Chef Chris de la Cueva chicago

Interview with Chef Chris de la Cueva

Monday, February 13, 2017 Perry

Coming to Wicker Park this month, is a new restaurant and cocktail lounge called, Rhyme or Reason.  Located on the corner of Division Street and Damen Avenue at 1938 W Division Street, this "fresh retro" restaurant is the new home to Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts graduate, Chef Chris de la Cueva.  Working in the restaurant industry since he was 15 years old, de la Cueva is excited to hit the ground running with this next step in his culinary career.

I had a chance to pick Chef Chris de la Cueva's brain about Rhyme or Reason and get a "taste" of what he will be bringing to the table!

Photo courtesy of Rhyme or Reason

Halfstack Mag: Can you tell us about how you became a part of the Rhyme or Reason team?

Chef Chris de la Cueva: Through mutual friends, I was recommended to Le’Qoinne Rice (one of the owners) when word got out that he was opening a new spot in Wicker Park. After meeting for drinks, he wanted to have a more formal interview. I cut him off right there. I told him, I can talk the talk, but let me walk the walk. I made him a few dishes and he shared with me his vision for his new concept. I was immediately hooked. This was what I had been waiting for.

HM: What food offerings will Rhyme or Reason be offering?

CHEF: I’d definitely say American Eclectic. There are many global influences on our menu, such as Moroccan, Asian, Latin, Italian, you name it! I like to work with a lot of different flavors and techniques to give the customers an experience that combines ordinary dishes with extraordinary flavors.

HM:  Why do you think Wicker Park is the right neighborhood to be the home of Rhyme or Reason?

CHEF: We have a unique concept that fits into Wicker Park’s artsy and forward thinking mindset. Division Street is saturated with sports bars and dive bars. We’re going to bring something totally different and fresh to the evolving neighborhood. I worked next door at The Boundary in 2008, and it’s amazing how much the neighborhood has changed since then.

HM: What is going to make Rhyme or Reason stand out among all of the other amazing restaurants and bars in Wicker Park?

CHEF: We’re going to put Wicker Park on the map. We’re not catering to the typical sports fanatics you see going in and out of the bars on Division. We are catering to the people who enjoy an atmosphere that is a bit more elevated, but is still that ‘go-to’ neighborhood spot.

HM: What is your favorite thing to cook?

CHEF: My favorite thing to cook has got to be Italian food. The techniques and bold flavors of each recipe inspires me. I just love pasta.

HM:  What inspires you as a chef?

CHEF: This opportunity is my first chance to be creative. I didn’t have much creative freedom working in the kitchen of local sports bars. Now I have a chance to show off my passion without limits and I am taking full advantage of that opportunity.

HM: What are you looking forward to the most about the opening of Rhyme or Reason?

CHEF: This is my first restaurant and I’m looking forward to sharing my unique dishes with Wicker Park and all of Chicago. Nothing makes me want to go back to the kitchen and come up with new recipes more than seeing friends and family come together and enjoy their meals.

 For more information about Rhyme or Reason, keep an eye out here, on the Halfstack Magazine blog and at!

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