Frances' Great since '38
Frances' Deli has been a landmark in Lincoln Park for 80 years this year-- serving diners breakfast, lunch, and brunch (before it was even a thing)! Their delivery and carry-out game has always been strong too, "We've held down the Gold Coast for quite some time," starting on the east side of Clark as a legit, old-school deli, then, after 50 years, moving across the street.
Frances’s has always been known for its comfort food and generations-old family recipes, and sandwiches too big to finish in one sitting. But the story doesn’t end there. Enter Chicago-famous chef and personality, Derek Rylon -- with his original team -- ready to take over and transform this diner/deli into what he calls a “Brunchery.” "Dinner on eggs," he jokes, while promising an "Upscale Breakfast Experience."
Chef Rylon has been perfecting his culinary skills and recipes for over 30 years and his iconic following is a testament to his gift for creating unbelievable dishes. His resume is nothing short of spectacular and reads something like this: Shaw's Crab House, Wild Fire, Maggiano's, Ruth Chris Steak House, Gibsons, Capital Grill, The Wyndham Hotel, The Westin, The Embassy Suites, the Crown Plaza Hotel, Batter and Berries, and most recently: Frances’s Deli & Brunchery at 2552 N. Clark in Lincoln Park.
“People eat with their eyes”
“People eat with their eyes,” he exclaims, as he carefully lines up rainbow peppers on a crawfish omelet, a dish that came from the fathoms of his imagination. In fact, Derek met his wife, Angie, working as the executive chef in a hotel and she was hostess, truly making his kitchen a family affair.
When asked what separates him from the rest, Derek will tell you that he approaches every dish he creates with love. "Everything I make is to taste, and if you have to season one of my entrees, it's a borderline insult." He says with a smile.
The culinary arts is a pursuit of passion, for the ONLY African American, Executive Chef in all of Chicago. Let that sink in. Derek came from truly humble beginnings, learning his way around the kitchen as a sous chef and working his way up to one of the most respected Chef de Cuisines on the Chicago Brunch scene.
"Everything happens for a reason"
Derek earned a reputation for his meticulous attention to detail and his avante-guarde breakfast menu that is constantly revolving. He lets people fall in love with a dish and then he switches it out for something new, only to receive death threats and threatening Facebook messages, to put it back on the menu “or else…”
"May the Best Food Win"
Derek's mantra is: “May the Best Food Win.” With his arrival on the scene, every brunch spot in LP is on notice, so let the #BrunchWars begin. “If you’re scared, go to church,” Chef says with a smirk. He’s kidding, but he means it.
If he can turn the broom closet that is Batter and Berries, into an overwhelming success, imagine what he can do with double the seating, and a better location, conveniently located in beautiful East Lincoln Park.
Not to mention, he has plenty of affordable options, and a Liquor License! The Chef is back in town and you need to taste it to believe it!