Two Hyde Park restaurants win Michelin’s Bib Gourmand award

Chef Erick Williams poses in the dining room of his restaurant Virtue, 1462 E. 53rd St. (Photo by Marc Monaghan)

Staff writer

On Thursday morning, Michelin announced Virtue and Nella Pizza e Pasta as recipients of the Bib Gourmand for 2020, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Bib Gourmand restaurants are selected by Michelin inspectors because they serve high-quality food at a reasonable price — meaning a two-course meal and a glass of wine for $40 or less. This year, the designation was given to 54 restaurants in Chicago, including 14 newcomers.

Virtue and Nella Pizza e Pasta are both newcomers. Virtue stood out to Michelin inspectors because of its twist on Southern cuisine, especially its shrimp with Geechie Boy cheddar grits and blackened catfish with Caroline Gold rice and barbecued carrots. According to Michelin inspectors, Nella was selected for the nomination because, “the menu is promising, and the wood-burning oven is responsible for much of the enticing fare here.”

Proprietors Frank and Nella Grassano pose in the dining room of their restaurant Nella Pizza e Pasta, 1125 E. 55th St. (Photo by Marc Monaghan)

Nella’s owner, Frank Grassano, and his wife Nella who is the chef, received the news this morning, he said, “It’s great to be on the list with some great chefs and for my wife to be recognized as one of the top chefs in Chicago.”

When asked how it feels to represent Hyde Park on this list, Grassano said, “It’s awesome. That’s why we are here to make the whole neighborhood to have some great food.”