Author Archives: Vicki


They say Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and flattered we were when we saw that Geekeats  “cloned” our fries.   We were very impressed with his method (score on the $2 fry cutter btw), and he even used a similar silver bowl!  Could’ve fooled us.

So I thought I’d follow suit and document our process so you and Geekeats can see how we make our fries, step by step, and perhaps try your hand at it at home:

Morning Potato Delivery arrives:

Potatoes go for a scrub and a peel:



Happily soaking (prevents oxidizing & softens potato) as they wait their turn to get cut....

Brute Strength or Methodical Finesse?

Methodical Finesse.

Cut fries soak to remove starch:

Quality Control

Starch water drained

Off to the fryer!

Fry Round 1 @ 325 degrees: Soft and cooked through

Fry Round 2: To order @ 350 degrees until GBD (Golden Brown & Delicious;)

Hot out of the fryer, the fries get tossed in a large bowl (larger surface area increases coating potential) with garlic confit, parsley, kosher salt and love. Toss well so as to get a coat of garlic confit goodness on each fry.


Kosher Salt

Garlic Confit

Don't be timid, get in there

The fries are then served with our housemade Chipotle Aioli which consists of egg yolks, oil, lemon, garlic, and chipotle peppers.


Ruxbin Garlic Fries



Filed under Written by Vicki

an exciting day at ruxbin

February 16, 2012

6am.  GQ Magazine announces their 2012 Ten Best New Restaurants in America.  Ruxbin makes the cut at #9.  We. Are. Floored.

10am.  I get a text from Jenny:  “A guy had a tripod setup taking photos of our storefront, asked who he was shooting for and he said ABC.  I was out in my pink socks and crocs too.”  And yes, he glanced at her feet and gave her a funny look.

That's hot, Jen.

12pm.  Excitement erupts in the kitchen as Nate arrives with our brand new Cotton Candy machine!  A vast upgrade from our original one (generously gifted to us by Rosy).

The Real Deal.

1pm. Jason and Ed haul up lumber to the Rooftop, work on the Garden begins. This year’s goal: triple the garden size and have a bee hive.

Planter Boxes

5pm.  Family Meal.  The crew goes festive and makes carne asada,  fiesta-style~

People ask if we eat well at the restaurant...


5:15pm. We bust out the celebratory GQ Cookies.

Chef loves cookies.

Cookie Party.


12am.  Service is over, clean down is finished. Ed sits with the staff and says a few heartfelt words as we pop a little bubbly to celebrate and wind down the night.

Thankful to our guests and staff for another great night.  May we always continue to Push.


Filed under Uncategorized

House Rules

Welcome to Ruxbin.

Thank you for joining us for dinner. We are excited to cook for you and have you as our guest. Ruxbin is our home. It houses our dreams and values. And while we invite you to be our guest, there are house rules.

House Rules:

Our food is labor intensive, our kitchen is tiny, your patience is appreciated.

No large groups: Parties up to 6 Sunday-Thursday, 4 Friday & Saturdays.

As this is a small restaurant, we may ask for your table after you’ve finished. 

We seat complete parties only.

Waitlist Courtesy: Let’s talk Commitment.  If you’re on the waitlist, you are committing to dine with us and we are committing to seat you. If your plans change, give us a courtesy call to allow other guests the opportunity to dine with us.

If you are in the Waiting area, please be patient while you wait to be waited on.

No grouchy pants allowed. You are responsible for agreeing to your wait time.  If you think the wait will ruin your evening, please do not leave your name on our wait list.

Please take phone calls outside. No laptops. No iPads.

It’s no secret that we are a tiny place. We max out at 32 seats, 10 tables for two and 3 booths. We have a kitchen probably smaller than the one you have at home, and no walk-in refrigeration which limits our storage space.  The other day we had a guest demand that we provide them with an extra chair- we don’t have extra chairs lying around, there is no storage for such thing. What you see is all that we have, and if your party is that large, then we simply are not able to accommodate you. We have limitations. Therefore, a set of House Rules are in order, to ensure an enjoyable experience for both our guests as well as the members of our Ruxbin Family.

Now what do I mean by “enjoyable experience”? Well, for one, by far the most popular question we receive here at Ruxbin is “how long is the wait”?  And this is where the experience begins… You see, the wait depends on you, the customer.  Every evening we typically fill the house by 6:30.  From there on we go on a wait and start allowing walk-ins to place their names on the waitlist.  And every evening there are several people that decide to not show up for their tables without cancellation notice.  This, my friends, screws both of us over, but mainly it screws you, the Diner.  It’s your fellow diners that do this to you.  Their place on the waitlist commits them a table for the night, meaning there is one less table to give out to you.  So either the previous customer that walked in equates to you having a longer wait or possibly them taking the last table for the night.

Take it from a fellow diner that came in the other night, visiting from LA:  “I love how you are walk in only, anyone can come in. Instead of having to wait 5 months to eat here, I only have to wait an hour and a half!”.  Here someone appreciates why we decided to stay walk in only in the first place – to be accessible. Given that we only have 32 seats, if we actually took reservations we would fill up so quickly that you’d have to plan your reservations far in advance.

So here’s a typical scenario: It’s Thursday night, the tables are full and the waitlist begins.  There are already several tables ahead of you waiting including Dan’s.  Now, you walk in at 6:45pm and ask for a table for 4, I typically have one of two answers:  A) There is a wait and the next table is estimated to be available around XX:XXpm  or   B) The wait list is full for the night and I am not able to take any more tables.  Now,  let’s say customer Dan haphazardly put his name on the waitlist thinking “well, I’m not going to wait that long, but just in case I will put my name down” (thinking no harm, no damage) and ends up eating elsewhere without giving us a call.  Well, if our buddy Dan gave me a simple courtesy call to cancel, that table could’ve been yours. But alas, you’ve already walked out the door 2 hours ago looking for another dinner option because you and I were both under the impression that Dan would be coming back for his table.

The above has been one of the toughest jobs I’ve had to do- turning away eager diners at the door, i.e. “But I just flew in from San Francisco”, “But I just took public transportation for 2 hours to get here”, “But I hired a babysitter for the night to eat here” , “But its my birthday”.  Trust me, all the heart wrenching pleas I hear at the door tug at my heart too, to the point that when I’m hosting, the kitchen braces themselves for critical mass and by night’s end are moments away from the breaking point, all because Vicki lets the crowds in. I can’t help but want to accommodate as many guests as I can.  But when we have a tiny restaurant that is able to only seat so many guests per night, and many are being turned away, all I can do is ask for a simple few rules to be followed so that people that want to eat here, can and enjoy themselves while doing so.

I’ve been learning a lot in the 1 year 4 months 11 days since we’ve opened.  I’ve experienced the spectrum from some really great guests to some that just tend to be plain, mean. But one thing I can certainly recognize, is that while we are in the hospitality industry with the intention to serve others, there is a fine line between being hospitable vs being a doormat.  Ruxbin is our home. We spend more time here than with our families.  It houses our dreams and values and we look forward to cooking for others. And while we invite you to be our guest, there are house rules.



Filed under Written by Vicki

5-Hour Energy

It's been busy. Fueling up the crew. This carbo load will get us to family meal:)

1 Comment

Filed under Written by Vicki

Patio Plans



Team Consensus



Medicine Cabinet

Man with the plan:


Installation begins this week. Some may think we are nearing the end of “patio season” here in Chicago, but technically patio season runs until December 1st:) Exciting things to come.


Filed under Written by Vicki


A picture book from the moment we enter the doors at Ruxbin to the very end of the night:

6:00am. Ed arrives
6:04am.  We start the six hour braise for the short ribs at the end of service around midnight.  That means its an extra early start the following morning.
10:00am.  Deliveries begin to arrive – meat, fish, bread, produce.
11:30am.  Kenny delivers the linens, always with a smile.
12:00pm.   Everyday, we put aside the piling tasks of the day for a moment to meet over a quick bite, pour some freshly steeped french press coffee and discuss the day’s urgencies, updates, concerns, and ideas. I truly think that it’s these meetings that have helped us stay grounded and keep a pulse on each other. It’s our think-tank time where we can regroup, bounce ideas, get advice, and simply have a time of exchange before we run back and tend to the demanding list of tasks at hand.
1:30pm. Cooks arrive
2:00pm.  Prep begins
2:00pm. Running errands throughout the afternoon, Home Depot typically makes the list
4:20pm.  Sprucing up the herbs
4:30pm.   Front of the house setup begins
5:00pm.  Family meal is served to the staff
5:30pm.  Doors open, service begins
7:00pm.  Rush begins
8:23pm.  Finishing touches at the pass
9:31pm. Tables start to wind down with dessert and coffee
10:45pm.  After service all stations are cleaned down
11:00pm.  Out of the dish and ready to put away for tomorrow
11:30pm.  Closing out the night
11:47pm.  After spending a long working day together, the Ruxbin crew becomes family.

Opening a restaurant is one thing… maintaining a restaurant requires a shift in gears. This is why we push.


*Special thanks to Roger for capturing our day.


Filed under Uncategorized

2 Weeks

Summer has been in full swing, producing delectable Michigan berries, sweet Illinois corn,  gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and bountiful produce galore.  But soon enough, the heat will simmer down, the seasons will change, and we will gladly welcome the cool fall.  Changing of the seasons is a thing of beauty, and lucky for us in Chicago, we get to experience all four. Along with airs of nostalgia from past memories, the fall will bring forth exciting crops from the new harvest, and naturally, Ruxbin will roll into the Autumn Menu.  We’d like to inform you that Ruxbin will be closed August 29 – September 5 as we work on the Autumn Menu which will be introduced in stages post Labor Day, starting September 7.   

Til then, soak in the sun and come on by for a last taste of summer.  There are still two weeks left! =)

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 5:30 – 10pm. Closed August 29-Sept 5.


Filed under Uncategorized