Food + Art Intertwine At This Chicago Eatery


restaurant dining room with tufted leather banquettes beneath colorful artworks

Photo: Casey Cora

Life imitates art, but so does food, at least according to Rick Bayless. Once a year, the James Beard-award-winning chef offers the Art Menu at his Mexican restaurant Topolobampo in River North, with dishes inspired by artworks he has acquired over decades. Regarded as one of the most substantial private collections of Mexican art in Chicago, the works have been photographed by Sandro Miller and will be published in Frontera Art: The Bayless Collection this spring.

The art-loving restaurateur searches for inspiration among the 160 works displayed throughout his home, office and restaurants. He selects a few and asks the kitchen chefs, “What does this piece of art evoke in you?” Taking into consideration color, texture and form, he says, “We create dishes that take you visually and texturally in the plate but echo the emotions of the art.” The Art Menu is available through April 25.