Grocery Lore

Michael Nagrant / 06.28.09

Andre Christopher, the punky, fast-talking former executive chef of Pops for Champagne, former chef de cuisine of Japonais and vet of Ambria and Spiaggia, has left behind those “foofy and bourgeoisie” (his words) spots to open West Loop hotspot Grocery Bistro. With BYOB, killer low price points, produce occasionally procured from the corner grocery store and thrift store china, it’s the ultimate neighborhood restaurant. We checked in with the homeboy (he’s a grad of Lane Tech) about his new project and to get his verdict on age-old Chicago culinary conflicts. Get More Info here about his new project.

You’re a vegetarian chef cooking meat. Isn’t that like a priest preaching Satanism?

I’ve been a vegetarian for only three months. My mother was diagnosed with a condition that stops her body from digesting proteins. I decided I wanted to change my diet with her. Here, the animals we use are natural-fed. I do want people to eat better.

You have a signed photo of Rocco DiSpirito above the bar?

I worked at Union Pacific. He’s a great cook. It was one of the best restaurantsin NYC. I also have Bourdain and Ramsay. I might have my own restaurant, but I still get excited about meeting chefs. They inspire me every day.

Favorite Italian beef?

Mr. Beef with chili and cheddar and some French fries on top.

Trotter or Tramonto?

Trotter’s in my heart. He’s the original P-I-M-P, the original gangster for sure.

804 W. Washington Blvd, 312.850.9291,

This article first appeared in CS in a different form.