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A taste of history at Chicago's Big Jones

Southern cuisine has long been characterized as a style of cooking that’s unhealthy. But at Big Jones, a fine-dining restaurant in Chicago, Southern means something entirely different—sustainability, seasonality and history. By focusing on authentic, sustainably-sourced ingredients, Paul Fehribach, executive chef and co-owner of Big Jones, showcases a style of cooking that’s true to the traditions of the dishes he creates.

According to Fehribach, traditional Southern food isn’t just about shrimp and grits—it’s about figuring out how each dish has evolved. “One of the things I really like doing when I’m looking into a heritage dish is to look into its history—what makes it a classic, where did it come from,” he says. “Then, I track down the heirloom grains, fruits and vegetables in order to more accurately reproduce it.”

But that doesn’t mean that you won’t find some of the usual suspects like fried chicken or cornbread at Big Jones. Over the years, the restaurant’s menu has evolved; what hasn’t changed, though, is that Big Jones stays true to its identity. “I don’t want to put things on the menu because it’s expected of a Southern restaurant,” says Fehribach. “I want to find things uniquely representative of Southern cooking and history.”

Menu Sampler: Big Jones

Buckwheat Banana Pancakes; $11
Antique rustic aromatic buckwheat flour pancakes served with toasted almonds, salted caramel and banana anglaise

Sea Island Pea Fritters; $8
Crispy heritage pea falafel with frisee, homemade green goddess, and piccalilli

Butcher’s Pork Duet; $22
Sweet-tea brined and lightly smoked house-butchered pork loin, crispy boudin ball, baked bean puree, sweet potato hash, crackling

This post is sponsored by Almond Board of California

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