Parachute, Chicago’s Pioneering Modern Korean Restaurant, Is Closing After a Decade

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Parachute, a pioneer that’s hailed as one of the best modern Korean restaurants in America, is closing its doors.

The restaurant served as a vehicle for chef Beverly Kim to channel her family’s heritage into something Chicago has never seen before. In May 2014, Kim and her husband chef Johnny Clark opened a destination-worthy restaurant on a quiet stretch of Elston, one of the first to bring upscale dining to Avondale. Nowadays, the neighborhood is grouped as one of the best dining districts in the country with restaurants like Thattu, Smoque Steak, and Honey Butter Fried Chicken.

Parachute presented Korean cuisine in a way few have ever seen in Chicago. “Upscale” and “elevated” can be heard as restaurant cliches. But Parachute helped educate the average Chicagoan who had little knowledge surrounding Korean cuisine a decade ago save familiarity with Korean barbecue. Parachute earned a Michelin star from 2014 to 2021. In 2019, Kim and Clark won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes. Both have been active in community endeavors. They founded the Abundance Setting, a group that supports working mothers in the hospitality industry.

The restaurant at 3500 N. Elston Avenue will close on Saturday, March 23, according to a news release.

A smiling woman and a man in formalwear.
Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark at the 2022 James Beard Awards.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

“Every story has a beginning and an end. And while this chapter of Parachute is closing, it is not the final page,” reads a statement posted to the restaurant’s Instagram page. “We expect to bring something new and exciting to the space under the Parachute umbrella in the not-so-distant future.”

Kim and Clark, who own a second restaurant Anelya — just a few doors from Parachute — say in a news release that they plan on renovating the space and opening a new restaurant. They add they’re also searching for a larger space in Downtown Chicago that could house Parachute.

When the restaurant opened in May 2014, the menu featured items like bing bread, more skewed toward Korean American tastes. The restaurant would temporarily close during the height of the pandemic in 2020. Kim and Clark would reopen the restaurant two years later in 2022 after the space underwent a light renovation. Kim made big changes to the menu, including saying farewell to that bing bread, in favor of a more traditional Korean menu.

During the pandemic in March 2020, the couple hung tough and were one of the first fine dining restaurants to adapt their menus for takeout and delivery as the state kept dining rooms closed. It was unheard of for a Michelin-starred restaurant to offer a takeaway option.

Kim and Clark weren’t immediately reached for comment, but stay tuned for details about what they plan next in Avondale and Downtown Chicago.

Parachute

3500 North Elston Avenue, , IL 60618 (872) 204-7138 Visit Website

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