When I lived in Chicago, we got used to being the “Second City” – the derogatory honorific granted the city that became accustomed to eating New York’s dust.
This position in history was often reinforced in daily life – Chicago has to celebrate independence day on the 3rd of July because New York has their desired fireworks production company under contract for the 4th. Even the city’s best known and most prolific comedy club is named “Second City” (though comedy fans familiar with its alums would be hard pressed to find a better launch pad in New York). Even New Yorks sports teams dominate their Second City competitors. Of course, every team dominates the Cubbies. But then, Cub fans don’t go to see the team, they go to see Wrigley.
But Chicago’s second place is about to move up a notch in at least one important category – culinary tourism. Chicago already has two important feathers in its culinary cap (toque?) – Grant Achatz’ restaurant “Next” was named the top restaurant in 2012, and chef Paul Kahan was named “Best Chef” in 2013. It’s about to add a third. It was announced earlier today that next year’s James Beard Awards (best chef, best restaurant, etc.) will be moved from New York to Chicago. It’s the first time in a quarter century the awards have not taken place in New York. Read the full story, here.