Mindy Segal reopens HotChocolate and receives James Beard Award


"I needed a change," said Mindy Segal on Wed., May 9, as the last tasks on the renovation list got ticked off before the reopening of Mindy's HotChocolate restaurant and heavenly pastry haven, 1747 N. Damen, on Thursday. "I'm feeling rejuvenated and excited," she said about this major change since opening her business more than 7 years ago.


On top of that excitement, Segal received the coveted James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef at the 25th annual event on May 7.  Like other winners this year, she was previously nominated but not the recipient for years (6), Also included in this year's wins is Lettuce Entertain You's Rich Melman, soon to be in Wicker Park, who was previously nominated five times.

"I'm working on my craft and continuing to evolve as I try to push myself to pursue excellence like I always do," Segal said. As she told Time Out amid making a decision to expand into a larger space last summer, sadness set in despite her business' success. Engulfed in self-doubt, she took the advice of a mentor and headed to a spa in Arizona that helps one meet stress head-on.

Bar Area

Behind the Bar from front to back on the south wall


Along the north wall

After her journey to Arizona she reflected, "Part of knowing yourself is knowing your limits." and as she stated in Time Out “I’m a dyslexic pastry chef with ADHD who is integrity-driven and doesn’t want to be a five-restaurant restaurateur.”

Her new awareness appears to be reflected in her restaurant's space. The interior feels more open with the new front windows and the new paint scheme. Fresh and simple is part of the menu plan as well.


Workman putting finisheng touches on exterior on Thursday

Divided into Jars, Plates, Bowls, Salads, Sandwiches and Sweets, the menu items include: Kinnickinick deviled duck egg, Fritzel’s onion bread boule, rhubarb robiola tatin, Werp Farms tiny greens, “SHRIMP LOUIE” WEDGE SALAD baby head lettuce, grilled shrimp, avocado, crumbled farm egg, chopped bacon and Louie dressing, TUSCAN MARKET PORCHETTA roasted, and herbed Gunthorp Farms pork loin rolled with pork belly on a house Kaiser roll with Italian salsa verde that range from $10 to $16. On the Sweet side of the menu there is, of course, hot chocolate served with home-made marshmallows and a mouth watering selection of chocolate cake through butterscotch cream pie, custards, cookies and ice cream.

Hours will be the same except they are expanding lunch service to Tues. thru Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in addition to their dinner and dessert schedule beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tues. thru Sun.


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