5 of Chicago’s Coolest Food Couples
MAY 22, 2018
By Julie Chernoff
for Make It Better Magazine
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By anyone’s standards, Jennifer and Brian Enyart are a power couple. They met cute in 2009 when Brian was chef de cuisine at Rick Bayless’ Topolobampo and Jennifer was applying for the plum job of pastry chef, which she won handily after interviewing with Brian. There, they fell in love with a contemporary vision of Mexican cuisine — and each other. In 2015, they left the Bayless nest and opened Dos Urban Cantina in the Logan Square neighborhood to great acclaim: Chicago magazine placed them in the Top Five of “Best New Restaurants,” and the Michelin Guide deemed their particular vision of the tastes and flavors of Mexico worthy of a 2017 Bib Gourmand. Jennifer’s innovative hand with desserts won her a nod as a 2018 Semifinalist for the James Beard Award Outstanding Pastry Chef, while the Chicago Tribune made her 2017 Pastry Chef of the Year.
“Our culinary partnership works because we respect each other’s talent, and we have a similar taste and vision,” says Brian of their working relationship. But relishing and nurturing their personal relationship is also a priority. Time off means kicking their feet up, taking in a movie, checking out other restaurants, or cooking at home and hanging out with their “low-maintenance” cat. “We spend our weekends together,” says Brian. “We spend most of our time together; it feels strange when we are apart, honestly.”
The Enyarts’ experience has been a great one, but their advice for other pairs who are considering taking the plunge into restaurant ownership — which rings true for any project a couple might take on together — is that working together so closely will be a test of your relationship. “Be sure this is the journey you want to take with each other,” says Brian. “Give it everything you have, and love each other well.”
What do you value/respect most about your partner?
Jennifer: Brian is such a natural leader — that is something I was initially amazed by. He has a genuine character and sense of humor that people are drawn to. He is loyal and has a lot of integrity. Those are just a few characteristics I love about him.
Brian: I value Jennifer’s deep love for people and wanting to create a special experience for guests and staff. I respect her ability to do anything that’s needed, from being a James Beard-nominated pastry chef to bookkeeper to host.