I had the privilege of having dinner at a new Chicago Restaurant, the Urban Belly (3053 N California Ave Chicago, IL 60618 - (773) 583-0500).
The chef, Bill Kim, said for 20 years he had a vision of opening his own restaurant, setting his own menu with his own hours and his own, trusted staff (which includes many family members). He kept pinching himself saying he has never been happier in his life. People try to pigeon hole him....it is fine dining, it is a noodle shop,...but it is Bill Kim's vision. He only offers 3 of his favorite foods on the meun; dumplings, noodles and rices and they are sensational. The food is to die for as is the setting. But mostly, what is the coolest is that Bill Kim is now living his dream and it emanates thru out the restaurant. He states on his website, "We All go through the process of evolving. In that process we seek out people who we can learn from along the way. Inspiration is personal. Some of us seek out knowledge and learn from the best to challenge our evolutionary process. I keep myself open to learning everything I can and apply some of that knowledge to my own style of cooking. Now, there is more meaning to life than just being a chef. Yes, you develop your cuisine but it's more than that for me, now it's an expression of who I am. That's what UrbanBelly is all about."
He closes at 9pm and it is a BYOB. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.