EL logo.jpeg

Redefining fine dining


EL Ideas quest is to make fine dining cuisine and service approachable and fun instead of pretentious and stuffy. The most unlikely of Michelin-starred restaurants, EL is located in the little known Chicago neighborhood of Douglas Park. Although it's just a 10 minute ride from downtown, it feels as though EL is situated in another world. Once inside the unmarked building, guests enter a setting not generally associated with restaurants serving elite cuisine. As there are no walls separating diners from chefs, interaction with the kitchen team throughout the meal is not only welcome, it is encouraged. 

The cuisine at EL is about as adventurous as the setting is unusual. Given the direct line with the audience, the small culinary team is able to give their own descriptions as to how their creations take form through inspirations, stories, and even guest interaction. Culinary ideas are crafted with a modern sensibility that expresses the experience, palate, humor, and honest approach of chef/owner Phillip Foss (Quilted Giraffe, Le Cirque, Lockwood). Through this direct line, a relationship is forged between diner and chef that inherently goes deeper than thought possible in a Michelin-starred restaurant. Part dinner party, part performance, and all restaurant, EL Ideas is introducing the world to a new genre of fine dining.




We offer dinner service Tuesday - Thursday at 7 pm and at 5:30 pm and 9:30 pm on Friday and Saturday, with some exceptions. Our dining experience is group-based with all guests dining in unison so please arrive promptly. 

We are currently offering a limited amount of reservations online. If you are looking for a same day reservation, you must call, email or use the Reservation Request feature. Check back often, as the inventory is updated continually. If a date or time slot is sold out (red colored), you can select the 3rd option (Reservation Request) to enter your preferred date and time and be put on the waitlist. You can make a Reservation Request for any date in the future. If we can accommodate you, we will send you an invoice to complete. If you have a party larger than 8 people please call or email us directly to request a reservation.

Our Reservations Manager, Reese Williams, will take your calls at 312-226-8144, Tuesday – Thursday from 11am to 5pm and Friday & Saturday from 2:30pm to 5:30pm. If we are not available, please leave a detailed message with your name, phone number, the date which you are interested in, and your party size. And of course, we are available via email at: reservations@elideas.com

EL ideas does our best to accommodate guests with dietary restrictions; including vegetarians, pescetarians, pork/beef free diets, and guests with allergies. We are, unfortunately, unable to accommodate vegan and dairy-free diets, although dairy can be minimized. PLEASE BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE WHEN NOTING RESTRICTIONS OR ALLERGIES, including the number of guests the restrictions applies to.

Celebrating with us? Let us know exactly what it is you are celebrating, being as specific as possible so that we celebrate your Guest/Guests of Honor. 

Cancellations or date changes need to be done at least 7 days prior to you reservation.

Not sure what to wear? We here at El Ideas ask that you dress comfortable, although avoiding flip flops, fitted caps, and anything that could potentially be deemed offensive to other guests. Thank you!

Searching Availability...

 If you have any additional questions, comments, or concerns please don’t hesitate to call 312-226-8144



What is the cost of dinner?
The cost of our tasting menu is $155/person plus tax and service charge. Front Row Seats are $195/person plus tax and service charge. EL ideas is BYOB and there is no charge for corkage.

How is payment secured?
If we have space on the day requested, an invoice will be sent to you. Your reservation will not be secured until the invoice is paid. If space is filled before your invoice is paid, your reservation request will be cancelled.

Where is EL located?
2419 W. 14th Street, Chicago, IL, 60608

EL ideas is a part of the Douglas Park neighborhood of Chicago and is about 15 minutes from Chicago’s Loop/downtown. We are located at 14th and Western, just south of I-290.

We share our block with The Watering Hole and Mama’s Southern Kitchen. Turn down the dead end street; EL ideas is the only business whose windows look out onto the street. There is no signage.


Is parking available?
Yes, street parking is free, and there is access to a lot on the north side of the street.

What if I have dietary restrictions?
EL ideas accommodates vegetarians, pescetarians, pregnancy, and allergies to shellfish and nuts. In regards to religious restrictions, we accommodate shellfish/pork/beef-free diets. Pertaining to more obscure allergies, please inform us upon making your reservation. Please note that as we are a small operation with a small team, we are unable to accommodate vegan and dairy free diets (though we can minimize dairy).

Please alert us upon making your reservation of any and all dietary restrictions or allergies you or anyone in your party has. Please note: the more information/time we can give to our chefs in regards to preparing your meal, the better we can suit your needs.

What beverages should we bring?
Medium/full bodied whites
Medium/full bodied red
Dessert wines

We have a great relationship with Perman Wine Selection (312-255-8990) who does an amazing job pairing in any price range. 

What if I need a ride to or from EL ideas?
Please be aware that cabs are very limited in the area for your return trip. We strongly recommend downloading the Uber app to your smart phone to order a car.
We recommend driving or taking a cab over public transportation. 

What is the dress code?
Business casual recommended. We want our guests to feel comfortable, but please no flip-flops, baseball caps, or open-toed shoes for men. Thank you!!!



caviar / daikon / thai style perch
kombu / shoyu / tosaka / furakake ham and melon

fennel / vidalia / buckwheat shrimp

like / a / bloody / mary king salmon

potato / leek / vanilla french fries & ice cream

matsutake / spaghetti squash / miso monkfish

sunchoke / chickpea / mango / phyllo eggplant

huckleberry / barley / wheat berry / hay squab

corn / huitlacoche / jalapeño / chihuahua / hoja santa strip

foie gras / chicory / fig / pink pepper s’more

bourbon / pecan / white chocolate / lemon verbena peach

Posted 9/26/18
Please note that our menu changes frequently, so the above is not set in stone.

Chef Phillip Foss and the team of EL