country ham (of course), but also more inventive takes on the Southern tradition with Fried Green Tomato Tartine, the crisp tomato rounds a crunchy contrast to the pimento cheese and fried egg, served with bacon and brioche Texas toast; and the brisket hash is splashed with "hot sauce Hollandaise."
On the "all day supper" menu, the chicken fried steak is about as good as it gets, and much praise has gone to the shrimp and grits, which are glistening with chile worcestershire butter and set upon perfectly prepared stone ground heirloom grits. And about those grits, you can get them covered (with cheese), chunked (with thick cut bacon), country (sausage gravy), cracked (with egg any style), capped (with mushrooms) or smothered (caramlized onions).
Though next store to the University of Chicago, Charlie McKenna's Roux is worth the drive across town, any time of day.