After 14 years as Charlie Trotter’s right hand man, Matthias Merges started thinking about stepping out a couple of years back. Late last fall his daydreams came to life as he opened Yusho, a decidedly casual izakaya (drinks)/yakitori (grilled skewers)-style spot in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. There, he presides over a tiny open kitchen to make sure the street food-inspired menu is executed the way he envisioned. The narrow, 90-seat spot has been packed. We recently ...

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