The restaurant that inspired some of America's leading chefs has closed. Located in the decidedly downscale Chicago suburb of Wheeling, Le Francais was once named the best restaurant in America by Bon Appetit magazine.
Legendary New York Times restaurant critic Mimi Sheraton said that she was served “the single best and most lavishly presented French meal” in the U.S. at Le Francais. By inspiring chefs such as Charlie Trotter and Grant Anchutz, Le Francais created intense competition for high-end cuisine. In so doing, Phil Vettel, the Chicago Tribune's food critic, suggest that the restaurant sowed the seeds of its own demise. (Read more gourmet dining stories.)