Reunite with the ones you love at Art Smith's new restaurant

Sat. August 20, 2022 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

Chef Art Smith has created a legacy by cooking from the heart. The man's southern charm not only shows in the intriguing stories he tells about his experiences in the industry but also in the food he prepares. 

Smith's culinary journey began in the Sunshine State where he went to Florida State University. He became Oprah Winfrey's chef which was simply the perfect match for many years then wrote for O, The Oprah Magazine. This led to his writing several books including Art Smith's Healthy Comfort in 2013. He has opened many successful restaurants over the years and his latest project is called Reunion and was inspired by Art Smith's Homecomin' located at Disney World Resort's Desert Springs. 


Taking over the previous Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. space at 600 Grand East Grand Avenue, Art Smith's Reunion greets visitors to Navy Pier with open arms. An inviting patio is one option or patrons can sit inside to become immersed in a world of country decor. There is a private room available for special events as well as possibilities for bigger parties, just ask the friendly and diverse hosts on hand how they can help out. 

A gift store is smartly placed right at the front with everything from cooking utensils to souvenir logo clothing. Of course, his various books are available for purchase right on-site. On the large wall in front are Smith's photos with famous friends and his husband Jesus Salgueiro artwork is also featured around the venue.    

Enough about the atmosphere, let's get to the food! The menu has many of the items that Smith is known for and his executive chef Hector Guerrero has cooked up a few surprises. 

Start off with the deviled eggs that are light on taste and don't fall into the trap of having too much mustard, then dive into the fried green tomatoes that contain just the right amount of breading to have a little crunch to them. 

Smith is known for his delicious chicken so this is a must-try item, so whether it is served in a salad or on its own, just order it. You will be glad you did. The shrimp and grits are mixed with Lousiana Tasso ham and fresh tomato sauce making a hearty meal for some. For lighter fare, there is a wide range of sandwiches for the traveler that doesn't want to be weighed down when exploring the walkable pier. 

To wash everything down, sip on a fruity adult juice box containing vodka, rum or tequila. The peach and orange blossom sweet tea hits all the right summer notes and will soothe your soul while dining outdoors and watching fireworks on special nights. 

People continue to go bananas over Smith's classic hummingbird cake with cream cheese frosting and a pineapple base. Guerrero is proud of his Belizian pecan pie and one can see why with that refreshing vanilla ice cream right on top. Prepare for this over-the-top goodness thanks to a well-developed plan from an experienced team that knows how to satisfy customers' cravings and needs. 

Art's heart is big and his work never seems to be done. Not only is he a family man with a husband and children, but he recently cooked with kids from Ukraine in Portugal for refugees to show his support.

Visit or call 312-224-1415 for more information. Plan a trip to the south without leaving the north at Chef Art Smith's Reunion!