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The Loyalist

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“We are trying to express ‘farm on a plate’ — not in such a literal sense, but more as an idea. We want to create memories. We want people walking away saying, I’m never going to forget that.” 
— John Shields and Karen Urie Shields

Between them they have 30 years of culinary experience, including at top Chicago restaurants Alinea, Tru and Charlie Trotter’s. It was at the latter that John Shields and Karen Urie Shields first met, he as a sous chef, she as head pastry chef. In 2008, the couple shifted gears, turning down an offer to open a Trotter restaurant in Las Vegas and instead headed to Smyth, a small county in Virginia. During their five years there, they honed their culinary vision using the locally grown ingredients around them as inspiration. In the process, their cooking at Town House and Riverstead Inn earned them national acclaim.

At Smyth + The Loyalist, their dual-concept restaurant that features a tasting menu restaurant on the first floor and a bar/lounge just below it, they take that vision even further with an exclusive partnership with a 20-acre farm an hour south of Chicago. The Farm is the source of much of the restaurant’s produce, herbs and flowers, and acts as the impetus for many of the dishes and cocktails for both Smyth and The Loyalist. Fermenting, pickling and curing extend the seasons, providing Smyth + The Loyalist another level of creativity and depth of flavors that’s inherently rooted in the Midwest but never limited by it.

The Farm

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Private Events

Here at Smyth + The Loyalist, we pride ourselves on providing a warm and thoughtful experience no matter the occasion. With ample audio/visual capabilities, our dedicated private dining space is perfect for your next business presentation.

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The Story

John and Karen moved to Chilhowie, Virginia in 2008 and were given carte blanche to re-imagine the then-unknown Town House restaurant. Now able to craft their own vision, Chefs John and Karen rebuilt the Town House concept as a modern exploration of imaginative flavor and visual compositions that utilized the wide array of seasonal, locally grown, and foraged ingredients.

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See Us in Action

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