THE FRESH AIR AWARD FOR RESTAURANT DESIGN Yusho
With his attention laser-focused on the char-grilled skewers and ambitious cocktails at his Japanese restaurant, Charlie Trotter’s alum Matthias Merges left the decor to his wife. It helps that Rachel Crowl is an architect and co-owner of fc Studio Inc., the design company behind deceptively simple settings like Telegraph and Bluebird. At Yusho, brick walls, naked Edison bulbs hung by knotted rope, pops of primary colors and upholstery in Pendleton-esque plaid combine for design that evokes a sophisto-casual feel while keeping the focus on the food. 2853 N Kedzie Ave (773-904-8558).