Stone Flower, chef Jacob Bickelhaupt’s follow-up restaurant to Michelin-starred 42 Grams, is formally closed, as one other chef has introduced plans for a brand new restaurant contained in the Bucktown area. Bickelhaupt closed 42 Grams in June 2017, and a month later he pled responsible to attacking his ex-wife, Alexa Welsh, who managed the restaurant.
Throughout the pandemic, Stone Flower solely provided takeout, a serious change for a wonderful eating restaurant that specialised in luxurious tasting menus with costly elements similar to A5 wagyu beef, which isn’t very carryout-friendly. The restaurant’s final on-premise service occurred earlier than the state closed eating places in March 2020.
A 3-and-a-half-hour video uploaded to Bickelhaupt’s YouTube account in October reveals him packing up his restaurant and saying he needed to slide away quietly to keep away from drawing any consideration to Stone Flower’s closure. The video consists of footage taken in August, nevertheless it wasn’t till an announcement final week from the constructing’s new tenant that the closure turned extensively recognized. Bickelhaupt couldn’t be reached for remark.
Bickelhaupt yearned for a Michelin star at Stone Flower, which opened in 2019. 42 Grams — a documentary in regards to the restaurant — captured his quest for recognition, together with an emotional cellphone name when Michelin inspectors advised him 42 Grams would make their checklist. However critics had been reluctant to go to his subsequent restaurant because of the controversy surrounding his arrest. Critic Michael Nagrant wrote that after Bickelhaupt’s conviction for battery, he couldn’t in good conscience evaluate Stone Flower. As a substitute, he donated what he would have spent on dinner (a meal prices $300 per individual) to a home violence charity.
Former Tribune critic Phil Vettel didn’t point out Stone Flower in his writeup about the plans for the area final week. In one among his final tales earlier than he exited the paper, Vettel omitted Bickelhaupt, however talked about former tenants Stephanie Izard and Takashi Yagihashi.
The dearth of media consideration for Stone Flower irked Bickelhaupt, who’s listed as making his directorial debut on one other documentary — called 86ed — that guarantees an summary of his journey towards sobriety and the way “cancel tradition modified his life endlessly.”
Bickelhaupt loved a meteoric rise after opening 42 Grams in January 2014, as Michelin starred his restaurant in its rookie 12 months. Three years later, he and Welsh had been divorced, however they continued working the two-Michelin-starred restaurant for the six months resulting in the assault, which resulted in stitches to shut up a head wound suffered by Welsh. Bickelhaupt pled responsible to easy battery, and his conditional launch included fines, drug testing, and the completion of a home violence program.
After Michelin did not list Stone Flower in its rankings, Bickelhaupt claimed Welsh had violated a nondisparagement settlement and value the restaurant $250,000 in gross sales. He filed a lawsuit against her in October 2019, claiming Welsh’s feedback to Eater Chicago and Block Membership Chicago had ruined his popularity. In a textual content message despatched final week, Welsh advised Eater Chicago that she acquired discover that Bickelhaupt’s camp had dropped the lawsuit. Cook dinner County information present the lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed final week, on January 19. Welsh had little else to say in regards to the closure: “I’m completely satisfied to vanish into the shadows,” she texted.
Bickelhaupt remarried final 12 months and moved to the Denver space (the place his partner is from), bringing his Konro dinners — a pop-up collection he held in Chicago earlier than Stone Flower’s opening — out west: “I prefer it rather a lot, it’s a good looking place to be, it’s calmer… hopefully I get a second probability with a brand new inhabitants or a brand new crowd of individuals,” Bickelhaupt said on a video posted to his YouTube channel. “To date, so good; there’s been no hate, no nothing like that. I’ve been very lucky and grateful that perhaps I get a second probability.”
The chef taking up the previous Stone Flower area is Trevor Teich, a Chicago-area native who for years has looked for a everlasting area for Claudia, his personal wonderful eating pop-up. Teich emphasised that his restaurant has no connection to Bickelhaupt. Final week, Teich’s colleagues wished him luck on his Fb web page, with one member of the industry urging him to “spiritually cleanse that place earlier than you open.”
“The constructing has a protracted historical past of cooks like Takashi, Stephanie Izard, and Dixie, who’re all individuals who cooked at a really excessive degree and introduced magnificent delicacies to the town of Chicago for a few years — and nonetheless do,” Teich says, additionally referencing Dixie, a southern restaurant that closed in 2017 from Lillie’s Q pit grasp Charlie McKenna. “And that’s what we’re doing to do. I’m excited to reinvigorate the handle.”
Nonetheless, there’s residue inside Chicago’s restaurant business stemming from Bickelhaupt’s arrest — Stone Flower’s opening catalyzed consciousness of poisonous work environments. An industrywide fundraiser for Chicago’s oldest girls’s shelter (Connections for Abused Ladies and Their Youngsters) was born to protest the restaurant in 2019.
Trade veteran Daniella Caruso organized that fundraiser. She finds little pleasure in Stone Flower’s closure, noting that the pandemic has led to an increase in domestic violence circumstances. Below regular circumstances, victims have few locations to flee, however throughout COVID-19, the choices and assets dwindle even additional.
“Victory shouldn’t be Stone Flower closing; folks nonetheless misplaced their jobs, and there’s by no means any solace in that,” she says.
Caruso is hopeful that the restaurant business will prioritize home violence consciousness, and says: “the problem is so pervasive, there’s a Jake Bickelhaupt in each metropolis and each state.”
If somebody or suspect somebody is experiencing home violence, name the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800)799-7233 or name Connections for Abused Ladies and Their Youngsters (CAWC) at (773) 278-4566. For emergencies, dial 911.