Saturday, October 22, 2016
Giant, the new American restaurant in Logan Square, before I even talk about the restaurant itself. The chef, Jason Vincent, is well known in Logan Square, first gaining notice working under the other Jason in the neighborhood, Jason Hammel, at Lula Cafe, as sous chef. After several years as sous chef, he decided to take on the roll of chef at Nightwood, which was also owned by Jason Hammel, where he came into his own, winning Food & Wine's Best New Chef, Cochon 555 King of Pork, and was a James Beard Award Semi-Finalist. Two years ago, he left Nightwood so he could actually be a parent to his two small children. After taking two years off, showing up at the occasional pop-up or benefit, he has returned and people are happy for it. The restaurant space he chose at 3209 W. Armitage Ave. is a small space (1400 sq. ft). When I moved into the neighborhood nine years ago, it was a cheap Thai BYOB that had just closed. It eventually reopened as another cheap Thai BYOB and over the next 8 years it was a cheap Thai BYOB changing names and owners three times. The food wasn't bad, it just may not have been the place for Thai food. Walking into the new place, I saw that they had made many changes. It's still small, but the space is well used with banquette seating on both sides of the room. The walls are white painted brick with some wall hangings on both sides including the poem, Me and My Giant by Shel Silverstein from his book, Where the Sidewalk Ends. The background music for the restaurant is provided via record collection. There are two turntables mounted behind the bar that play records vertically, which saves space and also looks pretty cool. The music is widely varied. When I was there, I heard some indie rock, jazz, and folk.