Markethouse: Fresh from the Heartland


Over the Christmas weekend, Bill and I ventured to Chicago, which we love to do in the wintertime. With its festive spirit and fewer people on the streets, it’s a nice way to spend a holiday. The only trouble is it can be difficult to find open restaurants, especially this year since Christmas was on a Saturday and many of the restaurants we wanted to try are closed on Sundays.

After dim sum in Chinatown for lunch on Christmas Day, we checked into our hotel downtown and were thrilled to find out that Eno, our favorite wine bar, was open! We like it because you can get a whole flight of goat cheese there, which is unusual for a place that serves cheese.

For dinner we discovered that Sayat Nova, an Armenian restaurant we had been to before, was open Christmas night so we headed in for their excellent red lentil soup.

But what we really enjoy when we venture from home is sampling farm-to-table restaurants whenever possible. That’s why I was surprised we hadn’t heard of Markethouse, which “marries Heartland basics with innovative cooking styles, distinctive ingredients and delectable influences from around the globe.” Maybe because it hasn’t even been open two years?

Executive Chef Scott Walton offers a seasonal menu of contemporary American cuisine using fresh, seasonal herbs, produce, meat and poultry. And, he supports local farmers that practice sustainable agricultural techniques, such as Nichols Farm and Orchard, Slagel Family Farm, and Red Hen Bread. I really appreciate having this information about the food available right on the table.

Because Chef Walton uses seasonal meats and produce, many of the items on the menu were what I’d call winter comfort food–pears, beets, squash, duck, pork, lamb, and Brussels sprouts.

I couldn’t resist starting with the Butternut Squash Soup, which had a drizzle of cranberry jam on top.

Bill had the Slagel Farm Pork Belly. Both starters were delicious. We loved how they were served in Le Creuset cookware–one of our favorite brands for cooking at home.

For dinner, I had the Slagel Farm Pork Shank with farro risotto. Even the chorizo is from the Slagel Farm. It was excellent, and the perfect December meal.

The theme of the evening was certainly pork, since Bill ordered the Berkshire 12 oz. Pork Chop.

As you can tell, the photos aren’t the clearest because the lighting is somewhat dim–just the way we like it.

Accompanied by a bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir, we were happily fed on a cold Sunday evening in downtown Chicago, from Illinois farms to our table. And, we appreciated our server, Scott, answering all our questions about the food!

If you’re looking for the Markethouse Restaurant, you’ll find it adjacent to the Doubletree Hotel on Ohio Street, a couple blocks east of Michigan Avenue.

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4 responses to “Markethouse: Fresh from the Heartland

  1. I want to visit Chicago more now than ever! Wow, what a beautiful meal and great find. So glad to see you got away and enjoyed yourselves. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year!

  2. Andrew H. Cirner

    Marcia, I lived in Chicago when I was based out of ORD with American Airlines and I am familiar with Sayat Nova. I too can and will give it a strong recommendation. I have a friend who is an Armenian girl and can make Armenian dishes very well when not flying and has the time, and this place was her suggestion followed with, “if I can’t make it, at least Sayat Nova certainly can be as authentic to true Armenian as they come.”

    When the high praise comes from a cultural native who can make most anything you know you are in for a great dining experience.

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