ABOUT TAUS AUTHENTIC Casual dining in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago offering Contemporary American dishes with global flavors. A warm and comfortable space for dinner, late night cocktails or Sunday brunch.
TELL US ABOUT THE SPACE We wanted to create an environment where guests felt really comfortable, as if they were in a friend's home at a great dinner party. My wife and I entertain a lot and we wanted that same relaxed atmosphere in the restaurant. The style is rustic meets modern. Reclaimed wood from old barns and schools was used to create the hutches, dividing wood walls, and tables in both the dining room and bar, and we added modern lighting and dining room seating. In the lounge is a 37 foot quartzite-top bar, overstuffed couches, flat screen TVs, wood molding and two cozy fireplaces. We decorated the custom built mantles and shelves with some family mementos as well as special items we found in second-hand shops.
LOTS OF GREAT THINGS ON THE MENU. WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND? We have a bit of everything. - a large seafood selection that can be ordered in full and half portions like diver scallops with braised pork belly on a shrimp pancake with sweet chili vinaigrette, and a lobster dish served with oxtail ravioli and snap peas in a lobster broth. We have a great flat iron steak with chimichurri spice, radish-fennel slaw, and roasted fingerling potatoes. I kept the burger I've been cooking the last few years on the menu where we use a special blend of ground chuck and short rib, and serve it with Havarti cheese and tomato remoulade on a fresh baked Czech dill roll. We also have a great fried chicken that's gotten a lot of attention and that I'II make from an aunt's recipe, and recently we started offering a small bites bar menu.
DO YOU BUY LOCAL? Yes. Since I opened my first restaurant, Zealous, over 20 years ago sourcing locally has always been important. We utilize local farms and purveyors as much as possible.
ACCOMMODATE FOOD ALLERGIES? Always.
HOW ABOUT DRINKS? Lots to offer. We have a tight list of wines that pair really well with our menu, and an extensive beer program with a lot of unique selections on draft and in bottles. We also offer some great classic cocktails (with a twist) utilizing a lot of small batch liquors.
WHO DESIGNED THE RESTAURANT? It was a collaboration with Sig Froelich of Froelich Kim and myself.
WHAT ABOUT THE GRAPHICS AND MENUS? Marian Williams Design created all our collateral.
In the first year, Taus Authentic, has received numerous accolades including a 2015 Best New Restaurant and Top 50 Chicago Restaurant by the Chicago Tribune; A 3-star review from Phil Vettel; A 2015 Best New Restaurant from Thrillist, one of the 100 Best Dishes In Chicago by Time Out; one of the 50 Finest Restaurants by CS Magazine, and Best Fried Chicken nods from Zagat, Chicagoist, Harpers Bazaar, and Black Book.
ABOUT MICHAEL TAUS Acclaimed Chef Michael Taus is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York who began his career working in the kitchens of Chef Pierre Pollin’s Le Titi de Paris, Chef Joachim Splichal’s Patina and Chef Charlie Trotter. A Chicagoland area native, Taus has always felt most at home in the kitchen, influenced by his family of great cooks. It was growing up in this culture that continues to be the driving force behind Taus’s love of the kitchen, and the crux of Taus Authentic. named for his father and grandfather.
Over the years, Taus has raised substantial funds for the Beard Foundation, the CIA Scholarship Fund, the March of Dimes and Share Our Strength. Taus currently serves on the board of the Trotter Project which promotes the culinary arts, service, education and excellence, and the Wicker Park-Bucktown Board Association. He and his wife Annette live in the River North neighborhood of Chicago.