Chicago’s renowned French bistro, Le Bouchon, 1958 N. Damen, led by Executive Chef Oliver Poilevey, proudly celebrates its 25th year of bringing Paris to the streets of Chicago this June. A Chicago institution, this legendary restaurant has been a popular favorite for Chicagoans and tourists alike, and also a favorite of such luminaries as Julia Child and Barack Obama. The French restaurant has been a family affair since its inception and continues to be with all members of the Poilevey family involved in the day to day operations. Founded by the esteemed Jean-Claude Poilevey and his wife, Susanne, their son, Chef Oliver Poilevey now serves as the Executive Chef.
To kick off the 25th anniversary celebration, Chef Poilevey has created a special anniversary menu consisting of his father’s favorites, available through June 30. Available for $38 per person, the curated menu will offer diners the choice of an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Chef Oliver’s limited-time menu is as follows:
o Quenelle de Brochet: Pike Dumpling with Lobster Bisque
o Vichyssoise Chaud-Froid: Chilled Potato Leek Soup with Warm Fingerling Chips and Truffle
o Warm Goat Cheese Salad: Frisée, Tomato, and Basil
o Rabbit Ragout Chausseur: Faralle, Pearl Onion, Button Mushroom
o Skate Wing Almondine: Green Beans, Satsuma, Caper Brown Butter
o Parisienne Gnocchi: English Peas, Ramps, Pistachio
o Paris Brest
o Assiette de Fromage
Le Bouchon was founded in 1993 by Jean-Claude Poilevey, who hailed from the Burgundy region of France. He began learning his trade at the age of 14, working in London and then the United States, opening the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, Wis. Several years later, he moved to Chicago and brought the taste of France with him. A recent inductee to The Culinary Academy of France, Chef Jean-Claude strived for authenticity in his romantic French bistro. Chef Jean-Claude sadly passed away in 2016 on his way home from the restaurant in an automobile accident.
Today, Jean-Claude’s wife, Susanne, still manages the restaurant as she always has, and Le Bouchon lives on through their sons as well. In addition to Oliver, Nicolas and Henri began working at Le Bouchon at an early age bussing tables, dishwashing, and working in the kitchen. Nicolas now serves as the wine director, while Henri is a host.
After gaining interest in the culinary arts at the age of 13 by helping out at Le Bouchon every summer, Chef Oliver moved to France at the age of19 to start his professional culinary training. During his time in France, Chef Oliver worked in a small bistro in Paris, which spurred his affinity for traditional French cuisine. After returning to Chicago, he gained extensive experience in major restaurants, including The Publican. Oliver has also worked at La Sardine, Le Bouchon’s sister restaurant, as a chef.
“Le Bouchon was such an amazing place to grow up. I remember running around the dining room and spending time in the kitchen with the cooks since I was five years old,” said Chef Oliver of his first memories of Le Bouchon. “The restaurant is a big part of my family’s story and we are honored to be able to celebrate 25 years in the community that has become our home.”